Community and Environment

Green Steps To Sustainable Tourism

The Green Steps to Sustainable Tourism initiative is a commitment by all at Africa Albida Tourism to consciously consider the environment in all the hospitality group’s activities. The group’s flagship property Victoria Falls Safari Lodge has long been a leader in eco-friendly tourism development in Southern Africa and charted the course with its construction, for which the hotel was awarded the Green Globe Distinction Award in 2000 for outstanding environmental practices. Since then eco-consciousness has been ingrained in its culture, and this was again evident during the construction of the luxurious 20-room Victoria Falls Safari Club, when contractors were virtually “fenced in” to protect the delicate environment. Large and small trees were fenced, a few were translocated and even the grasses were preserved and replanted after construction was complete.

The legendary values on which Victoria Falls Safari Lodge are founded inspire profound respect for the environment and foster a spirit of partnership with host communities. Africa Albida Tourism chairman Dave Glynn says: “This is our way of acknowledging the huge privilege we have and the responsibility we hold in our hands. By sustainably utilising the natural resources, caring for the flora and fauna, creating jobs and uplifting the communities in which we operate, AAT shares its love for Africa’s warm and hospitable people, her vibrant culture, incredible wildlife and immense physical beauty.”

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Corporate Social Responsibility

Victoria Falls Safari Lodge is critically aware that the wildlife resources and natural attractions of Africa require care from all stakeholders, and in this regard, has not shied away from its corporate responsibilities in protecting these resources. The hotel’s social corporate responsibility initiatives include the following:

Victoria Falls Anti-Poaching Unit

A dramatic increase in poaching in the Victoria Falls National Park and the Zambezi National Park led to the formation of the Victoria Falls Anti-Poaching Unit (VFAPU) by Charles Brightman, a local safari operator and conservationist, together with Victoria Falls Safari Lodge, in 1999.

The unit, whose mandate is to protect the wildlife and habitat within a 50km radius of Victoria Falls from all forms of commercial and subsistence poaching, began with three scouts, and now has 17, operating patrols 24 hours a day, every day of the year. VFAPU works in close co-operation with the National Parks and Wildlife Management Authority and the Zimbabwe Republic Police, to achieve many successes.

VFAPU has so far removed more than 22,500 wire snares from its operational area, saved the lives of 260 mammals injured in snares and arrested 794 serious poachers. Victoria Falls Safari Lodge remains committed to supporting VFAPU, with our major annual fundraiser, the VFAPU Golf Day, raising nearly USD160,000 for the unit in the last seven years alone. We also pay the salaries of six scouts and contribute to supplies as necessary.

VFAPU relies solely on donations to survive.

For more information visit the VFAPU website: http://vfapu.com/  or to donate email: csb@zol.co.zw

Victoria Falls Recycling

Victoria Falls Recycling, the only recycling project in the region, was launched by AAT in 2018, in partnership with Greenline Africa, and is supported by Victoria Falls Municipality and other stakeholders. It is coordinated by well-known local environmental conservationist Charlene Hewat.

As Victoria Falls town grows, it is crucial that as much waste as possible is recycled and composted, thus reducing the amount of litter in rivers and wilderness areas, and the town’s dump, which is not a proper landfill site.

Victoria Falls Recycling collects papers, plastics, beverage cans and glass, which are packaged for recycling. The waste is transported to large recycling plants in Harare and South Africa where it is made into plastic bags, clothing and much more.

Currently the project is operating from an AAT-owned site but as it develops, it will relocate to a larger recycling area which has been designated by the Victoria Falls Municipality.

The operation has been set up as a community-based project with women and youth trained to operate the machines, sort waste, bale, load and manage it. In addition, Victoria Falls Recycling also works with locals who collect waste for a living and get paid per kilogram.

In 2020 Victoria Falls Recycling started upcycling, with the first upcycling initiative being the glass project, in which old bottles are turned into candle holders, wine glasses, tumblers and more, followed by the “banners to bags” project, where old corporate banners are being used to make bags and pencil cases for school children.

In addition, there are several more upcycling projects in the pipeline, with the vision being to create a hub where locals are taught new skills and will work onsite to create different products out of recyclable goods, with tourists visiting to buy.

The project is expected to have a major impact in protecting the environment around one of the Seven Natural Wonders of the World.

“Breaking Up” With Plastic

AAT’s vision is to be free of single-use plastic in 2021, and a major step towards achieving this has been the elimination of plastic water bottles from Victoria Falls Safari Lodge estate. This was facilitated by the introduction of the Natura water system in 2019, which purifies water onsite and stores it in reusable glass bottles.

Prior to the introduction of the Natura water system, more than 80,000 plastic water bottles a year were used across the Victoria Falls Safari Lodge estate’s hotel rooms, restaurants and bars.

 

Read more about our bid to go “plastic free” by downloading the press release below:

Vulture Culture Experience

The Vulture Culture Experience provides a unique opportunity to witness the spectacular close-up sight of hundreds of vultures swooping down to feed on leftover meat scraps from the onsite restaurants.

This supplementary feeding program aids the survival of these remarkable, but endangered birds, enables their numbers to be monitored, and also raises awareness of their plight. It does not provide enough food to sustain them, so they do still forage for themselves.

Vultures are crucial to our environment because they keep it clean by preventing the spread of disease through consuming dead animals as well as recycling nutrients.

Their populations are under threat due to a variety of human created issues, including poisoning, electrocution by power lines, and the use of their parts for traditional medicines.

The Experience, which occurs at 1pm daily at Victoria Falls Safari Lodge, offers the opportunity to spot white-backed vultures, hooded vultures, and lappet-faced vultures, and less commonly the white-headed and Cape vultures and occasionally the Egyptian vulture is spotted. Marabou storks, tawny eagles and yellow-billed kites are regulars.

Victoria Falls Safari Lodge works in collaboration with Vulpro, a leading vulture conservation program based in South Africa, and the Victoria Falls Wildlife Trust. In addition, USD1 is added to selected meals at the lodge’s MaKuwa-Kuwa Restaurant, and the funds raised are donated to vulture conservation.

Pack for a Purpose

We are proud members of Pack for a Purpose, an initiative that allows travellers like you to make a lasting impact in the community at your travel destination. If you save just a few kilos of space in your suitcase and bring supplies for local schools, medical clinics or other projects in need you will make a major impact on the local community. Alternatively, guests may provide a monetary donation to purchase items locally for the community. Our team can assist with advice and information.

Please click the link below for more information:

www.packforapurpose.org

Community And Enviroment Schools

Victoria Falls Clean Up Campaigns

The staff and community at Victoria Falls Safari Lodge estate play an active part in the monthly Victoria Falls Clean Up Campaigns.  A dedicated team of staff volunteer their time to join the community in an operation to keep the streets of Victoria Falls town and surrounding area clean and welcoming to our visitors from around the world.

National Tree Planting Day

AAT observes National Tree Planting Day on December 1 by planting indigenous trees on the Victoria Falls Safari Lodge estate.