Together with our conservation efforts, a socio-economic development programme has been initiated with the neighbouring Yendella community.
We believe that fundamental to the success of any conservation programme in protected areas with adjacent rural communities, is the inclusion of those communities in the wide-ranging benefits gained from the land.
Our overall aim is to mentor the Yendella community in various aspects and empower them to achieve long term financial sustainability.
The Yendella Community is an indigenous Xhosa community that occupies a property adjoining the Buffalo Kloof Conservancy. In 2015, a support project was initiated: we issued an invitation to the community to incorporate a section of their land into the conservancy – an area of pristine, biodiverse Albany Thicket on steep land unsuited to agriculture. The resulting long-term lease agreement has created a mutually beneficial relationship between Buffalo Kloof and the Yendella Community.
Since then, various economic opportunities have blossomed. A solar-powered borehole, installed and paid for by Buffalo Kloof, now supplies water to households and a small-scale, irrigated cropping scheme; a craft industry – run by women – produces goods for the tourism industry and the local Grahamstown market; several community members are being trained as game rangers, and reserve staff are recruited from the Yendella community where possible. Buffalo Kloof gives the community a supply of venison every month.
Empowering the Women
After various meetings with the community, the women of Yendella expressed interest in creating a business for themselves: broiler chicken farming. We educated them on the basics of broiler chicken management, provided adequate lighting, the first batch of chicks and the appropriate infrastructure for the enclosure – thanks to Allied Steelrode. With support from Ubunye Foundation, a local NPO and rural development trust, the Yendella women are mentored and guided.
Dragon Fruit Project
In early 2021 Buffalo Kloof facilitated the planting of 1-hectare of dragon fruit at the Yendella community. This adds to the community’s existing farming practices and adds more diversity to the agricultural products they produce for market. Under the guidance and partnership with Buffalo Kloof staff, a more modern way of farming is being taught through this project through the use of an automated irrigation system and fertilization. Buffalo Kloof employs members from the community to manage and work the land, and the community as a whole will also benefit from the profits once fresh produce is sold to market. We decided to plant dragon fruit as it requires very little water and although not indiginous to Southern Africa, if managed properly it will produce food and profits with a minimal impact on the pristine environment surrounding it.