The manner in which mass tourism tends to impact on a destination has long been recognised as having both its good points and its bad points. On the plus side, the annual influx of visitors tends to create a demand for jobs, albeit largely part time, and through various commercial opportunities, to contribute to the overall prosperity of the local residents. A significant portion of this gain, however, can often be lost in meeting the cost of the less welcome effects of the influx, such as increased litter and physical damage to local beauty spots.
Makgabeng Farm Lodge Offers Guests the Perfect Eco Tourism Destination
While this is the typical scenario in urban areas, beyond the city, in the nation’s game reserves and national parks, the impact has been predominately negative with little or no benefit to residents in these areas. These concerns have since prompted moves to promote a more ecologically conscious approach among those who visit these valuable resources. Known as eco-tourism, this new philosophy aspires to preserve the often fragile nature of such destinations in a variety of ways, whilst also ensuring that local communities and not just the service providers benefit from tourist activities.
Limpopo has, for many years, occupied a position high on the list of those who have an interest in wildlife and early African culture and as a result, its bushveld regions faced a potential threat from those visitors who may have been less concerned about or simply less aware of their impact on the environment. Today, those responsible for the region’s visitor accommodation, such as the Makgabeng Farm Lodge, are playing a vital role in the promotion of eco-tourism. Our Limpopo lodge, in particular, has grown to become a destination of choice for many of those who appreciate the importance of preserving the nation’s natural beauty spots for future generations to enjoy.
So, in what ways is our lodge able to contribute to environmental conservation and to improve the welfare of the villagers who live in the vicinity of the Makgabeng Plateau? To begin with, our lodge provides just fourteen rooms for guests, thus ensuring that, at all times, touring groups are kept to a manageable size, thus minimising any threat to the environment, while also ensuring that guests have the peace and quiet needed to enjoy the natural beauty that surrounds them. By exclusively purchasing the bulk of our requirements from local sources, and employing villagers to conduct guided tours and to educate visitors to the region in the ways of the wild, our Makgabeng Farm Lodge makes a significant contribution to the local economy in keeping with the principles that have defined it as one of the province’s foremost eco-tourism destinations.
Our lodge also conducts guided tours of a nearby Hananwa village, where guests are able to share in some of its traditional activities, such as pot making. Our owners have also set up a non-profit heritage trust that serves to raise the funds needed for local conservation initiatives – money which the villagers could not, otherwise, hope to raise without their help. In addition to its abundant wildlife, this fascinating bushveld region is also home to the largest collection of rock-art sites in South Africa, providing one more good reason to promote the importance of sustainable eco-tourism in this unique destination.