Tswalu’s Sustainability Champions
The partnership between Tswalu Kalahari Reserve and The Long Run has seen the reserve embark on a sustainability journey, which seeks to improve our outcomes across commercial, conservation, community and cultural aspects. Over the past year, we have sought specifically to enhance our sustainable usage of all resources while reducing the production of waste. This has motivated Tswalu to elect a committee of people who are keen environmentalists from each department, and they have become our Sustainability Champions.
The Sustainability Champions meet every second week to catch up on goals and targets set at every meeting. Our target setting and capturing of data, regarding our environmental objectives, is done using a Performance Monitoring Tool (PMT) to monitor our consumption of resources on a weekly and monthly basis. The PMT is filtered with data collected from each department on the usage of energy, waste and water resource, and has helped Tswalu set sustainable goals to reduce resource consumption and waste production by 5 to 10 percent each year. These resources include the use of electricity, fuel for vehicles and generators, wet waste, solid waste, wood and water.
In 2021, our main focus has been on water conservation and waste reduction. This is driven by the Sustainability Champions and a few measures were introduced for the first time to oversee the achievement of those goals. For waste reduction, we have started sorting and weighing all waste (food, recyclables and incinerated waste) produced in our camps, the Motse and Tarkuni. This will help us reduce food waste, in turn ultimately saving on the cost of procuring food.
In order to reduce our environmental footprint each year, we continue to eliminate the use of non-recyclable or single-use items in camp. For example, picnic food and game-drive snacks are transported and served in reusable glass containers. All cleaning products and spa amenities are biodegradable. Tswalu has also eliminated all single-use plastics in its kitchens. Guests flying into camp with Fireblade will notice that plastic water bottles are used on board the aircraft. Due to safety regulations, no glass is allowed on board aircraft.
When it comes to water, we are looking at installing flow-control valves in all the taps on property and for gardening we have encouraged the planting of Kalahari adapted plants that require little to no irrigation. This helps reducing water waste on gardening in a water-stressed area.
Over the next quarter, all staff will receive training regarding the organisation’s partnership with The Long Run and to start introducing everyone formally to the sustainable usage of resources both at work and home in our employee villages.
Change is never without challenges, of course. The lack of waste recycling facilities in close proximity to Tswalu has proven to be a challenge as we end up holding on to sorted and packaged waste for long periods of time until they can be disposed of responsibly. We are working on solving challenges like these as we understand that sustainability is not a destination but a journey and a process. With the energy and commitment of our Sustainability Champions we aim to improve and refine the process year on year.
In the kitchen: Bread
Bread baking is taken seriously in Tswalu’s kitchens, and around 10 different types of bread are produced daily, from breakfast through to dinner. Potbrood, baked in a cast-iron pot over the coals, is a boma dinner favourite.
In conversation with Thomas Peschak
Thomas Peschak’s assignments for National Geographic have taken him all over the world. Several months spent with the Tswalu Foundation led to a story for the iconic magazine about the impact of climate change on biodiversity in an arid savannah.