African Monarch Lodges, home to Nambwa Tented Lodge and Kazile Island Lodge inside Bwabwata National Park, is the cumulative product of the passion and dedication that its founders, Dusty and Tinolla, have put into its formation.
The lodges are part and parcel of their environment-the most crucial element of their success.
“As lodge owners, we are custodians of the wild. We take this seriously. So when we build, we ensure that the natural environment is our number one priority.”
And so a new effort was born of this need to conserve, protect and give back: The Sijwa Project.
The Sijwa Project is the repurposing and reinventing of all recyclable waste from the African Monarch Lodges in the Zambezi Region of Namibia as well as from the local community into exquisite sellable arts and crafts. Another part is an organic permaculture nursery to supply food for local people and lodge guests. The sandy soil is nourished with composted food waste and super strength worm juice, given another boost by an occasional dollop of elephant dung. Sijwa is also about a cultural village, an artisanal skills training centre, a beehive project, a free-range egg-producing scheme and a junior ranger training venue. Plus it’s an indigenous tree nursery for visitors to offset their carbon footprint. The trees are looked after by a local ‘tree guardian’ to ensure a better chance to survive nibbling goats.
With a boundless passion for everything they put their minds to, Dusty and Tinolla apply a ‘go big or go home’ kind of attitude and the Sijwa Project is no exception.
“This vision is bigger than us – we occupy a tiny space on this planet-but we know The Sijwa Project will make a real difference and be a shining example of Best Practice for sustainability in a wildlife area.”
The Sijwa Project reuses water bottles in an effort to build a better future. Michelle McLean recently visited African Monarch Lodges’ Nambwa Tented Lodge, where she experienced first-hand the impact The Sijwa Project has in the local community.
The Recycled Plastic Bottle Project turns empty water bottles into usable building material by simply filling the bottles with other plastic waste and sand. The filled bottles are then placed alongside each other with and cemented with clay from old termite mounds. Furthermore, the project will employ women from the area, training them and providing them with a source of income.