Vibrant and colorful traditional Communities own the lodges managed by Transfrontier Parks Destinations (TFPD).  The common theme is one of very poor rural communities in remote areas who do not have access to employment.  Local government has funded the construction of a 10-bed cultural lodge or wilderness camp for each of the rural communities on tribal authority land or land given to the them as part of the land restitution process.  The lodges attract tourists to the area, bringing revenue and employment opportunities to the area.

African Ivory Route


The ‡Khomani San and Mier communities are the owners of !Xaus Lodge, built on traditional land in the heart of the Kgalagadi Transfrontier Park, Northern Cape.



The Batlokoa community owns Witsieshoek Mountain Lodge in the Maloti Drakensberg Transfrontier Park, built in the 1970’s as a source of employment in Qwa-Qwa.


The VhaVenda community own Awelani Lodge and Eco-tourism Park, in the North-Eastern Limpopo near the Mozambique and Zimbabwe borders.


These five communities are the proud owners of the African Ivory Route Wilderness & Cultural Camps.


The Shangaan in Massingir Velho are the closest community to Machampane Wilderness Camp in the Mozambiquan section of the Parque Nacional do Limpopo.

1.   The ‡Khomani San and Mier communities own !Xaus Lodge in the Kgalagadi Transfrontier Park (KTP), Northern Cape.  The lodge was built on traditional land now in the KTP, restored to both Communities under the !Ae!Hai Kalahari Heritage Park Agreement.  The land continues to be managed as part of KTP by SANParks.  To read about the land settlement claim and the communities visit the community page on the !Xaus Lodge website

2.   The five communities: VaTsonga, BaHananwa, BaSotho, BaLobedu, and VhaVenda are the owners of the African Ivory Route Wilderness and Cultural Camps in the Limpopo Province.  The VaTsonga are involved in 5 camps; the BaPedi in 7 camps each; the VhaVenda in 2 camps, and the BaHanawa and BaLobedu in 1 camp each.  Each community consists of clusters of villages under the administration of a Tribal Authorities (TA’s) and is ruled by a Royal Council.  41 villages make up the 9 AIR communities.

3.  The VhaVenda community own Awelani Lodge and Eco-tourism Park, in the North-Eastern Limpopo near the Mozambique and Zimbabwe borders. Awelani is 10 km from the Pafuri Gate into Kruger National Park.  The Mutele community based in the villages of Tshikuyu, Bileni, Mutele B, Duluthulu and Dovho donated the tribal authority land to Awelani.  The lodge was constructed with funding and support from the Limpopo Department of Economic Development, Environment and Tourism  (LEDET), Limpopo Business Support Agency (LIBSA), the Vhembe District Municipality (VDM) and the Dept of Environmental Affairs (DEA). The Italian development agency, CESVI managed and funded the project.

4.   The Batlokoa Community own Witsieshoek Mountain Lodge in the Maloti Drakensberg Transfrontier Park near Phuthaditjhaba in the Free State.  The lodge was built for the Batlokoa in the 1970s to provide a holiday resort and source of employment in Qwa-Qwa, an apartheid homeland.  In 2009, the Batlokoa wanted to close the Lodge as it was in disrepair and no longer offered the quality required by guests. Closing the Lodge would have meant the loss of a popular resort and of community members’ jobs. Instead in 2011, the Batlokoa employed  TFPD.  Funding was sourced from the Expanded Public Works Programme (EPWP) to refurbish and expand the Lodge.

5.   Machampane Wilderness Camp is situated in the Mozambiquan section of the Parque Nacional do Limpopo (PNL) . The closest community are the Shangaan living in Massingir Velho The lodge was built by TFPD, The Peace Parks Foundation and the Mozambiquan PNL Authorities to provide accommodation for tourists in the Greater Limpopo Transfrontier Park.   The Shangaan have benefitted from visits from volunteers from foreign non-profit organisations.

Helping Hands, Touching Hearts, an American NPO run by Sidney Bonvallet brought school equipment, mosquito nets, clothing, toys and a tented classroom to the community in Massingir Velho.

Kingsley Holgate, the humanitarian explorer, visited Machampane, !Xaus Lodge and Witsieshoek lodges on an expedition to educate people about malaria in the transfrontier parks.

TFPD Foundation supports ‘for profit’ philanthropy and social enterprise initiatives in the tourism sector.  The Foundation believes land restitution and lodge building are an investment in the future of the communities not a hand-out.  A tourism management company liked TFPD is essential at the outset.  Community members need training and capacity building to be able to take up the employment opportunities at the lodge.  A corporate tourism partner has extensive links with the tourism market to bring in visitors to the lodges.  As community staff members become skilled they are moved into senior positions in preparation for the transition to self-management and sustainability.