Conservation in & Around Leopard Walk Lodge
Leopard Walk Lodge is in the midst of the most environmentally diverse Ecological area in South Africa. With 8 Eco systems found in our Elephant Coast, Big Five Reserves, over 400 bird species, the most butterfly species and so much more, a haven biodiversity abounds in and around our Reserve.
Our dedicated mission is to not only provide a refuge for the vast biodiversity of life forms – from butterflies, to birds, insects, amphibians, mammals and reptiles, that now call Leopard Walk Lodge and Suni-Ridge Wildlife Sanctuary home – but to also share this corner of paradise with all who would pass through our haven.
Through the years we have observed nature renew herself in the Sanctuary that we have enabled and provided. In the early years we seldom found even one animal footprint. During that time we removed hundreds of snares from the property, then, slowly one by one antelope and other mammal species returned, bird and bat species flooded in and numerous life forms – many that are red data species – moved into the rehabilitating Haven.
Gradually, nature’s life forms returned and today if you listen, you will feel and experience the ambiance of our Wildlife Sanctuary and you would understand that it is this biodiversity which above all, provides the feeling of spiritual peace and renewal – we like to think it is nature saying “thank you”
OUR 20 YEAR MISSION TO GIVE BACK THAT WHICH WAS TAKEN FROM NATURE
We aim to promote and conserve biological diversity by preserving landscape integrity, enhancing basic functioning ecological systems and by sharing our vision we strive to conduct Responsible and Ethical TourismRob & Janet
Background & Ethos
Janet and Rob Cuthbertson have spent 20 years bringing nature back to a previously neglected agricultural area in the immediate environs of the Isimangaliso World Natural Heritage Site at False Bay, Zululand in the North East Coast of South Africa.
After many years of effort, dedication and patience, their property is now a flourishing wildlife reserve which has an amazing biodiversity of species including numerous red data animals, hundreds of insect and butterfly species and over 350 species of birds. Leopard Walk Lodge is now a magnificent refuge for wildlife and a haven of peace and tranquility for visitors where no hunting or wildlife trade is conducted.
“Where there were once hundreds of snares and abandoned pineapple fields, there is now a wonderful diversity of life that is flourishing – trees that we observed growing from the time they were saplings are now towering canopies and the biodiversity of the reserve is vast. It includes over 350 bird species, numerous mammal species such as wildebeest, nyala, zebra, impala, grey duiker, reedbuck, various species of mongoose and 26 bat species and much more.
There are also various red data species that are rare and that could be threatened with extinction should they not be protected. They include the leopard tortoise, rock python, red duiker, suni antelope, pangolin, aardvark, Thonga red squirrel and a number of cat species including leopard”
Architectural Features Blend with Nature & Glass Wrapped Suites
The beautiful lodge was owner built and designed – Rob is a Civil Engineer and Janet is an Artist & Environmentalist and they are both passionate about environmental conservation. The development was carefully positioned on the edge of a unique forest and planned to blend with nature and not cause undue impact.
The beautiful ‘Secrets of the Forest’ rooms allow expansive views of nature through glass wrapped windows that have views into the forest canopy thus allowing the healing effect of nature to enhance the guest’s relaxation.
Leopard Walk Lodge is committed to provide accommodation for mobility challenged persons. It has recently been signatory to the South African Government’s commitment to Universal Access and it has been upgraded to include accessible and inclusive facilities and accommodation options for all visitors, so that no-one should be excluded from life’s tourism experiences.
This would include hearing impaired, sight impaired, mobility challenged, the aged pregnant woman, small babies in prams and even small children.
Janet explains “ The disabled may seem like others only but all too soon every person grows old and they will also have needs – hearing , sight, mobility…. etc – that should be met in exclusivity of design. Consider this: Those who need consideration are not everyone, they are everyone else!”
Leopard Walk Lodge has been an exceptional achievement that was brought about by the vision and determination of two very dedicated conservationists.
Not only have Rob and Janet provided a unique refuge for nature but they have encouraged environmental awareness in the local rural youth through Janet’s Young Environmental Ambassador movement and they have also established a school for False Bay farm workers children, many who are today, AIDS orphans
No Hunting of Wildlife
The ethos at Leopard Walk Lodge is unique in an area where most reserves utilize their animals for gain and often the antelope that is seen today, may be the one that is culled, traded or hunted tomorrow.
As there is no hunting or trading allowed the wildlife at Leopard Walk Lodge are relaxed and allow close viewing and friendly zebra come up to the lodge to greet the guests regularly! Should populations of antelope reach maximum carrying capacity of the reserve, they are relocated to other safe areas and are not sold for hunting purposes
Recycling & Giving Back To Nature
Recycling of materials was used to a great advantage in the building process. All waste products are managed wisely and recycled where possible and organic waste is used to fertilize an organic vegetable garden. Staff are trained to respect this and they carefully separate lodge refuge into different categories.
Guests love Leopard Walk Lodge and appreciate the healing and loving ambiance of nature and friendly hospitality in a wildlife reserve that was born from Janet and Rob’s vision, to give back to nature that which would be protected for perpetuity.
With thousands of hectares being lost to conservation due to expanding populations and industry, it is no longer sufficient to merely protect what is left of our environment in the world, we need to restore and rehabilitate areas that have been lost and give them back to natureJanet