Giving Back

We are firm believers in Marshall McLuhan’s theory of the ‘global village’. Giant technological strides have created a substantial link between us all, the wealthy, the poor and everyone in between. We also believe that even more than the warm fuzzy feeling of ‘giving back’ (which we all enjoy) there is a tremendous need to create a visible link between conservation and community benefit.

Education is the Cornerstone of Conservation

Millions of people live in impoverished rural towns and villages that border iconic game reserves and parks. It is vital that these communities recognise the tangible benefits which stem from the combination of conservation and eco-tourism, and recognise the long-term harm of poaching and pollution. Understanding the value of conservation leads to individuals becoming proponents and custodians of these precious areas and the diverse, and in many cases threatened, life forms within. Education shapes knowledge, attitudes and critical thinking – all of which are essential for long-term sustainability.  

Sumbandila Scholarship Trust

Seolo Africa are exceptionally proud supporters of the Sumbandila Scholarship Trust. We believe that education is vital to conservation, but we are not educators, so we partnered with Sumbandila many years ago and we have been blown away by their efficiency, practicality, sensitivity, transparency and enormous strides they’ve made in ensuring that deserving youth get the education they need.

Creseldah Education Foundation

The Creseldah Education Foundation provides educational, emotional & social support to young future leaders in the Mpumalanga and Limpopo provinces. They, like us, believe that every child has a right to learn, despite their background. They are also focussed on correcting the imbalance in female education.

Inside the Kruger Park

Within the Kruger Park we support the Skukuza Primary School, assisting their governing body to keep school fees reasonable for the children of SANPark’s employees, and to make it possible for even those whose parents cannot afford it to be able to participate in excursions.

We also provide ad hoc support to the Skukuza creche, as we want to make it easier for local community members to be able to go to work in the park and educate their children. Amongst our own staff, employees who have children in grades 11 and 12 can apply for financial assistance with their school fees.

Workplace Readiness

We periodically sponsor a 3 month readiness course for young people living with disabilities. The purpose of this course is to prepare them for the workplace. We cover the cost of their course, a monthly stipend while learning, and a tablet and data for each student. Content covered includes, Life Skills: Self and Identity, Emotional Intelligence, Ethics and Values, CV Writing and Interview Skills, Personal Finance Management. Business Skills: Project Management, Business English, Teamwork and Communication, Presentation Skills and Digital Literacy Training.

Where communities are aware of the benefits of conservation to them and their future generations, they too are inspired to protect and preserve these precious and areas. It is both our duty and pleasure to work with our neighbouring communities, ensuring that they profit and advance from the proceeds of conservation, our lodges and our guests’ choice of destination. 

Developing business relationships with local community members

We are constantly seeking out local suppliers and service providers, so that the local communities feel the benefit of their proximity to the neighbouring conservation area. We contract with them to promote business growth in these areas, mentor them, and provide them with financial assistance to help them expand.

Since Rhino Post Safari Lodge opened, staff have been transported to and from work by local businessmen. Initially, we purchased a vehicle and paid for services etc. The business model has grown and it is now a self-sustaining business. We do however assist the current service provider through grants to ensure the safety and roadworthiness of their vehicle/s, and have helped them to expand their businesses by assisting with the purchase of a new 25-seater bus.

At the end of August 2015, when Skukuza Airport opened to scheduled charter flights, we contracted a local entrepreneur, Mr Brilliant Sambo, to provide guest transfers between the Skukuza airport and Rhino Post Safari Lodge. We have supported him in this business by providing grants to ensure vehicle safety, comfort and roadworthiness, guarantees for bank loans and a grant to put down a deposit on an additional vehicle and trailer. This contract has been very successful not only for Mr Sambo, but for our guests too, and it continues to grow with a new employee joining his business. In South Africa one person employed in the rural areas supports seven to eight others, so even small growth provides a wider economic benefit.

We are constantly looking at our procurement, and where needs can be met by local small businesses. This includes building, thatching, decking, canvas stitching, supply of gravel, gas, and firewood etc. We have found a wealth of skilled and knowledgeable people on our doorstep who have been happy to offer their products and services at a fair price.

We believe that while stocking curios for sale to guests as an intermediary is helpful, it is far more meaningful to become the end user of services and supplies as this provides communities with a guaranteed market, not just a hopeful one. This helps them to realise the direct and sustainable benefit of the conservation area to them and their families.

SK3 Sewing Project

K3, a division of eMasoyi Community Development Foundation (previously Masoyi Home Based Care Project) is run by the incredibly enthusiastic and hard-working Florence Mbokazi. Based in the area outside Numbi Gate, this project was started in response to the AIDS pandemic. Initially, the project provided home care, and later after-school care to victims of HIV/Aids and the numerous children who have been orphaned or made vulnerable because of HIV/Aids within their families.

We stock their items in our curio shop, have ordered uniforms from them and we insure their equipment and cover the security bill for their premises.

We have walked a long path with SK3 and are continuously amazed and impressed by these ladies. Their sewing skills have grown through sewing lessons, we have provided them with industrial sewing machines and over-lockers, training and materials. We’ve also helped extend their client base by recommending their services to others. Some work that resulted from recommendations includes sewing face masks for the SANParks Honorary Rangers during COVID and place mats for another private concession.

