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Wilderness Safaris South Africa: Rocktail Bay and Ndumu Lodge

Working papers

This case study was written as a contribution to a project on ‘pro-poor tourism strategies.’ The case studies used a common methodology to review the operations of tourism operators in a number of locations in developing countries.

This paper reviews the Maputaland operations of Wilderness Safaris (WS), a Southern African tour operator. In particular it focuses on two lodges run by WS, which are tri-partite ventures between the company, local communities and the provincial government’s conservation authority. The main pro-poor element of WS’s strategy is its contractual relationship with the community and the conservation authority in a Lodge Operating Company. A separate partnership exists between the conservation authority, a financing body and the local community in the Lodge Owning Company. This partnership arrangement differs from standard practice in the region whereby a private lodge is built on private land, or is operated within a game reserve on land leased from the conservation authority. This paper reviews the strategies and challenges faced by the company, and details the financial and livelihood impacts experienced by the community so far.

Clive Poultney and Anna Spenceley