Singita Pamushana in Zimbabwe’s Malilangwe Wildlife Reserve has been named Global Winner in the Conservation category of the 6th annual World Travel & Tourism Council’s (WTTC) Tourism for Tomorrow Awards, announced on the 17th of May in Las Vegas, during the WTTC’s annual Global Travel & Tourism Summit.
One of Singita Game Reserve’s nine low-impact/high-end game lodges in Southern and East Africa, Singita Pamushana is referred to often as ‘one of Southern Africa’s best kept secrets’. It was selected as winner in this prestigious global competition from amongst the two other outstanding finalists in the Conservation category: Frégate Island Private in the Seychelles; and The Jane Goodall Institute/Budongo Ecotourism Development Project in Uganda.
Singita Pamushana was established with the core purpose of making a meaningful contribution towards the cost of conserving the extraordinary 130 000 acres (40,000 ha) Malilangwe Wildlife Reserve in south-eastern Zimbabwe. The Malilangwe Wildlife Reserve is owned by the Malilangwe Trust, and relies on donor funding, as well as the proceeds of tourism to accomplish its goals in conservation and community outreach programmes. It is said that this confident venture into a world-class tourism product for Zimbabwe impressed the panel of international judges as a paragon of a private tourism practice that uniquely subsists solely to generate income via high value tourism, to make a major contribution to the national goal of rehabilitating the country’s wildlife and tourism industries.
The natural habitat in the Malilangwe Wildlife Reserve has been rehabilitated to its original state, and today Singita Pamushana has the finest quality wildlife in Zimbabwe. It also boasts some of the greatest varieties of mammal and bird species on the African continent, due to the 38 different habitat and ecological zones found on the property. Seventeen previously plentiful resident wildlife species have been reintroduced successfully, totalling more than 3000 animals. These range from endangered Black Rhino to Roan Antelope and Lichtenstein’s Hartebeest. Under Singita Pamushana’s sensitive management the wildlife populations have shown exhilarating growth after the carefully managed reintroduction.
With a strong research team at its base – including scholarships given to Zimbabwean students to further the planet’s understanding of key species – a breeding centre has been established on site at Singita Pamushana to breed animals such as Nyala, Kudu, Roan and Sable for introduction into the wild.
Singita Pamushana is also involved in supporting various projects allied to its conservation efforts. These include donor funding for the Frankfurt Zoological Society’s partnership with Zimbabwe’s Parks and Wildlife Management to rehabilitate the neighbouring Gonarezhou National Park, and the injection of funding to enable the widespread provision of rabies vaccines to the Government veterinary department. Operating effectively to ensure poaching is minimal, the Singita Pamushana Game Scout team plays an important role in facilitating Zimbabwe’s Rhino anti-poaching initiatives through the use of its helicopter and other strategic support.
Says Luke Bailes, CEO of Singita Game Reserves: ‘It is a great honour to be recognized by an organisation such as the World Travel & Tourism Council for our approach to conservation, and for the conservation-related programmes that are in place at Singita Pamushana. These create the context within which our guests can experience African wildlife at its very best. Singita Pamushana exemplifies our approach to sustainable tourism and is a paradigm of how we can contribute meaningfully to conserving vast ecological zones, in so doing preserving these areas and their wildlife for future generations.’
The diverse wildlife at Singita Pamushana includes both the ‘Big 5’ (Rhino, Lion, Leopard, Elephant and Buffalo), and the ‘Little-6’ antelope (Klipspringer, Oribi, Grey Duiker, Steenbok, Grysbok and Suni), as well as other endangered species such as the ‘Painted Hunting dogs’. Over 400 bird species are to be found on the property, representing 4% of all the species of birds in the world, including 14 types of eagle and nine different owl species. Singita Pamushana is also known for its dramatic sandstone outcrops, Mopane Forests and majestic baobab trees.
Taking conservation beyond nature towards the preservation of local culture, Singita Pamushana is custodian of over 80 well-preserved, 2 000-year old rock art sites – a priceless heritage found on site in the Malilangwe Wildlife Reserve.
Major community projects here include Singita Pamushana’s critical feeding scheme for some 22 000 pre-school children living within the vicinity of the reserve; the employment of 250 mostly local Zimbabweans; and the provision of drinkable, clean borehole water to approximately 10 000 people in the area.
More about the Tourism for Tomorrow Awards
The Tourism for Tomorrow Awards was launched in 2003 to showcase the projects, initiatives and operations that the industry is undertaking to balance its business success with a ‘green’ footprint. The awards identify the top practice in sustainable tourism, in four categories: Destination Stewardship, Community Benefit, Global Tourism Business and Conservation. The winners were selected from 186 entries representing more than 60 countries.