Bush camp handed over to villagers

THE Ezemvelo KwaZulu- Natal Wildlife yesterday handed over Nsweleni Bush Camp to the community of Hluhluwe Imfolozi Park.

Ten traditional leaders living next to the park had initiated the community's involvement in the project.

It is the first of its kind in the history of nature conservation and community participation.

The project will provide employment to the communities of Zungu, Mandlakazi, Hlabisa, Mpembeni, and Mdletshe, among others.

"This project is an example of the great partnership between chiefs and local government. This means that people are part of nature and vice versa. We must work together to protect nature," said KZN MEC for agriculture, environmental affairs and rural development Lydia Johnson.

She said the bush camp would support community empowerment projects from levies paid by tourists visiting the area.

An investment of R7million was put in by the government to ensure that the project succeeds.

A total of R3million came from the Ezemvelo Wildlife community levy fund, while R4million was from the provincial department of agriculture, environmental affairs and rural development.

The camp is an eight-unit facility with a small conference and dining area.