Care of the People
&Beyond works closely with the communities surrounding the wildlife areas where we operate, whether by interacting with them as landlords or through community development initiatives driven either by the lodges themselves or with the Africa Foundation.
Investment in our people
At &Beyond we pride ourselves on the quality of our staff and their passion for guest delight. For them, there is no better way to spend a day than in making our guests’ safari dreams come true.
Training is a way of life at &Beyond and we train chefs, butlers, housekeepers, security and workshop staff with the same dedication as we do our field staff. The love of learning, up-skilling and sharing knowledge is a core value of ours.
We have trained poachers to become pastry chefs, kitchen cleaners to become rangers, and barmen to General Managers. Nothing is impossible to a heart that is ruled by the desire to create exceptional guest experiences.
We invite you to share the extraordinary stories of some of our people.
Phinda land returned to its ancestral owners
When South Africa’s first democratically-elected government came into power in 1994, one of the first priorities facing then Prime Minister Nelson Mandela and his cabinet was the issue of land. The government’s land reform programme was introduced in an attempt to redress some of the injustices and discriminatory land actions of South Africa’s apartheid regime. Pivotal to the policy is the willing buyer / willing seller principle, which many consider has prevented government from reaching its targets.
In view of this, the outcome of the land claim at &Beyond Phinda is all the more significant. In 2007, in a pioneering move for land distribution in South Africa, &Beyond and the leaders of the Makhasa and Mnqobokazi communities, which surround the reserve, signed a mutually beneficial deal resulting in the restoration of 9 085 hectares (22 460 acres) of wilderness land within Phinda to those communities, its ancestral owners.
In terms of this deal, &Beyond secured a commitment from the community to keep the land under wildlife rather than return it to farming. The company has signed a 72-year lease on the property, with an agreement to continue running its lodges on Phinda while paying an annually escalating rental to the two communities. In this way, both the communities and conservation benefit, demonstrating once again &Beyond’s commitment to the Care of the Land, Care of the Wildlife, Care of the People. This pioneering land claim settlement has also proved that, when communities surrounding conservation areas experience the benefits of responsible tourism (in this case as landlords), they support the conservation and biodiversity of reserves for the benefit of future generations.
In 2009, two additional pieces of land were handed back to the two communities resulting from separate claims on farmland in the area. They requested that this additional land be included in &Beyond Phinda Private Game Reserve, as they believed that their best financial return would be gained through the use of the land for conservation tourism. &Beyond secured a 36-year lease on these properties, from which the two communities receive rental income
Working with communities at &Beyond Klein’s Camp
&Beyond Klein’s Camp leases its 10 000 hectare exclusive wildlife concession from the Ololosokwan community. Here the establishment of sustainable land use, wildlife management and community development programmes has created a mutually beneficial situation for &Beyond and its Maasai landlords. Facilitated by the African Wildlife Foundation, the innovative lease sets aside a part of the leased land for the exclusive use of &Beyond guests, while the remainder of the land remains available for the Maasai to graze their cattle on, as well as for safari operations. This agreement secures one of the wildlife migration routes outside of the Serengeti National Park and therefore has significant conservation value.
The Klein’s concession is operated by a joint management committee, with the villager landlords involved in the daily running of the concession and no development allowed without their consent. The fixed rental that the community receives in return serves as a powerful incentive for them to preserve the land and its wildlife.
In addition to the benefits that come from land ownership, &Beyond has also provided employment for local residents. Our sustainable ecotourism model means that 78% of Klein’s Camp staff come directly from the surrounding communities.
These close community ties have meant that development projects undertaken at Klein’s by &Beyond or its community development partner, Africa Foundation, have been particularly successful. Over 40 people have been trained in beekeeping and a honey production initiative has been started. The group sells honey to &Beyond Klein’s Camp, as well as to other &Beyond lodges in Tanzania. Guest excursions to Maasai villages to learn more about the tribe and their culture also generate income for local communities, while the exquisite beadwork on sale at the &Beyond Klein’s Camp Safari Shop is also produced locally by two groups of women. Most of the vegetables served at the camp at mealtimes are sourced from local community markets.
Working with communities at &Beyond Kichwa Tembo
The landlords of the private concession where &Beyond Kichwa Tembo is situated are the Oloololo Ranch Group, who receive economic benefits through the concession fees paid to them by &Beyond. Almost 50% of the staff employed at Kichwa are drawn directly from local communities, with most of the remaining 50% made up of other Kenyans.
A number of income earning initiatives supported by &Beyond have brought additional benefits to the surrounding communities. A beekeeping project has been set up to provide a sustainable means of income for women in three communities, as well as for a local primary school. A total of 80 beehives produce honey that is sold to &Beyond Kichwa Tembo Tented Camp and Bateleur Camp.
A heifer project has harnessed the Maasai’s love of cattle by purchasing and donating a number of the animals to a local women’s group. While the cows produce milk for the community and heifer calves are kept to grow the herd, bull calves are sold at market to provide an income for the women and their families. The same women’s group received over a hundred baby chickens, funds were raised to build a chicken coop and education on poultry farming was provided. They are now able to make an additional income by selling eggs or chickens both to the local lodges and to the community.
Africa Foundation - a registered non-profit organisation, was founded in 1992 to support &Beyond’s commitment to conservation and communities, and has built up a highly successful track record in empowering and enriching the lives of communities living in and adjacent to conservation areas.
Supported by &Beyond, donors, partners and guests, Africa Foundation completes the model of integrating conservation, high-end tourism and communities to their mutual benefit. Whilst the lodge and travel businesses forge permanent links with communities through employment, land leases and economic stimulation in the regions, Africa Foundation focuses on specific social upliftment and empowerment projects within the areas of social, economic and environmental development.
Africa Foundation facilitates the socio-economic development of rural communities living in or close to the continent’s conservation areas.
Care of the Land embraces our efficiency strategy, which aims to minimize the impact that our operations have on the environment.
&Beyond is the real deal in conservation, with a proven track record of reversing local extinctions and spearheading innovative research.