Our primary focus at Lalibela is conservation – be it of our indigenous flora and fauna, or our efforts to reduce waste on reserve.
Whilst Lalibela is run on business principles, our owners have pledged that all surpluses generated on Lalibela are allocated to the conservation of the land, animals and wider community.
We have a number of ongoing projects all working towards this joint vision of a comprehensive conservation mission. We are lucky to have a huge team of diverse and special people who all believe in the value and necessity of long-term sustainability.
Throughout the reserve, from our lodges to staff housing, workshops, community and admin buildings, we have recycle bins. There are recycling bins for glass, plastic, tins, paper and cardboard. The recycling that is collected is taken to a nearby recycling plant where it is recycled.
Vegetable peels and food scraps are collected by a farmer who would either use this for pig food or for making biogas. All sanitary products are incinerated.
Our goal is to have zero use of plastic on Lalibela. This is a huge task and it involves getting buy-in from staff, guests and our suppliers. We have already made huge strides and will continue to drive this process!
An ongoing conservation project on Lalibela is the removal of alien wattle trees (as of May 2023, we estimate that we have completed about 90% of the task).
The wattle trees are completely removed from the reserve. They are then burnt and the ash is then worked back into the soil. The ash is full of nutrients that the soil needs in order to thrive. By doing this, we have managed to recover 4000 hectares of land that is completely wattle free. Vast areas of savanna grassland have grown back in place of the wattle forests. The Savanna Grassland biome has the highest wildlife carrying capacity so this means that we are able to sustain large herds of plains game like zebra, impala, wildebeest, red hartebeest, blesbuck and eland. This, in turn, allows us to sustain a remarkable density of free-roaming lions.
You might notice some patches of dry or burnt land – this is where we have removed alien trees, burnt the wood and worked the ash (full of nutrients) back into the soil. Ask your ranger to show you areas where the land has fully recovered and you can then compare it with areas still in the recovery stage.
We are also removing Optunia, commonly known as “Prickly Pear”. This invasive cactus species bears fruit which is very palatable, so elephants and baboons in particular spread the seeds around the game reserve. We have currently removed approximately 60% of the Optunia and will continue removing this invasive species until it is completely eradicated from the reserve.
Water Purification Plant
Lalibela has a water purification plant on site. Water is sourced from two boreholes and is put through a filtration process and is treated to remove excess iron The water then passes through machines using the reverse osmosis process. Reverse osmosis is the process or the technology which is used to remove ions, mineral chemicals, and other impurities from drinking water. Once the water has passed through these stages, the water is 100% safe for consumption. Lalibela is able to produce both still and sparkling water on site for use in our lodges.
Wildlife Conservation & Anti-Poaching
One of the aspects of our conservation programmes at Lalibela is that from time to time we need to conduct veterinary procedures on high profile species like lion, cheetah and rhino. During these procedures, veterinarians take great precaution to ensure the safety of the animals and will only dart wildlife when it is absolutely necessary to do so. Some of our wildlife are fitted with tracking collars for safety and monitoring purposes. When the batteries in the tracking collars reach the end of their lifespan, it then becomes necessary to fit a new collar. The tracking collars are a vital part of conservation efforts as they give our wildlife team a better understanding of their behaviour and movements across the reserve but also assist our anti-poaching team in protecting endangered species.
Our dedicated anti-poaching teams put their lives on the line protecting our wildlife. They work 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 365 days a year. We are committed to the safety of our rangers, their ongoing training and ensuring that they have the equipment they need to continue protecting our precious wildlife.
CONSERVATION AT LALIBELA GAME RESERVE