Visit their website

The Khayalethu’3 (SK3) skills Development Centre was established to reduce the level of poverty and contribute to economic empowerment while developing vocational skills amongst the youth. These include Marimba lessons, beadwork, carpentry, computer lessons and sewing.

Charity begins at home

Actually, we don’t see it as charity – we just really like the sentiment behind that saying. What we are doing is investing in our own people. Something we’re very keen on. Many companies wittingly or unwittingly take advantage their employees, but donate large sums to charities and projects unrelated to the company.

We love to see our staff grow and succeed – even if it means that they eventually outgrow us. Many of our team have been with us for a long time, quite a few since Rhino Post Lodge opened in 2003 – uncommon for the lodge industry that is known for long hours, hard work and high staff turnover. However, the evidence of our involvement is in the success stories we are proud to share:

“Willie the best chef!”

William had been working in the security industry when he applied to Rhino Post Safari Lodge for a job in 2007. He was successful in his application, employed for his personality and enthusiasm rather than hospitality experience and began learning to be a sculler.

In his years in the kitchen, he developed an interest in food preparation and offered to help out whenever he had time. When he expressed an interest in cooking, we sent him to Nelspruit where he did a cooking course, and at the first opening for a cook he applied, and was successful again.

Our guests love William and his food, and we love it when he answers the kitchen phone, “Willie the best chef!”

Thandi's Spa

In 2015 when the business we’d contracted to do in-room massages at Rhino Post Safari Lodge grew to the extent that they had to cancel their contract with us to focus on a bigger hotel our housekeeping supervisor, Thandi, who has been with us since 2003 showed an interest in learning to do massages.

So, we sponsored her training and she returned beaming. We of course all volunteered to be massaged to check that her skills were up to scratch for our guests, and they certainly were! Thandi’s massages, from which she earns a substantial (and well deserved) commission, have become a popular activity at the lodge with high praise from our discerning guests.

Sorta, from cleaner to guide

When Sorta, daughter of one of our assistant trails’ guides, started working at Rhino Post Safari Lodge in 2004 she had come from a domestic position, but her gentle nature and friendly personality won our hearts. She started as a cleaner, then became a waitress, then head waitress. Our guests loved her and everything she did, she did well and fervently.

When we discovered that she had enrolled with the wildlife college and was studying to be a guide, we were hugely impressed with her ambition. We immediately refunded her fees to her, and gave her the opportunity to go out on drives with the guides as often as possible. With her determination and enthusiasm there was no doubt she would succeed. She didn’t disappoint!

Once she was qualified, she continued to gain experience whenever she could, and by the time a guiding post came available we offered her the opportunity to apply.

It was surprisingly hard for us to imagine her as a guide, she’d always been such a good waitress that we could only picture her in that role. We were delighted to discover that she was an absolute natural, and were happy to give her the position. Later when she mentioned that she wanted to study further we were only too happy to finance her next step up on her career path. She is currently guiding for Rhino Post Safari Lodge and doing her NQF 4 in biome guiding through the Nature College.

Vusi, the maintenance man with the soul of a guide

Vusi is another of our favourite stories, though a less simple one. Vusi worked in maintenance, while doing so he expressed an interest in guiding, we paid for him to study and write his exams. Due to family issues, he was unable to write those exams and resigned to take on a taxi driving job.

We were disappointed, but understood that he had other, more pressing, concerns to deal with. Imagine our surprise when a few years later we found him driving the staff transport for our contractor.

He told us that he had eventually gone back to studying, this time paying his own way and finally realised his dream of qualifying as a guide. He was doing freelance work and looking for a permanent post. So, when a position came available, we were delighted to have this hard working and determined man of great character with a passion for nature re-join us, this time on our guiding team.

Every little action counts

We believe that ‘big things’ often have small beginnings. So, we like to be as thoughtful about our smallest actions as we are about our staff and guest happiness. As the saying goes, ‘one man’s trash is another man’s treasure’. This has resulted in many small actions that have benefited local community members, these include:


All food waste is donated to a local pig farmer to feed his animals

All magazines we provide for guests are sent to local underprivileged schools for use in projects

All recycling is donated to local community members to hand in for cash

Any resealable bottles are cleaned and filled with water for a local community that doesn’t have easy access to water.

You can make a difference too

Guests travelling to South Africa who would like to find out how they might be able to make a difference are welcome to email our Regional Operations Manager, Nikki Meyer, on

Travellers sometimes worry about making sure their donations reach the right place or are concerned that their contribution will be ‘too small’. Needs change from time to time, and no donation is too small. A toothbrush, tube of toothpaste, soap, deodorant, pens and pencils, crayons or books as well as second-hand clothing that is in good condition are always welcome. It doesn’t take a fortune to make a difference in the lives of those who have nothing.

We do not accept cash donations on behalf of any of our projects, but in the case of anyone wishing to make such a donation, will put them directly in touch with the community members responsible for heading up these projects.