Through the establishment of Matetsi Victoria Falls, we sustainably protect one of the most beautiful landscapes in Zimbabwe, the 136,000-acre Matetsi Private Game Reserve. This pristine wilderness that consists of a variety of different ecosystems and 9 miles of Zambezi river frontage, provides habitats for a huge variety of flora and fauna.
The property lies in the North-West corner of our home country, which is renowned for having the second largest elephant population in the world and still holds significant tracts of African teak, both of which are evident here.
Perhaps most significantly, Matetsi Private Game Reserve lies at the heart of the enormous Kavango-Zambezi (KAZA) Trans-Frontier Conservation Area (TFCA) – the largest TFCA in the world, which incorporates five cooperating countries: Zimbabwe, Zambia, Namibia, Botswana, and Angola. This vast expanse covers an area nearly twice the size of the United Kingdom and the absence of fences allows wildlife to wander freely across this boundless wilderness.
We are proud members of Pack for a Purpose, an initiative that allows travellers like you to make a lasting impact in the community at your travel destination. If you save just a few kilos of space in your suitcase and take supplies for the projects in need, that we support, you’ll make a priceless impact on the lives of our local children and families.
Greenline Africa is a local community based organisation working with marginalized and vulnerable communities in and around the Victoria Falls area to develop, implement and support sustainable projects focusing on livelihoods, health, education and biodiversity management. We support their work and share their vision for a better life for marginalized women, children and youth in Africa.
In times of crisis, even more support is required for community and conservation work. Vulnerable individuals face greater hardship due to loss of income and less support from the wider community. Whole communities face famine
by Sara Gardiner, Co-founder of Matetsi Victoria Falls Today, I stand overlooking a waterhole teaming with life: countless buffalo (my father says over a 1,000), a breeding herd of elephants – one baby is probably
This year, rather than corporate gifts for our valued travel industry colleagues, we are doing something different. In the spirit of giving, the Matetsi Victoria Falls team are gifting in the form of charitable contributions.
Our community empowerment starts with our 100% Zimbabwean team on property. Over 130 wonderful individuals, about 60% of whom come from surrounding communities and 40% from across Zimbabwe, which currently is a country with a high unemployment rate, and it’s estimated that one employed individual may support up to ten others. Through providing opportunities for our team, whole families and communities are supported in turn.
In order to further engage with the rural communities in Northern Matabeleland, we partner with the Greenline Africa Trust, which is a small but incredible organisation made up of passionate, caring individuals. They focus on working with marginalised and vulnerable communities to develop, implement and support sustainable projects concentrating on livelihoods, health, education and biodiversity management.
We have chosen to partner with the Greenline Africa Trust due to their integrity, our shared values and our respect for their long-term sustainable approach to community initiatives. All work and projects are done with the communities themselves, based on their needs and for their benefit. One of the projects that is closest to our hearts is the ‘Gogo Project’, which supports grandmothers, “Gogos”, in the villages who look after orphaned and vulnerable children. These ladies have very little themselves, and yet they open their homes to these children in need.
To encourage our guests to be part of our on-going community engagement, we have partnered with Pack for a Purpose, an initiative that allows travellers like you to make a lasting impact in the community at your travel destination. If you save just a few kilos of space in your suitcase and take supplies for the projects in need, that we support, you’ll make a priceless impact on the lives of our local children and families.
We have been placed on this earth to protect our wild places for wildlife and future generations, and to inspire others to do the same. Everything that we preserve, nurture and create will be our legacy. In this knowledge, we have taken deliberate steps to conserve our natural resources, ensure minimum impact on our environment, implement sustainable practices across the property and to build environmental awareness within our communities.
In the development of the lodge, we worked with a female Zimbabwean architectural designer, as well as Zimbabwean artists and artisans and locally based craftsmen in order to support local talent and create a space that gives guests a real sense of place. The lodge was built on the footprints of a pre-existing lodge and materials were re-used and re-purposed or sourced locally as far as possible.
Every-day practices are in place to reduce our carbon footprint. In addition to protecting our surrounding wilderness, our team operates efficiently in everything we do. The lodge uses solar-power geysers and the team ensure energy efficient practices throughout. We source locally and from our own vegetable garden on property where possible. We have always been committed to minimising single-use plastics on property. We have installed Natura water bottling plants that produce still and sparkling water that are served in recycled glass bottles, bathroom amenities are in glass bottles rather than disposable plastic, and all waste is separated in-house and recycled.
Even while out on game drives we have an opportunity to have a positive impact. Our knowledgeable safari guides are assisted by passionate trackers, who are all junior guides and so have the opportunity to learn directly from the experienced guides. The pair engage with our guests to give them knowledge and understanding of the flora and fauna in this beautiful part of Africa, as well as create an awareness around the threats to our wilderness areas and wildlife. Together our team and guests act as wildlife guardians while out on game drives, as this positive human presence across the property, provides eyes in the field and is a deterrent to possible poaching activity.
The rewilding of Matetsi Private Game Reserve – which, prior to the establishment of Matetsi Victoria Falls, had been decimated by poaching and illegal hunting – is a source of great pride for our team. Six years of tireless conservation work to rehabilitate the land, protect the wildlife and create a favourable habitat for Africa’s most iconic species.
It has been a challenging journey but the sight of vast herds of elephant drinking at a waterhole or healthy prides of lion hunting buffalo on the vlei is a constant reminder of the incredible turnaround this ecosystem has experienced.
Our conservation journey started with the colossal task of re-establishing a vital, clear-roads network throughout Matetsi Private Game Reserve, which is essential for anti-poaching and game viewing, and the introduction of 16-solar powered boreholes to create life-giving waterholes for the huge variety of wildlife.
A wide-reach radio communications network was put in place that spans a 60+ km radius around the property, with 2 networks dedicated to anti-poaching initiatives. To-date we have donated four anti-poaching vehicles to local anti-poaching units, these allow for rapid response to any reports of suspected poaching incidents and have been highly effective in reducing poaching in the area.
The journey continues with on-going conservation work, which is carried out by our dedicated conservation team, and supported by our guides, trackers and passionate team as a whole, for after all, we are all wildlife guardians. Day-to-day tasks involve maintenance of the road network and boreholes, as well as sweeping for snares (that are placed by poachers to try to catch animals for bushmeat), and net collection along the river to stop fish poaching. Our conservation team also carry out annual controlled burns to mimic the natural fires that would stimulate new growth, and this ensures firebreaks are in place to minimise the spread of wildfires. We also continue to actively support local anti-poaching units and wildlife organizations in our region.