Mhlumeni Camp in Swaziland
Description: The "Mhlumeni Bush Camp" is the first ecotouristic project in the rural community of Mhlumeni, perched on the Lubombo Plateau in Swaziland, realized thanks to the support of COSPE Onlus. The Camp is part of the EcoLubombo Program, a long-term program looking at fostering community ecotourism in the Region, integrating natural resource management and local participation. The camp is fully owned and managed by the community: the revenues will be destined to the Mhlumeni Community Trust, contributing to local employment and to specific local projects (schools, farming...). The camp has started to operate in December 2016 and it offers camping sites, hiking trails with local guides, community tours and connection to the nearby Mlawula Nature Reserve.
Type of Work: The Camp has recently been constructed with a "Bush Ecolodge" style. The attractivess are the views on Mozambique and Swaziland, enjoyed from a bush area with indigenous trees. The camp is near the area designated by the community as "conservation area", where the environment can be protected and destined for ecotourism purposes. Three hiking trails are already being used by tourists and they lead to waterfalls, caves and connect the community to the nearby Mlawula Nature Reserve. The trails usually need to be restored after the rainy season and part of the work will be devoted to clear them. One other work component will be the completition of the signage leading to the camp and along the trails.
Study Theme: The study part will be divided in two days: one day introducing Swaziland rural community; the second one will be more focused on the local environment such as the importance of maintaing biodiversity and protecting it, with a special focus on the EcoLubombo program, in regards to the Transfrontier Conservation Areas with Mozambique and South Africa. On the same day a visit to the neighbor Mlawula Nature Reserve will be organized by the Environmental Education Team of the Reserve.
Accommodation: The volunteer will sleep in the four permanet tents and they will share the sleeping space (each tent can host 2-3 people and it has furnished beds, chairs, simple wardrobe and solar lamps). The kitchen space is furnished with gas, pots and all the necessary to cook (no fridge). Showers, toilets available. NO ELECTRICITY.
Language: The local language spoken by the community is Siswati, which can be easily understood by other languages such as Ndebele, Zulu, Xhosa.
Requirements: Head Lamp, warm clothes as it is going to be winter (dry and chilly days, cold nights).
Approximate Location: The nearest international airport is Mswati III in Sikhupe, 33 km from Siteki, but this serves mainly routes with South Africa. The usual route for travellers coming to Swaziland is landing in Johannesburg and take a shuttle bus (Transmagnific or Skyworld) to Mbabane/Manzini.