Mashovhela Lodge in South Africa subscribes to the principles and practices of responsible and eco-tourism. In conducting our operations, we strive to minimise our impact on the environment, spread benefits throughout the local economy and promote community well being. The Mashovhela Eco-Tourism Policy has been developed with due diligence of, and taking into account, the following three aspects:
Social | Economic | Environmental
Mashovhela Lodge is aware of the negative impact that tourism can create and we are committed to spread the benefits of tourism to previously disadvantaged communities by sharing our skills and knowledge, connecting communities with opportunities, funding and facilitation.
It is Mashovhela Lodge’s policy to:
- Develop tourism with dignity, respect and nurture local cultures (including religion), so that they enrich the tourism experience and build pride and confidence among local communities.
- Ensure communities are involved in and benefit from tourism and that exploitation and over-commercialisation of local cultures is avoided.
- Use tourism as a catalyst for human development, focussing on gender equality and career development.
- Coordinating training programmes to develop skills within the framework of the Skills Development Act and South African Qualifications Authority (SAQA).
- To develop relationships with local communities based on trust, empowerment, co-operation and partnerships and respect indigenous intellectual property.
- Recruit and employ staff in an equitable and transparent manner and maximise the proportion of staff employed from the local community.
- As the project develops and becomes viable it will provide structures for the local community to improve their skills in order to participate in the management and rewards of the enterprise.
- Provide appropriate ongoing skills training programmes for staff.
- Involve the community in the planning, decision-making and the development of tourism.
- Support the development of sustainable local crafts by assisting with improvement of design, marketing, production and packaging skills whilst ensuring that they maintain the authenticity and cultural values of their products.
- Provide information to guests about the host culture and traditions, local services and attractions, and encourage them to use them.
- Educate guests to respect local customs and traditions and make them aware of how they should behave in this regard.
- Create opportunities for visitors to interact with locals in an unstructured, spontaneous manner.
- Protect the community against negative social and cultural impacts associated with tourism, such as increased crime, drug and alcohol abuse, prostitution, and crime
Mashovhela Lodge appreciates that promoting tourism, increasing linkages, planning initiatives and investments will contribute to the broader economic development for the area.
It is Mashovhela Lodge’s policy to:
- Empower communities to market their cultural traditions and products as assets and enhance their economic opportunities.
- Work closely with local communities and entrepreneurs to develop new products that provide complementary products for the tourism industry.
- Develop partnerships and joint ventures in which communities have a significant stake, and a substantial role in management.
- Ensure that the risk is equitably shared when entering into agreements with local communities or emerging entrepreneurs.
- Maintain and encourage economic diversity, whilst avoiding over-dependency on tourism.
- Buy locally–made goods and use locally–provided services from locally-owned businesses wherever quality, quantity, and consistency permits in order to minimise the revenue that “leaks” out of the local area.
- Pay fair prices for local services and products.
- Encourage visitors to spend more money in the local economy.
- Make clients aware of the responsible purchasing policy.
Committed to Eco-tourism in South Africa
Mashovhela Lodge abides by the Environmental and Conservation Policies stipulated by Morning Sun Nature Reserve in which it is situated.
Further it is Mashovhela Lodge’s policy to:
- Advise and ensure that guests behaviour respects the natural heritage and has a low impact upon it, by using designated trails, not collecting seeds and removing plants, and by not feeding animals.
- Work with suppliers to minimise the amount of packaging purchased with supplies, and therefore reducing the amount of waste that needs to be disposed of.
- Avoid pollution by using environmentally friendly chemicals, and by using biodegradable soaps and detergents.
- Ensure that staff are familiar with the issues and ways of avoiding environmental impacts and to communicate it to guests.
- Buy crafts that are sustainably produced.
- Educate guests by building sensitively placed trails and hides, with interpretation material for guests.
- Educate local communities about the importance of sustainable natural resource management.
- Have clearly labelled separate bins for wet waste, plastics, glass and tin to help recycling.
- Compost food waste on site and to use it to fertilise the Lodge grounds.
- Store, collect and dispose of hazardous waste safely and according to government regulations.
- Inform guests and train staff how they can help with water and energy conservation.
- Invert in and develop renewable energy technology for minimising the greenhouse gas impact of the lodge and practise sustainable energy consumption