Local Communities’ play an important role in the success of Lion Sands and its guest experience. We employ most of our staff, almost 90%, from the surrounding local communities which are found between Hazyview and the border of the Kruger National Park.
These rural areas tend to have been overlooked by national government and therefore unemployment is high with little investment in skills development. It is therefore of great importance that all the lodges in our area contribute back into the communities and I can gladly state that this is an attitude shared by many.
Lion Sands employs more than two hundred locals whom in turn have approximately ten to fifteen dependents which means a sizable contribution back into the micro-economies of these rural areas. We also outsource various services including laundry, pest control, firewood procurement and more, to small local business to assist in again injecting funds into the economy. Lion Sands offers its employees training in the hospitality field which is nationally accredited so if young stars wish to venture into other parts of South Africa they are skilled to seek work elsewhere which in turn creates a new opportunity for others.
Lion Sands is further committed to building ongoing, meaningful relationships with local communities as we identify that only through passing on the benefits of what we have learnt in our lives to the local communities can we create a sustainable model. It is in our opinion that education is a critical success factor for our young democracy as while our government is providing leadership and direction in the larger parts of our economy we need to tackle the challenges in these very rural and often forgotten about areas of South Africa.
We do recognize and insist that you, as a guest, must not feel obliged to assist as just by in staying with us you are empowering our business to make these contributions. If however you wish to get more involved we ask that you contact Thembi Mdluli, Community Manager, and discuss personally your thoughts and ideas on how you would like to experience the community and possible assist in making a contribution.
The other work we are involved in is in improving the educational standards being offered within the local area as without education South Africa’s future is doomed. We, the More family, owner and operator of Lion Sands, have been working with Henna Pre-School for the past ten year. It was first started in 1991 and was named after one of the Indunas of Huntington under the Jongilanga Tribal Authority (the local authority which presides over most of the local villages adjacent to Lion Sands). Henna Pre-School got off the ground after receiving a donation from the Roman Catholic Church and approximately 20 children attended the school in the early years. The school initially used mud-walled buildings for infrastructure and since the turn of the century, with the involvement of Lion Sands better facilities have been built and the number of children attending the school has risen sharply to 115.
Since then, Lion Sands's involvement in Henna Pre-School has grown dramatically due to the need for basic education and healthy meals for the pre-school children and we welcome all visiting guests to take the time during their stay to ask their Field Ranger to arrange a trip out to see the school as it is a true success story of what can be done if we all chose to make a difference.
We have also partnered with an incredible organization called Pack-for-a-Purpose, which provides current information for travelers who wish to make meaningful contributions to the local community where they are staying. By selecting items requested by the community specifically for the projects listed here, travelers can make a big impact.