cape town tour

Conservation as a social imperative

Conservation as a social imperative

What does conservation mean to you?  Does it mean preserving habitats? Does it mean protecting endangered species? Who should ‘do’ conservation? Business? Charities? Government?

‘Conservation’ is a very big word, especially in this part of the world, where it’s so often misappropriated for the sake of tourism dollars – so many safari offerings in South Africa claim to be ‘deeply involved in conservation’ but very few do more than the minimum they need to do to be able to claim some moral credit with their clients.  After all, conservation is always controversial (what do you conserve, and at the expense of what, and whose agenda are you following?).

A very interesting (pioneering) version of conservation we came across recently is that of the Mothong African Heritage Trust.  Back in 1990, Ephraim Mabena, a resident of Mamelodi, a sprawling shackland outside of Pretoria/Tshwane, was walking near a wasteland near his home and discovered a human body, dumped there by gangsters.  Deeply troubled by the experience, and after receiving a calling from his ancestors, he realised that his life’s work would be to cleanse this place and turn it into a ‘house of healing’.

He and his wife, Mabel, and a neighbour, Mamorake Moila, literally started with their bare hands, moving rocks to create a design for a garden.  He spent his days scouring building sites in the nearby town for anything that could be used to create shade and planters and slowly through removing the waste and rubble has managed to create a garden and nursery of indigenous plants used in traditional medicine.  Small animals and insects have returned to the land and the beginnings of an eco-system are returning.

Mabena continues to work to build the reserve, receiving recognition from the UN’s Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation as well as local schools and universities who brings students to study what he and his family have achieved.  Of his work, he says ‘I do not look at the world as a mirror. I look at it as a glass through which I can learn. This knowledge must be shared’.

We arrange visits to Mothong African Heritage Trust as part of our ‘Teachings from Africa – Johannesburg’ journey.  The five-day journey (which can be customised to your preferences) engages you with learning experiences in the mornings and fun-filled activities in the afternoons, all with ethical suppliers.  Prices start at US$1,800 including accommodation, guiding, activities and some meals for two for five days.

New Art Trails arrive in Cape Town
Sensational discount in Hout Bay

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Exceed House
Springfield Office Park
Belleville, Cape Town

Cell / WhatsApp (SA) +27 72 136 9096
Cell / Office (UK) +44 7853 212075

WhatsApp +27 72 136 9096


Skype: philrendel

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We’re an ethical private travel planning company focused on Southern Africa.

We offer ready-made and also customised holidays and journeys across this unique region of the world.

When our clients travel with us, they are assured that their travel spend is directly supporting local African companies that offer sustainable products and services, both in terms of people and planet.


Our logo is an image of a skull found in the Rising Star Cave System in Gauteng, South Africa in 2013. It was named ‘homo naledi’, meaning ‘human of the stars’.

The cave system has so far given rise to the remains of over 15 individuals, making it the largest hominid fossil remains site ever discovered.

Travelling to Southern Africa is truly a return to the source of humankind, to Where It All Began.

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