A Limpopo community is now proud owners of a luxury lodge which is supported by the department of
environment, forestry and fisheries through an investment of more than R50 million.
The investment is for the development and upkeep of the Awelani Eco Lodge by the national and Limpopo provincial governments.
The lodge, which currently employs 23 people, also has a conference room, providing full catering, bar and event venue services for weddings, conferences and parties. The recent handover of this lodge by the deputy minister of the department of environment, forestry and fisheries Makhotso Sotyu has been hailed as a bold step forward in ensuring that land reform benefits communities through job creation and inclusive growth.
“We are handing the responsibility to the community, we are saying they must take charge of their own land, take charge of their own environment because the fact that the land belongs to both the district and traditional leadership means that through this partnership, those structures should ensure that they preserve it and use it for the purpose of creating jobs and preserving the environmentally protected area,” Sotyu said.
The development comes at a time of animated debate over land reform and while efforts to amend the constitution allow for government to expropriate land without compensation. It is also a notable development in that the debate around land reform and restitution has tended to focus on agriculture.
The lodge lies deep in the heart of Limpopo’s Vhembe district municipality, in the village of Masisi. It is built on a 1000 ha Eco-Park, offers self-catering accommodation in the serene silence of Limpopo’s landscape. The lodge was recently handed over to the Awelani community trust, which represents community members from the four villages. It boasts chalets, safari tents and bungalows which give guests the chance to experience a secluded, holiday experience far from the hustle and bustle of city life.
The quiet lodge is home to a cave where guests can take in the sublime beauty of Africa’s eden, Limpopo. Located three hours north east of the provincial capital Polokwane, the lodge is an affordable getaway spot with diverse ecology within it’s wooded conservancy, such as trees like Baobab, Mopani and Lobombo Ironwood to name a few. The lodge is a stone’s throw away from the Pafuri Gate of the Kruger National Park.
Though there is still some work to be done to improve the lodge, the community’s leadership hopes that
the lodge will boost the community’s economy and create sustainable development and employment for
its people. -Mukurukuru Media