'“This is Truly the only real eco-lodge in africa. A slice of paradise and fantastic work with the communities." Rob Morley, Environmental Impact Assessment for the International Finance Corporation
From the outset in 2002, the six original investors, all with an international aid background, resolved to make Nkwichi Lodge work for the local community and its unspoiled natural environment. To this aim the Manda Wilderness Project was created.
What’s been achieved to date...
PEOPLE’S RIGHTS Land titles for the villagers where none existed before and a 120,000ha community reserve, the Manda Wilderness Community Conservation Area, has been created. Complete with elephant and wild dog, the reserve is managed by the communities themselves.
An Association called UMOJI (meaning ‘as one’) has been created, with traditional and democratically elected representatives from each of the 16 villages of the Manda Wilderness Project. uMOJI gives the people a unique platform to control their natural resources and defend their rights.
PEOPLE’S WELL-BEING Working with the villages for development projects they decide on, so far the Manda Wilderness Community Trust has assisted in construction of 10 schools, a maize mill, a maternity clinic, and a girls boarding house for secondary school.
The Manda Wilderness Agricultural Project (MWAP) aims to encourage sustainable farming, assist in small business development and improve nutrition standards for the local community. To date, MWAP’s demonstration farm has provided free training to over 400 independent farmers
PRESERVING CULTURE Each year the Trust organizes a traditional dug- out canoe race, a community choir festival and a football tournament with members from each of the 16 villages taking part. These events are watched by thousands of local supporters.
Local choirs and dance groups are invited to the local to promote local Nyanjan culture for guests. All crafts sold at the lodge are from the local area.
Guests are invited to local villages, led by an experienced local guide, to see the Manda Wilderness Project in action and meet the people that make the project work.
REDUCING POVERTY AND BUILDING CAPACITY Nkwichi Lodge injects over $100,000 each year into the communities through wages and the active policy of purchasing local products and materials, such as vegetables and thatching grass.
All staff at the lodge come from the surrounding villages, and continue to receive training, from guiding skills and carpentry to English classes and IT skills.
2012 – Winner “Doing It All” Category – Conde Nast World Savers Awards 2012 – Winner “Best in Community Empowerment” – Kutoa
2011 – Winner “International contest for Socially Responsible Tourism” ToDo!
2009 – Winner “Africa’s Leading Responsible Tourism Company” – World Travel Awards
2008 – Winner “Best Small Hotel” – Responsible Tourism Awards
2008 – Finalist “Green Spaces Travel Award” – Times
2008 – Gold “World Quality Commitment Award” – Business Initiative Directions
2008 – Honorable Mention “ Education” – Conde Naste Traveler World Savers Award
2007 – Finalist – “Best Poverty Reduction” – Responsible Tourism Awards
2006 – Finalist – “Best Protected Area” – Responsible Tourism Awards
2005 – Finalist – “Best Tourism and Conservation” World Tourism for Tomorrow Awards
2005 – Finalist – “Best Overall Business” Africa SMME