Child friendly game lodges
created 2011-05-26 10:46:24

I would like to express my opinion on allowing children to visit game lodges in Timbavati and Sabie Sands Private Nature Reserves. Some travellers have expressed concerns in this regard and I would like to take the opportunity to offer my view. I grew up in a family that had access to Timbavati PNR and I first visited the area at age four. Timbavati touched me so deeply that I made it my lifes work by starting Umlani Bushcamp. I continued to visit the area many times during my childhood years and my passion for, and understanding of the environment just grew and grew.

Parents who take their children to visit such wilderness areas do not always realise what a wonderful gift they are giving their children. We would be doing a big disservice to children and the environment alike if Umlani did not welcome children to experience the "specialness", the African wilderness has to offer.

I would often invite friends to join me on our bushveld holidays. Many of them, who visited Umlani during their childhood, are involved in conservation related work today. I can honestly say that this can be attributed to their early exposure to Timbavati and the rhythms of nature. Most of my friends and family have a heightened sense of the environment and apply themselves to a responsible approach to daily living. I also attribute this to their early exposure to the wilderness and its magic.

As a child, I learned to appreciate the impact that our modern lifestyles had on the environment, as do most people who have been exposed to this environment do. The knock on effect has been that a fundamental change takes place and they become aware and start taking part in conservation, recycling and other similar activities, donate time and money to conservation or environmental programmes etc.

Our purpose in ecotourism is far more than just providing people with a wonderful safari experience; we have an opportunity to educate young and old visitors about environmental concerns and issues.

It is my great pleasure to serve my fellow humans and Mother Nature in this way.

Marco Schiess
Umlani Bushcamp
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