This week South Africans celebrate Arbour Week – a wonderful opportunity to shine a light on trees and give back by planting more. While we are part of these celebrations, we believe that every day at Wilderness is Arbour Week! Like everything else in our ecosystem we make sure that nothing is sidelined when it comes to protecting nature’s bountiful resources.
Here are just a few of our camps involved in tree planting, tree restoration, reforestation and tree protection efforts:
Trees: Another Reason to Love Toka Leya
Toka Leya Camp, situated in Zambia’s Mosi-oa-Tunya National Park, is well known for its tree-planting projects aimed at rehabilitating the woodland. The camp nursery houses tree saplings that are planted from seed and used to plant in and around the camp. Guests visiting Toka Leya are encouraged to be part of this tree planting experience by taking part in a ‘back of house’ tour. Part of the walk includes visiting the nursery to pick your tree and then plant and even name it! Interesting things to see along the walk include the worm farm where compost is made to nourish the trees. There is even a water treatment plant where waste water from the camp is cleaned and then used to irrigate the newly-planted trees and nursery plants.
Restoring Majestic Jackalberries at Vumbura
In 2016 a fire swept through Vumbura South Camp, home to beautiful jackalberry trees that surround the camp. The fire was contained but in the process damaged five of the camp’s jackalberries, burning them to the point that we were not sure they would survive. With the help of a tree expert and his team they found ways to protect the trees and as a result have ensured their survival. A recent story published on our blog shows the progress that has been made. We are proud to say that the jackalberries, while they still have a long way to go, are well on the way to their former glory!
Mombo – Building with a Conscience
In a recent blog post Deon de Villiers wrote about the sustainable manner in which we build our camps and how this is being done with the rebuild at Mombo Camp. Tree expert Riaan Van Zyl was called in to advise us on how best to carefully remove the wooden walkways so as not to disturb the trees and roots that had grown in these areas. All camp builders, designers and everyone at Mombo are aware of just how imperative it is that we do not disturb a single tree in the building process. Safety tape has been placed around trees so that everyone is aware not to damage any during this process. Click here to read more about the camp build.
Every Guest is a Conservationist – Reforestation at Bisate
Bistate Lodge, our newly opened ecotourism development in Rwanda, is part of an ongoing reforestation project to bring back indigenous plants to the area. As of this date, a total of 15 200 trees have been planted, many planted by staff and guests. Guest are part of this conservation project as each guest visiting the lodge has an opportunity to plant a tree during their stay. Our reforestation project offers a model that can be replicated not only in other parts of Rwanda but hopefully across countries and continents. Five members of the Bisate community are employed to reforest the 27-hectare site in partnership with Tuzamurane Cooperative. Trees planted include bamboo, hagenia, dombeya, neoboutonia, alnus, lobelia and eucalyptus.