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 March 2021, we estimate that we have completed about 75% 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.
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.