Marula African Adventures

Journeying to the Heartbeat of Africa

Marula African Adventures
-with Chris L'Abbe & Vusa Ncube
...go over for the wildlife come back for the people

African travel with highly qualified and motivated professionals.

Chris first felt the heartbeat of Africa in 2015 whilst exploring Hwange National Park with expert guide services of Vusa Ncube. As an avid photographer she was giddy with excitement about the wildlife in the Sub-Sahara bush but it was a visit to a village school that would change her. During that visit she witnessed a young girl being asked to leave school because her family was behind in paying her school fees. She and her travel companion quickly pooled their cash together to donate to the school to keep children like that young girl enrolled. And so began Chris’s journey of supporting communities through travel. 

 Imvelo guide Vusa Ncube is a fully licensed Professional Guide.  Vusa grew up in Ngamo village near Imvelo’s Bomani and Camelthorn Lodges adjacent to the Park, where dangerous game often threatened the livelihoods – and lives - of the villagers.  Zimbabwe’s Professional Guides are regarded as among the best in Africa due to the stringent qualification procedure.   Vusa is well-known and popular with guests, often taking groups of Africa specialists and private guided tours.


Supporting Communities through Travel

There are opportunities to meet the local people from the villages and schools and experience their culture.

Our many generous guests continue to support our local projects when they return from their African trip.  The people living in villages closest to the tourism lodges have had tourists come and visit their village or school, speak English, buy local crafts, inspire children, donate supplies. These interactions have generated benefits for the local people and have helped them to better  understand and appreciate the benefits of wildlife that helps attract tourists to  their areas. Benefits go beyond tourist visits and extend into philanthropy with support going  towards a number of community development projects, including one of the most important programs, that of drilling water wells. 

Providing access to water to communities is not only vital, it can also have important impacts on the role of women for example. Women are the ones spending hours every day fetching buckets of water for drinking, feeding, cleaning, for households of minimum 6 people. When water wells break down or go dry and they have to walk an even greater distance, their entire days become consumed with fetching water; in some cases they get younger women to accompany them and help them, taking them out of school to do so. Providing water in villages, even if not to actual households, allows women more time to make and sell crafts, work in their fields, help their children with school work. Women in this area are employed in the lodges, as room hands and managers, providing opportunities for women to develop skills, meet other people and earn an income.  

Some tourists return home with a fuller heart and donate large sums of money that help build classroom blocks, a local clinic, feed  school children, and drill water wells.

 Lots to See During Your Safaris Days

Wildlife and Community Gallery

What do Lodges look like?

Lots of style in Zimbabwe

Fragile Relationships Between Communities and Wildlife

Imvelo Safaris Lodges Lead the Way

 It has taken decades of community development work by tourism operators and NGOs, to align local values and attitudes with nature conservation. Imvelo Safari Lodges has forged a long-term  relationship with community members through employment, outreach, development and  engagement programs resulting in people in this area understanding the benefits of wildlife  tourism, and therefore of conservation. Employed as tourist lodge staff, safari guides,  community wildlife protection scouts, local people benefit directly from tourism and wildlife and  can therefore positively engage with the latter.

Wildlife benefiting local communities directly

Community Rhino Conservation Initiative (CRCI)

Wildlife conservation is often promoted by a few stakeholders and in isolation from other conservation efforts, including that of local and cultural heritage, and of social development efforts.  In a rural part of North West Zimbabwe, an innovative project is radically shifting the business-as-usual conservation model; the Community Rhino Conservation Initiative (CRCI) is using tourism to empower community-based conservation and local socio-economic development by putting the local people at the heart of conservation action. CRCI, born out of ecotourism, aims to pioneer a replicable and scalable model of wildlife conservation with exponential benefits for local communities ; a way of tackling global issues like poverty and biodiversity loss by aligning wildlife and people rather than putting them against each other. 

Imvelo's Rhino Project

The Community Rhino Conservation Initiative (CRCI) was launched in May 2022, with, for the first  time in history, the introduction of two southern white rhinos on communal land in Zimbabwe. CRCI has been set up along the southern boundary of Hwange National Park on communal land (Tsholotsho Rural District), something that is, given the local context, just shy of  extraordinary.  

CRCI a culmination of decades of work. CRCI is enabling local people to directly engage with conservation and their natural heritage by having rhinos on their own land and directly benefiting  from the tourism that these two rhinos attract. These rhinos on communal land benefit local  communities via 1) direct funds from tourist rhino viewing fees 2) education, employment and  infrastructure opportunities and 3) more tourists and therefore opportunities for philanthropy.  Forty percent of rhino viewing fees go back to a community fund, for them to spend as they see fit. The remaining 60% is used to maintain the existing project, including salaries for over 40  scouts and 20 other workers, as well as to expand the projects into further conservation phases. 

Continuing Community Projects

just a few of the projects our guests have supported....

health clinic, soccer academy, educational classroom, dormitories, classroom furniture, dormitory furniture, weed wackers, t-shirts, bore holes, clothing, school fees, school lunches, sponsored children, soccer balls and jerseys, shoes, bleachers, fencing, rhino project, just to name a few

Activities  in Victoria Falls

Lots to explore in Vic Falls

Just some of the activities available to you in Victoria Falls: horseback riding, helicopter flight over the falls, walk Victoria Falls, white water rafting, bungee jumping, walk the bridge into Zambia from Zimbabwe, visit local eatery, check out "Angels Arm Chair" and "Devil's Thumb" at the Falls,  swing over the gorge, take a dinner cruise or afternoon cruise on the Zambezi River, just to name a few...

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