Sabi Sabi responsible tourism
Did you know?
A century ago, near present-day Sabi Sabi, ladders were placed against trees so train passengers could escape lions.
A few years before 'responsible tourism' became a catchphrase, Sabi Sabi was already way ahead of most other private game reserves in practising this.
This was one of the first commercial tourism operations to create an artificial wetland dealing with wastewater, returning it to nature in roughly as good a condition as it arrived.
This system won the private game reserve several Imvelo Responsible Tourism Awards for best practice in conserving the environment.
Their other eco-projects include the unglamorous but critical task of removing fast-growing and invasive alien vegetation. Grasslands and drainage lines are particularly at risk.
In 1996 Sabi Sabi won their first international award for their responsible tourism efforts. These stemmed in large part from their deep involvement in uplifting the lives of their 200 staff members who come from the neighbouring towns of Justicia, Huntington and Lillydale.
Sabi Sabi was also among the first tourism destinations to be Fair Trade in Tourism certified, back in 2002, an honour they have consistently upheld.
Much of their upliftment efforts since then have centred around education. For example, there is the Lillydale Environmental Education Centre, a community-run initiative supported by Sabi Sabi that acts as a multi-functional centre promoting rural development tourism and that encourages local conservation efforts as well as promoting Shangaan culture.
In addition, the surrounding communities are exposed to adult literacy classes, training in English proficiency and business orientation.
Sabi Sabi has also set up a subsidised bicycle programme that gets bikes to high school children who used to have to walk 7km to 11km every day to and from school.
The bicycle programme teaches the children about ownership, co-operation and maintenance. They learn a little about investment and finance, too.
In addition, Sabi Sabi has invested in education programmes like 'Reach and Teach' and 'Teach the Teachers'.
There are also ongoing training programmes for staff members to help them acquire new skills and strengths.
It seems particularly appropriate that Sabi Sabi’s slogan is 'Yesterday, Today and Tomorrow'.
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Who to contact
Sabi Sabi Head Office
Tel: +27 (0) 11 447 7172
Fax: +27 (0) 11 442 0728