Natural Selection has been awarded the rights to develop the northern portion of the Mkambati Nature Reserve. Situated along the Wild Coast between Port Edward and Port St Johns, it is a beautiful coastal reserve with pristine rivers, tumbling waterfalls, deep gorges, rolling grasslands, pockets of dense swamp forest and beautiful secluded beaches.
“There are few places on earth where one can watch a big herd of eland, blesbok or zebra with dolphins and whales frolicking in the background. Or one can enjoy a stroll along a beach where the only other footprints are those of an eland or otter,” says Colin Bell of Natural Selection.
Credit: Colin Bell
It’s is here that Natural Selection will build the 15-room GweGwe Lodge, right on the beach at GweGwe. The lodge will be ultra-green, totally off-grid and powered by the latest solar and wind technologies. It will feature a spa and offer scuba diving, snorkelling, mountain biking, fat biking, hiking, cultural interaction with the local community, canoeing, game drives, whale watching and more. Construction will start in 2018 and the lodge is expected to open in early 2019.
“The lodge and reserve will become one of the prime economic drivers for the people in the region,” says Bell.
The Mkambati Nature Reserve, one of the prime provincial game reserves in the Eastern Cape, is now owned by the Mkhambathi Land Trust, which represents the interests of 40 000 community members from surrounding villages, whose ancestors were evicted from the land in 1922.
Trust members will benefit from employment on the reserve, from lease fees, and from the creation of new, community-owned businesses that will supply the lodge with fresh produce and many of the services required. As part of its community outreach, Natural Selection will provide the community with a mobile clinic and will help upgrade schools in the area.