Zimbabwe Village Life - Community Visits

The rural community around Sentinel Ranch is a vibrant microcosm of rural life in Africa in general. Generations-old African customs and traditions are alive and well, and the rural folk of Maramani, Masera and Machututa Communal Lands are amongst the friendliest you'll find anywhere.   It's an educational and eye-opening experience for international visitors to witness life day-to-day in a rural village environment.

Though these areas are among the poorest in the country, being in a remote, drought-stricken corner of Zimbabwe, the African people living here are remarkably proud and happy despite the hardships they endure.  Traditional methods of basket weaving and broom making, transport (donkey carts), water extraction (bucket wells and hand-pump boreholes), draft animal field preparation and agricultural manpower, music and dance, traditional sorghum beer and malala palm wine production, food preparation (including mopani worms!),  mud-and-thatch homes, sangomas, village indabas (meetings), cooperative agricultural schemes and livestock management: these are all part and parcel of the real-life community experience, and our people are only to happy to share it with you.  While most (but not all) Zimbabweans speak English, Digby speaks the local language - Venda - fluently.  The locals get a kick out of interacting with him in the vernacular, and their enthusiasm is really contagious!

Community involvement is an important aspect of our activities at Sentinel Limpopo Eco Safaris.  Our relationship with our neighbours is a good one.  The communities around us benefit directly from many of our company's operations. Sentinel Limpopo Eco Safaris actively supports the local Shashi Primary School, with over 700 students, many of whom walk to school up to 20km everyday from outlying areas.  We've assisted with building and electrification, water reticulation, toilets, provision of desks and teacher accommodation.  A visit to the school is always warmly welcomed by the Headmaster, who is proud to take you into the classrooms to show you the dedication of his teachers and the enthusiasm for learning amongst the children of this very remote community.  It really warms the heart!

We've recently created a Floating Trophy for Best Conservation Awareness for Beitbridge District high schools to encourage awareness of relevant conservation issues in the area, such as littering,  predator/livestock conflict and elephant management.

Local community cooperation extends into working with local Ward, Beitbridge Rural District Council and Regional authorities for developing a sound working relationship within the Greater Mapungubwe Transfrontier Conservation Area structures on issues such as veterinary, health, security, conservation and tourism.  We believe that interaction with all our neighbours on these important and mutual matters of interest will help build a strong and enduring relationship for the benefit of us all. (Photo Credits: Cultural Events & Venda Women: Boundless Southern Africa Expedition 2009).