Abelana: Community partnership product from the doing


Abelana Game Reserve

by Steuart Pennington

View coming from the Safari Camp deck

Last week I wrote about a community partnership between a well-resourced school in addition to numerous under-resourced schools

I said “Community partnerships are important, whether they be between a town in addition to the community which that will serves, or a business in addition to the community that will draws its labour coming from, or a privileged school in addition to the under-resourced schools serving the community in its area. We constantly read about South Africa society being divided, being unequal, being marginalized – although we don’t hear of the not bad stories of ‘connecting’.”

I omitted to mention community partnerships between eco-tourism destinations in addition to their local communities.

Abelana Game Reserve will be building one such example.

Situated on 15k hectares 40km West of Phalaborwa on the west side of the Kruger National Park Abelana Game Reserve will be a not bad demonstration of a sustainable product of community partnership from the doing.

Abelana means “Sharing amongst each different” in N.Sotho, one of South Africa’s 11 indigenous languages. The Mashishimale Community secured the area as a result of a land claim in 2012. In times gone by This particular community traded in valuable metals in addition to ranched cattle. They were dispossessed of their land during the early days of the development of Phalaborwa Mining. Since 2012 the area has been used randomly as a hunting concession creating a handful of jobs.

Ian Beauchamp of MTH Lodge Holdings has recently entered into a lease agreement with the community with the objective of developing two lodges, one holding 40 guests on the Selati River in addition to the different holding eight guests in a tented safari camp

The concept will be to offer “Big 5” horse trails in addition to walks as well as open vehicle game drives with expert guides. On our two nights there we were hosted by Rudi in addition to Tamlyn who were most knowledgeable in addition to very not bad company.


Do you know what the plant named “bobbejaanstert” looks like? Tamlyn will tell you!

Job Creation

although the definitely important aspect of the joint-venture will be job creation. from the next year 100 permanent jobs will be created with opportunity to establish numerous joint-venture businesses with the Mashishmale in laundry, staff transport, vegetable growing, recycling, aquaponics in addition to the establishment of an environmental education centre. The centre will provide conservation training in addition to career opportunities in eco-tourism.


The combination of a fixed annual lease, a ‘community’ bed night levy, joint-venture businesses in addition to ongoing job creation goes a long way to alleviating what could have been a failed land claim, in addition to no doubt will provide many Abelana guests that has a real African bush experience in addition to the Mashishmale community with the benefits of a sustainable partnership.



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Abelana: Community partnership product from the doing

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