Ezulwini has long been at the forefront of promoting environmental conservation and advancing its’ frontiers. We are the founders of the Balule Nature Reserve, a region has that now developed into approximately 40,000 hectares of prime conservation area–a sizable portion of the Greater Kruger National Park. The OlifantsRiver, which courses through the centre of Balule, brings to the Greater Kruger National Park an additional 40% of fragile riverine habitat under conservation.We are responsible for the design of an environmental management policy to minimise environmental impact, as listed below.
Ezulwini boasts a full-time environmental scientist, Mr Craig Spencer, who also fulfils the function of Olifants West Game Reserve Warden. He is doing amazing research on the fauna and flora of our reserve. He simultaneously mentors students, who assist him in this task. Please click this link to view his latest report. We hope you enjoy the ‘behind the scenes’ activities and that you may get a better insight into the workings of this magical land.
ENVIRONMENTAL POLICIES FOR EZULWINI LODGES
Earth Policy: At Ezulwini Lodges we believe the protection of earth and her resources to be of utmost importance. Several programmes are in place in order to ensure that we preserve the earth and benefit it in any way we can. We do a lot of erosion prevention to ensure that our system remains balanced. Our roads are made in a way as to prevent damage, run-off, erosion, etc. to the surrounding bush. Removal of exotic flora (i.e. Sisal, Queen of the Night, Prickly Pear, Kanker Roos, etc.) is done regularly to keep our bush in a natural state. We also constantly search for litter and snares to keep fauna away from hazardous objects. Ezulwini dislikes putting manmade objects into earth; therefore we recycle non-degradable objects and compost degradables. We grow and buy organic vegetables and fruit so that our guests eat only healthy, natural food. We have several boreholes (wells), none closer than 150 metres from any habitation, and never pump from a hole which is running low on water.
Fire Policy: At Ezulwini we have a great respect and reverence for trees, and therefore do not burn wood at whim. Our firewood policy bans burning all woods aside from the sustainable harvest we get from clearing certain areas of encroachment species like raisin bush and sickle bush.
Water Policy: Ezulwini understands that water is a precious resource and a good water table is vital to the survival of both fauna and flora. We are therefore very conscientious about our use of water. Dams and weirs have been built to retain the run-off in order to keep our water table stable. We monitor our water table to ensure our use is not making an unfavourable impact. We pump from our boreholes at night due to the fact that flora only consume water during the day. Therefore the water level will be able to rise in the vicinity of the borehole, before use the following day. The watering of the garden is also done at night to reduce evaporation. Our gardens are of indigenous grasses and flora, which do not use as much water as exotic species. In our rooms we have low-flow showerheads and toilets to ensure that the water is not used in excess.
Building Policy: At Ezulwini we have used natural products for our buildings. Local rock, Leadwood Trees (Combretum Imberbe) and thatching grass were used to make the basis of our buildings and the interior is made of natural slate tiles. Raisin Bush, sleeper wood (Teak) and Knob Thorn (Acacia Nigrecens) make up our furniture. Our goal was to create buildings that were unobtrusive yet stunning. The overall look now being one of natural luxury.
Guest Info Policy: Ezulwini has a strong conservation ethic and we like to pass it on to our guests. We do this through information displays, conservation information in our welcome booklets, our lodge thesis and our Aims and Philosophies (posted on our website, in booklets and in the lodge). We believe conservation to be not only a motive, but a way of life. Our hope is that our guests leave us with a stronger sense of, and greater determination to conserve.
Employment Policy: Ezulwiniï¿½s policy is to get local staff involved in our operating and conservation efforts. We also use locally made crafts to sell in our curio shop in order to spread wealth in our area. Everyone working at Ezulwini shares our conservation efforts, and the youth are constantly being prepared for the management handover.
At Ezulwini the focus is on making the least damage while giving the greatest benefit to the area. Our hearts are in conservation and preservation. The Lodges started running commercially in order to make this positive contribution.