Jock Safari Lodge is a luxurious place of beauty that encapsulates a bygone era of adventure, and stands firm in the belief that the wild is pure and must remain untamed.
Jock Safari Lodge (JSL) boasts a classically decorated space, with old editions of Sir James Percy FitzPatrick’s famous novel, Jock of the Bushveld, on display atop magnificent, antique wooden writing desks. At JSL, sustainability is woven into the fabric of the community and caring for and nurturing of the earth informs how the staff and community teach, learn, and operate.
One of the properties in the Shamwari Group portfolio, JSL is committed to the environment while the luxury safari group is constantly engaged in far-reaching campaigns with the ideals of going green. Fresh crusades are continually under way. The group strives to minimise the impact of its lodges on the environment by instituting many renewable and ecologically conscious methods of operating.
Nestled at the confluence of the Mitomeni and Biyamiti rivers in the south-western corner of the Kruger National Park, JSL offers 6 000 hectares of exclusive traversing rights in an area of the park for Big Five game viewing. General manager, Louis Strauss, oversees the lodge with a passionate and deep understanding of the African bushveld. Strauss believes that environmental sustainability has become an essential ingredient to doing business responsibly and successfully. He explains that the space was the first concession in the Kruger and visitors to the Lodge are immersed in a bush bubble. There are no new footprints; the captivating lodge has a mature history. The old wagon road travelled by Sir FitzPatrick and Jock runs through the JSL concession and the Jock rangers regularly use this road to tell the guests about the devoted dog and his master.
Strauss is a staunch supporter of green initiatives and sustainability programmes, such as:
- Reducing the use of physical resources including water and energy
- Encouraging recycling,
- Increasing the use of renewable resources
- Encouraging the redesign of production processes and products to eliminate the production of toxic materials
- Protecting and restoring natural habitats and environments valued for their biodiversity or beauty.
With Strauss at the helm, JSL regularly achieves impressively high results in the Kruger National Park environmental audit, with a perfect 100 percent rating in 2013. The bi-annual audit measures the impact of the lodge, kitchen waste, and recycling tin and glass. “Furthering our eco-initiatives by making a concerted effort to educate and motivate staff on the need to reduce, recycle and reuse, we have reduced the amount of energy, water and waste on the reserve tremendously,” he explains.
Off The Grid
The lodge is completely off the grid and is totally self-sufficient; it relies on no municipality.
- Solar geysers and evaporative coolers have been installed to reduce electricity use.
- There is grey water recycling, which is reticulated into the dam for animals.
- Water consumption is monitored very closely and the lodge has implemented rainwater collection for use in its extensive herb garden.
- Recycled wastewater is used for washing vehicles.
- Cans, glass and plastic are recycled as a daily routine, and all kitchen food waste is processed through a wormery.
- JSL only buys wood from a local contractor sourced from re-usable alien trees for its campfires.
- Solar power for heating has been installed at the main Jock Safari Lodge and Little Jock for geysers in all the suites and back of house.
- For intrepid bush ramblers and big game watchers, the lodge allows its guides to drive off-road on the concession; afterwards, they go back to rehabilitate the area.
“Keeping it pure is our ideal; we bind to the philosophy of the park… Throughout the lodges, there is comprehensive staff training, greater conservation awareness, especially for the rhinos, and looking at every opportunity to adopt even more eco policies,” Strauss says. Each initiative is executed with care and the responsibility of nurturing resources is taken seriously to ensure the protection of the environment and wildlife.
Empowering The Community
JSL is also involved in empowerment initiatives in the surrounding local communities. Malelane is the closest village to the lodge and has an unemployment rate of 70 percent. JSL uses as many members of the community as possible for its staffing, and 90 percent of employees are sourced locally, from the construction workers on the property to the taxi drivers ferrying the staff to and from work.
The lodge has also funded a soap-making factory, Kumshulshla. Another very productive, lucrative initiative that staff can sink their teeth into is biscuit making. Various staff members were supplied with ovens and appliances and they have started a little bakery where biscuits, shaped like dog bones in keeping with the Jock theme, are made. These creamy, delicious biscuits are placed in the rooms and are best eaten dipped in honey. It was even suggested that they are sold in the curio shop. Handmade crafts from the surrounding communities are also stocked in the JSL curio shop.
Man’s Best Friend
The theme of Sir FitzPatrick’s famous novel is on display throughout the lodge. The décor is in keeping with this intrepid explorer and his incredibly loved dog. The story is of canine devotion and has moved many adventurous hearts that travelled through what is now known as the Kruger National Park in the late 1800s. At the safari lodge there are ox wagons from the original Jock of the Bushveld movie.