As we all know this year has taken a turn for the unexpected, the frustrating, the crazy but, this year has also provided us with the opportunity to connect in a more meaningful way with those around us. We have always identified with Africa’s spirit of “Ubuntu” — a concept in which your sense of self is shaped by your relationships with other people. It’s a way of living that begins with the premise that “I am” only because “we are”. Whenever possible, we try to apply this principle to our business and our personal lives. When we can help, we will support projects we believe will help others.
At Wandering Thru, COVID-19 was then an opportunity to focus intensely on the NGOs and charities we support. We rallied together, and whether through direct donation, food parcels or using local suppliers for our safaris, we made every plan possible to assist our local community through this unexpected, challenging time.
Our goal has been to help the vulnerable people around us during the lockdown and help preserve the natural areas we share by investing in conservation initiatives. Most of these occur in the Greater Kruger area where we are based. Others are located in the regions further afield but close to our hearts. If you are looking to lend a helping hand, too, then take a look below to see which initiatives resonate with you the most.
In celebration of Heritage Month in South Africa, we would like to take the opportunity to highlight the NGOs and charities we support or have supported during lockdown. We rallied together, and whether through direct donation or food parcels, we made every plan possible to assist our local community and wilderness through this unexpected, challenging time.
© Nourish NPO
Fighting poaching through fighting poverty and connecting communities to conservation through education, agriculture, and tourism is Nourish’s mission. A non-profit organization registered with the Department of Social Development in South Africa, started by Sara Bergs in 2011, Nourish launched as a bridge to link conservation issues and ideals with community needs and objectives.
Nourish aims to find integrated sustainable solutions to social issues such as poverty, low education standards, lack of food security, and unemployment. Finding solutions that break the poverty cycle and create healthy, resilient communities are solutions that link these individuals and organizations back to their wildlife heritage and the jobs/opportunities created in the wildlife and tourism industry.
We supported this initiative by purchasing items directly from our local participating supermarket, Pick n Pay Hoedspruit. If you live in the area, feel free to do the same. Every little bit helps.
Here in Southern Africa, we had to endure lockdown and winter simultaneously. It has never been more essential to help vulnerable children and at-risk elders stay warm and protected in our communities. Nourish is on a mission to make and distribute 2660 blankets to people in need. So far, they have raised US$2,848 out of their goal of US$8,000.
Nourish is also a great option for those seeking to volunteer in the Greater Kruger, make a contribution or today.
Thornybush Family Food Parcels
Guests during a visit to the vegetable garden of the Hanani School, supported by the Thornybush initiative.
Referencing an article written by Candice Grover, Thornybush Family Food Parcels’ hope initially was to raise enough funds to assist 350 families identified as requiring urgent assistance. Initially, the project was scoped to help for three months (May, June, and July 2020). However, it looks more likely that this will be ongoing as specific industries will only open again towards the end of the year. They have decided to extend the project to the end of December 2020. So far, they have raised nearly US$73,000. As opposed to sending families food parcels, they send recipients a US$27,00 food voucher, which they can spend at nearby grocery stores. Some of the families supported in this initiative belong the Dixie & Utah communities which are located right outside the Sabi Sand Game Reserve, these communities are close to our hearts as many of our local colleagues and friends are based in these villages.
Please help them to secure, at the very least, the necessary food items for community families by donating and sharing this initiative with your family and friends.
Hlokomela is an award-winning HIV and AIDS educational and treatment program targeting workers, including foreign migrants, in the agriculture, nature conservation, and tourism sectors in the Greater Kruger and Canyons area Limpopo and Mpumalanga. They aim to reduce HIV vulnerability through peer education, raising awareness, prevention, and treatment. During the lockdown, we’ve been supporting their herb garden – an income development project by Hlokomela. It aims to help Hlokomela become more financially sustainable while also investing in the communities they impact. If you’d like to support their initiatives, please donate today.
