AFRICA FOUNDATION is currently funding projects in more than 40 communities in BOTSWANA, KENYA, MOZAMBIQUE, NAMIBIA, SOUTH AFRICA, TANZANIA and ZANZIBAR.
In the sand forests and wetlands of Maputaland and northern Zululand (between the Lebombo Mountains and the Indian Ocean) are some of South Africa’s finest wilderness areas and wildlife parks and some of its poorest rural communities. For 17 years, Africa Foundation has been working with the communities in this area. It is here that the model for all of Africa Foundation’s work in rural Africa was developed, and it is where Africa Foundation has achieved some of its most rewarding results.
Kruger National Park
On the western fringe of South Africa’s world-renowned Kruger National Park lies the Sabi Sand, an area of private wildlife reserves that boasts some of Africa’s finest ecotourism lodges. These enterprises fuel the local economy and provide employment for large numbers of staff and rangers from the local communities that fringe the Sabi Sand. Many of the lodges seek to put something back into these communities, but the leaders by far in achieving real success in community development are the teams from Africa Foundation.
Not far from Tanzania’s iconic peak Mount Kilimanjaro lies one of the world’s great natural wonders – the Ngorongoro Crater. Visitors come from all over the world to stand on its rim and look out across the stunning expanse of grassland, lakes, forest and saltpans that are home to all of Africa’s “big five” species. There are many poor rural communities in this area. Africa Foundation is currently supporting projects in the villages of Mikilal and Misigoyo.
Not far from the Ngorongoro Crater on the shores of Lake Manyara is a belt of precious wilderness reserve some 60 miles long that provides sanctuary for millions of flamingos which feed in the shallows of the lake, as well as tree-climbing lions, elephants, giraffes, buffalos and herds of antelope. The forest areas of Lake Manyara National Park are home to many species of exotic monkeys and rare birds. Both the Lake Manyara National Park and the lodges serving visitors to the area employ people from two remote villages – Moya and Mayoka – that lie just outside the boundary at the far end of the Park. Africa Foundation is working on development projects in these villages.
Northwest of Arusha and the Tanzanian highlands lies the spectacular Serengeti plain with some of the biggest herds of migratory animals in the world. Every year, some 1.3 million wildebeests, 750,000 zebras and 78,000 elands mass in the Serengeti to trek hundreds of miles and run the gauntlet of marauding crocodiles across the Grumeti and Mara rivers into Kenya’s Maasai Mara. The animals later return to the Serengeti following the pattern of rainfall in the region. For visitors, the game experience in the Serengeti National Park is unmatched anywhere in the world. But it is only possible because of the people who live in the rural communities around the Serengeti, who provide managers and staff for the lodges and for the Park itself. On the shores of Lake Victoria, just outside the western gates of the Serengeti National Park, lie several communities supported by Africa Foundation.
North of the Mara River in the great Rift Valley of western Kenya lies the Maasai Mara wilderness reserve. Like the Serengeti to its south in Tanzania, the Maasai Mara is home to some of Africa’s greatest herds of wildebeests, zebras and antelopes, and the families of big cats that prey on them – not to mention the herds of elephants and buffalos, groups of giraffes and troops of baboons that are everywhere across its plains and in its riverine forests. The lodges in the area offer a true safari experience and employ local people from the communities. Nearby are a series of Maasai villages that struggle to make a living and to educate their children in this wild and remote terrain. Africa Foundation is working on projects in several of these villages, including an ambitious water project in Emurutoto.