Research and Education
Understanding all aspects forming this complex ecosystem.
Mashovhela Lodge proudly houses its own private research institute, founded by Dr. Norbert HAHN, including the only internationally recognized and electronically catalogued herbarium in the Limpopo Province of South Africa.
Norbert’s greatest interest is in botanical research, for which he obtained his PhD degree from the University of Pretoria. His research work, his resultant involvement with scientists from all over the world, and his serving on conservation-orientated committees, and meeting political and traditional leaders, is of great value to the reserve.
His multi-disciplinary approach has made him a recognized authority and source of knowledge on the natural and cultural history of the region, its fauna, flora and people, its archaeology, geology and climatology.
Norbert’s contributions to an understanding of the endemism and unique biodiversity of the Soutpansberg Region (including his discoveries and identification of numerous species new to science) enjoy international recognition.
Education forms the backbone of our Responsible Tourism policy ~
- from training of the local community members in different skills and environmental awareness
- to educating our guests in socio-ecological and environmental practices.
Guests visiting the lodge will automatically become aware of our ongoing eco-tourism efforts and unobtrusively they will become educated in eco-friendly living, conservation, caring for the environment and socio-economic problems of the Venda people, whilst enjoying the spectacular mountains and nature surrounding them. Special interest programs, in Venda culture, photography and botany give our guests the option to gain more knowledge in these fields.
The majority of the staff at the lodge are from the local community that we have trained for their respective positions. Continuous training ensures that they develop further skills making promotions available to them. With construction completed we have started training, through our qualified Venda guide, some of the building team, who are now out of work, to become guides for the Lodge or at other destinations.
Where skilled people have not been found in the local community or in Venda to fulfil a specialist position we have employed qualified personnel that will not only be responsible for the required role but to train certain members of the local community in this skill. The ultimate goal is of utilizing the lodge as a “hospitality school” for the local communities.
Our advanced eco-friendly management of the reserve and lodge has been recognized as a step forward in solving the world’s energy crisis and our equipment and systems are already being utilized in the local community and other areas of South Africa. We are available to show and train people globally in this field.