Over the past year, Wildlands, a programme of Wildtrust, has stepped in to manage the tourism operations in the Somkhanda Community Game Reserve, which is also revamping its accommodation offering.

The community-owned Big Five game reserve covers 12 000 hectares in northern Zululand.

Marketing Deputy Director, Wildlands, Buyi Makhoba-Dlamini, explained to Tourism Update that Wildlands has always co-managed the reserve with the Emvokweni Community Trust, which owns the reserve and represents the local Gumbi community. Wildlands has now stepped in to manage the tourism operations in the reserve, following the expiry of African Insights’ contract last year.

The Somkhanda Bush Lodge, which can accommodate 16 people in six chalets, is also being revamped. Africa4Africa, a KZN-based non-profit organisation, helped obtain the funding for the upgrades, which include general maintenance and the modernising of the property’s offering, something that could not be done in recent years due to a lack of funding. The lodge is self-catering, with full access to a well-equipped communal kitchen, a pool, a tented camping experience suitable for groups, and access to the unfenced Scotia campsite.

 “We are excited to relaunch the Somkhanda brand with fresh social media pages that will further promote Somkhanda as a much sought after eco-tourism destination,” said Makhoba-Dlamini.