Imvelo Safari Lodges
Maintaining Waterholes inside Hwange Natio Annual Mobile Dentist Safari
Maintaining Waterholes inside Hwange Natio
Annual Mobile Dentist Safari

Imvelo Safari Lodges



If you’ve never been to Zimbabwe before, you’re in for a treat. After all, it’s one of the most beautiful, enigmatic, diverse and friendly countries in Africa. At Imvelo, we aren’t just about luxury lodges and there’s more to us than spectacular photographic safaris - we believe in enriching the lives of those who live around us as well as our guests. We are determined to ensure that it’s the local people and wildlife that directly benefit from our visitors. For now, we’d like to take you on a little journey. To introduce you to our safari lodges and camps, roam their breathtaking and unique surroundings, and highlight some of the differences that visitors like you have already made. Our rural communities and the preservation of our Parks would not be the same without you.

About Us

By electing to build each of our properties on local community owned land, we are able to develop villages from the grassroots up. This includes the employment of over 100 locals, school and education improvement, fresh water supplies and mobile health clinics.

Mission Statement

At one time, indigenous rural communities received very little direct benefit from Zimbabwe’s booming tourism industry. For the rural villager living next to a national park, wildlife was by no means an attraction; elephants ate their crops and lions killed their livestock. The animals were problematic and not something to encourage let alone protect. Tourists were strange looking people that travelled past in buses and planes who sometimes waved but spent their money elsewhere. Our goal and long term vision is that by building safari lodges and camps within the communal lands and peripheral areas around our parks and bringing people closer to nature, a symbiotic relationship between conservation, responsible tourism and local communities can grow. This in turn promotes conservation of the local wildlife and natural resources, and encourages sustainability for these village communities while at the same time adding significantly to the experience for the responsible safari enthusiast. Our journey started with proposals to Rural District Councils through Zimbabwe’s CAMPFIRE program and developed into negotiations with excited local communities, ultimately paving the way for Gorges Lodge to open in 1996, which at the time was the largest safari tourism development ever undertaken on communal land. Since then, Gorges has been extended, Bomani Tented Lodge and Camelthorn Lodge have opened, and Zambezi Sands River Camp and Jozibanini will be opening soon. Our program has blossomed into a showpiece and model for actual successful community-based ecotourism. With funds and support reaching the communities directly, the results are tangible and the quality of life for tens of thousands of villagers in the huge area in which we operate has dramatically improved. Their response has exceeded our expectations. Visiting guests are welcomed with open arms in local villages and at our lodges, locally employed staff have real smiles and provide an extra measure of hospitality. Our commitment to conserving our wildlife and natural resources is not only aimed at local communities – Imvelo is heavily involved in a range of wildlife conservation programs on a daily basis, particularly in the more remote portions of our national parks. Our guests can expect to be pampered in exciting lodges by friendly staff with experienced guides who will show them a unique safari experience that gets them involved and actually does make a difference to wildlife and local people’s lives – connecting people and nature.


EDUCATION This support has been in the form of: • Construction of 7 double classroom blocks and R&M of each, accommodating 560 students – US$ 290 000 • Purchase and supply of school furniture for students and teachers - US$ 54 000 • Supply of school stationery and textbooks – US$ 21 200 • Staff development for 2 teachers to attend courses at a University for 2 years – US$ 1348 • Installation of school fencing – US$ 6500 • Construction of 11 teachers’ staff houses, staff toilets and bathrooms – US$ 96 000 • Teachers' training workshop - US$ 3300 WATER The main source of safe and potable water for the communities and their livestock in the rural communities around our lodges is borehole water. • Each borehole, drilled and equipped serves an average of 40 households with an average of 6 people per household. • In the dry months of the year, between May and October the boreholes are also used to water livestock. • Imvelo have spent US$ 699 000 over the past 4 years on drilling and equipping boreholes. Of the total number of boreholes drilled 5 were installed at schools, with each school having an average of 300 pupils. • These boreholes provide approximately 1500 school children and 2 280 households with 13 680 people with clean drinking water. • In addition to the installation of new boreholes, existing boreholes have been repaired over the past 4 years at the rate of over 200 boreholes a year. • In the dry months (May to October) we are responsible for the pumping and maintenance of 5 National Park boreholes plus 3 boreholes on the edge of the park, which provides essential water to the wildlife in the park during this time of the year. During the drought of 2012 we were pumping 0.15million litres of water per day. In 2014 we re-drilled and re-habilitated 3 boreholes inside the park that had previously collapsed at a cost of US$ 27 000 • During these 8 months we supply diesel for the engines, oils and filters, and payment of wages and rations for the pump attendants who man the pumps. We have spent over US$ 400 000 in 4 years to pump these waterholes within the park. HEALTH • Imvelo Safari Lodges refurbished the Sidinda Clinic’s roof at a cost of US$7500. • In addition a submersible water pump and a generator with 400 litres of fuel were purchased and installed at a cost of US$ 7 112. The clinic was also supplied with a 5 000 litre water tank and fittings valued at US$ 800. In 2014 US$ 2500 hot water system was installed • Medication valued at US$ 1 400 was supplied to the clinic. • Starting in 2011 Imvelo Safari Lodges in conjunction with a team of dentists from Spain have carried out Mobile Dental Safaris in the Tsholotsho and Hwange Districts, providing much need dental care and procedures to local people who live in the rural communities around our lodges. • A total of 5908 patients have been treated over the past 4 years as follows: • 2011 – 1173 patients treated • 2012 – 1546 patients treated • 2013 – 1215 patients treated • 2014 – 1974 patients treated • The average cost for each Mobile Dental Safari is in excess of US$ 75 000

Our Successes

All of our conservation and community initiatives have been a success however we are particularly proud of our annual mobile dentists safari. The Imvelo Safari Lodges’ annual Dentists Safari started 4 years ago from an idea, like all good ideas, born under the shade of a Camelthorn tree over a cold beer. The concept was to provide free dental care to the marginalised and disadvantaged village communities living around Hwange Park and Victoria Falls as a way to increase direct community benefits from tourism and conservation . The program centres around a team of volunteer dentists from Spain and Italy who call themselves Sonrisas para Zimbabwe based out of, and supported logistically, by Imvelo Safari lodges. The first year of operation was 2011 and of the 1,172 patients seen from 120 villages treated during the safari, the dentists only looked into one mouth that showed evidence of previous dental treatment and that was one of Imvelo’s pro guides. Having just completed our third tour and treated our 3915th patient, and well over 10,000 free dental procedures later, the dental care provided to these communities has evolved to a program that now includes: - regular annual dental care for an entire community that spans 250 km. - dental checkups for all the children in a number of community schools. - extensive oral and root canal surgery, and - oral hygiene lectures to thousands of adults and children. In 2014 1974 patients were treated, taking the total number of patients seen since 2011 to 5908 - a success indeed!

Contact and Social Media

To find out more call us on +44 (0)1865 982290 or email us at enquiries at

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