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Addo Elephant National Park

Projects

Community Liaison

Mayibuye Ndlovu Development Trust

An effective liaison structure between the park and the local communities is a vital aspect of People & Conservation work.

The current structure of the Mayibuye Ndlovu Development Trust ("Mayibuye Ndlovu" means "let the elephant return" in Xhosa) had much humbler beginnings in the early 90s when a Community Forum was formed as a result of conflicts between the park and Nomathamsanqa community. This later developed into the Mayibuye Ndlovu Arts and Craft Project, with crafters selling their craft at the park entrance gate.

In later years, the structure became more representative of all the local stakeholders with the formation of the Mayibuye Ndlovu Development Programme. During 2005, this programme was transformed into a legal entity in the form of a Trust.

Trustees are representatives from eight communities namely Bersheba, Enon, Nomathamsanqa, Valencia, Joe Slovo, Moses Mabida, Paterson and Colchester, local government representatives, the Sundays River Valley Tourism Forum and the Addo Elephant National Park.

The Trust has a partnership agreement with SANParks whereby a percentage of the turnover from the Park’s new rest camp, Camp Matyholweni, is channelled to the Trust for use in community projects.

This Trust also meets regularly to discuss issues and plan for benefit for stakeholders

Cultural Heritage

As in many of South Africa's national parks, the AENP encompasses a rich natural and cultural heritage. One of the challenges of the future is to ensure effective management of these cultural resources including the access of all interested parties.

A preliminary study by the Albany Museum mapped archeological, paleontological, cultural and historical sites within the park. Future plans include a more detailed mapping process as well as the development of an access management plan.

Economic Empowerment

The Eyethu Hop-on Guides are a group of guides, sourced from the communities adjacent to the park, who operate their own business within the park, providing guiding services for visitors in the comfort of their own vehicles.

With the assistance of the Mayibuye Ndlovu Development Programme - a community forum representing the seven communities adjacent to the park - the Eyethu Hop-on Guides were established in 2000.

The idea was generated at a community workshop and pursued by the park as one of the means of forming mutually beneficial relationships with neighbouring communities, as well as stimulating economic development in these communities.

Ten people were selected for initial training, which took place in November, December and March of 2000 and 2001. Training included field guiding, knowledge about the park and first aid. The park has provided a basis - in terms of a small office space and housing - from which the guides operate.

The Hop-on guides have attended four Tourism Indabas to market their business. These visits were funded by the Eastern Cape Tourism Board (ECTB) and the park.

The park has assisted the guides with ongoing training, as well as jointly funding their attendance of an intensive field guide course, along with the ECTB and the Tourism Enterprise Programme. The hop-on guides have participated in Thetha's INTAC programme in field guiding as well as SMME training.

The park promotes the business of the hop-on guides by compelling school groups, for whom entrance fees are waived, to hire a guide when visiting the park.

The park involves the hop-on guides in regular meetings for guides operating in the park, where updates and information are given.

Over the years, a number of hop-on guides have managed to secure employment - some with private lodges and others with the park itself.

Environmental Education: General

Environmental education involves a range of processes, which support environmental learning, in all learning areas. Environmental learning involves developing an understanding of the environment and its issues, and values and skills that will help learners to contribute to the protection and improvement of environments.

Part of this process is teaching ecological literacy, creating sustainable human communities designed in such a manner that their ways of life do not interfere with nature's inherit ability to sustain life. For communities to grasp this ecological literacy, a great deal of awareness is necessary. There are many forms of awareness that can be presented to communities in order to achieve this. The forms of awareness are tailored to the age group targeted, the youth being the most effective target group of a community as they are impressionable and opinions are open to new concepts.

Slide shows and role plays are presented at local schools and various school groups led on guided tours in the park. To present the park as a learning centre for schools, learners on educational trips are given free entrance to the park.

Future plans involve the establishment of an environmental education centre and environmental education programme as part of the World Bank project. Through this project, a bus has been acquired, giving a boost to EE initiatives. This vehicle will be used to transport learners from local community schools to the park, where they can use the park as a learning centre.


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Did You Know?

  • The park conserves no less than five of South Africa's seven biomes

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This 52-page full-colour brochure gives the visitor a complete overview of the Park, its fauna and flora, history, new developments, accommodation and activities. Highly recommended!