“Just 30km outside of the Kruger National Park lies Nourish, an eco village that has been bridging the gap between impoverished South Africans and the tourism industry for 10 years.
Having grown up in the area, Sarah Bergs, CEO of Nourish, has always had a deep love of nature. From a young age, Bergs was disturbed by the imbalances between wealthy tourists able to enjoy South Africa’s natural beauty and impoverished locals. “I wanted to find a way to make conservation and tourism more inclusive to marginalised wildlife communities,” says Bergs. “Nourish was born to create a space where communities could gain access to support, empowerment and upliftment.”
She approached the chief of Sigagule village and shared her concept: to reconnect the community to local wildlife, to educate children about nature and conservation, and to create ways in which villagers could begin to benefit from the tourism industry. Nourish now has a 99-year lease on a hectare of land.
“We are becoming a duplicable wildlife buffer zone community development model that brings about change in conservation in a sustainable way through inclusive tourism and enterprise,” says Bergs.”
“Rural communities are fraught with the remnants of well-meaning projects and outreaches, and what is left behind is nothing. In order for change to become impactful, there needs to be a real link between these communities and the reserves and tourism establishments. Conservation and a love of wildlife needs to become intrinsic. This is sustainability.”