Lalibela is one big conservation project – we call it “conservation for conservation sake”

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 believe that an important element of conservation is ensuring that surrounding rural communities benefit from tourism as this ensures their buy-in and this translates into a strong conservation ethic in the wider community around Lalibela.

As needs and priorities in the community change, so do our efforts and focus. Below are some of the community outreach programmes that we are actively engaged in.  


We have upgraded the local clinic and play an active, daily role in ensuring that it runs smoothly.

Sports Development

We support and sponsor two soccer teams and two netball teams with equipment and uniforms and we also sponsor tournaments throughout the year.

Children’s feeding scheme & Holiday Club

Every day, we provide nutritious breakfasts to all the children in the Seven Fountains community (approximately 80 children).  During school holidays, we provide both breakfasts & wholesome lunches to the children and we also keep them entertained by providing various fun and educational activities.

Community Projects

We operate a clothing library where clothes donated by past guests can be loaned by the community for special functions like weddings, funerals etc. We also run a sewing project and other initiatives for adults that assist with “up-skilling”.

Functions and Celebrations

We support and are a part of various functions and celebrations within the community throughout the year, such as Mandela Day and Women’s Day.

Community Enrichment

Old Age Pensioners get treated at Easter and Christmas to formal lunches held at the recreation centre. Each receive a gift to take home and entertainment in the form of singing and dancing is organised for these pillars of society within the village.


We encourage our guests to become part of “Pack with a Purpose” – where they bring surplus or unwanted items with them to Lalibela and these are then donated to one of our many community projects.

Currently, we are encouraging our guests, should they have space and any of these items perhaps lying unused, to bring some of the following (no matter how big or small):

Items always in need:

  • Toiletries for children (toothbrushes, toothpaste, soap etc)
  • School stationery (pens, pencils, erasers, calculators etc)
  • School shoes, running shoes and sport shoes (2nd hand is great)
  • School clothes (grey trousers, white shirts, pullovers – 2nd hand is fine)

Current needs (as of November 2019):

  • Children’s story books (for school library)
  • 2nd Hand formal adult clothing (for our clothing library)

On arrival at Lalibela, our guests simply tell their lodge manager that they have donations for our community programmes and these are then given to Charmaine Gradwell, Lalibela’s Head of Community Development.

For more information about our community programmes, please contact Charmain Gradwell at

“There is great power in small acts of kindness. And in how you make people feel.

My role in the school, the clinic and the broader Seven Fountains community allows me to give people undivided attention and that gives me so much in return”

Charmain Gradwell, head of Lalibela Community Development


Our primary focus at Lalibela is conservation – be it of our indigenous flora and fauna, or our efforts to reduce waste on reserve.

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 and admin buildings, we have recycle bins. We have a recycling plant on site where all glass, cans, plastics and cardboard are recycled.


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!

Alien-Tree Removal

An ongoing conservation project on Lalibela is the removal of alien wattle trees (as of October 2019, we estimate that we have completed about 75% of the task). 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. After some time, indigenous plants appear and the land is transformed. 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.


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