Greater Kruger Alley Cat Initiative
© Tristan Dicks & Ale Olivieri. One of the multiple foster kittens meeting a wilder friend.
An initiative incredibly close to all our Wanderers’ hearts is the Greater Kruger Alley Cat Initiative (GKACI). This organization helps to preserve the genetics of the African Wildcat in the Greater Kruger area. We have fostered several cats over lockdown and even have one curious, playful little guy who continually interrupts our Zoom meetings! We wouldn’t have it any other way.
GKACI is a non-profit organization based in Hoedspruit, South Africa. They live and work in one of the world’s most famous wildlife havens, a place we call home. Their project aims to actively control the feral domestic cat populations through ‘Trap, Neuter, and Release’ programs (TNR) to protect and conserve the African Wildcat (Felis lybica) while minimizing domestic and wild cats’ cruelty.
© Daan Smit of Zambian Carnivore Programme
Our tourism industry, profoundly linked to the health of its iconic wildlife populations and their captivating landscapes. More so than any other animal, the lion is why people travel to Africa. Their conservation is critical. If you’re interested in becoming a member of the Lionscape Coalition, please contact Paul Thomson.
Our very own private guide Tayla Jane McCurdy used her birthday as a fundraiser for this cause and through generous donations, she exceed her goal by raising a total of ZAR 21348 of the requested R 10 000.
© Elephant Alive.
As you can see, we’ve been busy during the lockdown, doing the best we can and helping where we can. The above initiatives resonate with us, but there are, of course, other NGOs and charities doing awe-inspiring social and conservation work in the Greater Kruger and in Africa, and by supporting them, you’ll be doing a world of good. If you’re looking for other causes, here are a few more causes we feel are worthy of support.
Elephants Alive is a great initiative to ensure the survival and protection of elephants. Securing their habitats and promoting harmonious co-existence between elephants and people is what drives this organization. Elephant Alive are also part of some incredibly interesting and groundbreaking studies about the relationship between African bees, trees and of course elephants. To read more about this project click here or support them here.
Across our beautiful continent of Africa, there are only around 6600 wild dogs in the wild. Endangered Wildlife Trust Wild Dog program is doing everything they can to ensure that the number increases. If you’d like to help, they have some remarkable ways to get involved.
Their mission is simple; to slow, then reverse the Southern Ground-hornbill decline in South Africa. These remarkable birds are endangered and need your help. Did you know that their ‘eyelashes’ are modified feathers and help protect their eyes from dust?
The first of its kind, this comprehensive conservation program to span the leopard’s range by implementing conservation actions that reduce leopard killings. These are sacred animals, forming part of the ‘Big 5’, so you can do so here if you’d like to support them.
The Giraffe Conservation Foundation (GCF) is the only NGO in the world that concentrates solely on the conservation and management of giraffe in the wild throughout Africa. As they say, “help save giraffe today before it’s too late tomorrow.” Please donate to support it’s conservation work in Africa today.
One of the most unique and peaceful creatures you’ll ever encounter, the Pangolin is in grave danger. Pangolin.Africa is a non-profit organization dedicated to the survival of the most highly trafficked wildlife species on the continent. Get involved.
There are so many causes to get behind in Africa. These are the ones that we are proud to support and we hope to include more in the future. Your Africa experiences become so much more meaningful when you invest time, emotion, and energy to make a difference to causes that matter. Conservation tourism is a critical cornerstone of Africa’s economy. It deserves our protection. Our safaris are a soulful combination of luxury lodging, natural beauty, wildlife, culture, and jaw-droppingly beautiful landscapes that make Africa so alluring and exciting. We can’t wait for you to come and visit us here. Reach out to us to start planning.
 Steve Paulson (2019). ‘I Am Because We Are’: The African Philosophy of Ubuntu (Web) https://www.ttbook.org/interview/i-am-because-we-are-african-philosophy-ubuntu