Thanda, with its beautiful accommodation, world-class service and sanctuary for wildlife species including the Big Five, contrasts remarkably with the existential challenges of the rural communities living nearby. However, from the first emergence of Thanda, there has been a commitment and significant investment by the owners, Christin and Dan Olofsson, in developing the reserve and uplifting its rural communities.
Thanda’s mission is to serve as a responsible custodian of the environment, combining respect for biodiversity with strong relationships with wildlife conservation foundations, community support initiatives and upliftment programmes. Thanda favours community-based natural resource management (CBNRM), which aligns conservation objectives with economic benefits for rural communities.
Its three key assumptions are:
- locals are better placed to conserve natural resources,
- people will conserve a resource if benefits exceed the costs of conservation, and
- people will conserve a resource that is linked directly to their quality of life.
For Thanda, ecological commitment is about people coming together to protect their land, water, animals and plants, to use these resources to benefit future generations.