The Tree Project

Originally when Ngepi Camp began almost 35 years ago, there was an abundance of trees and bird life in the area. Today, it is believed that the current amount of bird life has decreased to less that half of what it once was.
Although this decrease is thought to be largely due to pesticides and habitat destruction within the Southern African region where most of the birds would seasonally migrate from, we have to take responsibility for the fact that our footprint has had a negative effect as well.
Over time, many homesteads were created in the surrounding area as the inhabitants saw Ngepi camp as an opportunity for employment. When Ngepi Camp first started, there were only 4 homesteads in the surrounding area. Now there are more than 50. The local people are usually semi nomadic and will exhaust an area of all resources such as firewood, soil nutrition, cattle fodder etc and then move on. However with their ability to gain successful employment at Ngepi, they have remained in the area, and built permanent structures using concrete and iron.
This means that resources continue to be further exhausted. Trees have been chopped down well beyond the perimeter of their homesteads. Whilst Ngepi Camp has maintained it’s rain forest like state, the surrounding area has become quite sparse. The tree project was commenced as a way to try and rejuvenate the tree population in the area surrounding Ngepi. Mark, the owner of Ngepi Camp, hopes that with the increase of the tree population in the area- the quantity and diversity of bird life that was once at Ngepi can return, and this area can become a sanctuary for wildlife.
So far there are 23 locals who participate in the Ngepi Tree Project (see TREE PROJECT BENEFICIARIES). If someone is employed at Ngepi camp, then they are not eligible to participate. This ensures that the ‘income’ is spread fairly throughout the local villages. Each Tree Caretaker is required to plant and take care of trees surrounding his/her homestead. They receive a financial payment per tree, per month for their time and efforts in ensuring that the trees continue to grow. If they do not take care of a tree, and it is eaten by livestock, or the tree simply doesn’t survive- then they do not receive their monthly payment for that tree until it is replanted. The payment for the trees ensures that the locals install a sense of pride in their work, and means that Ngepi can ensure the increase of tree population within the local area. This payment also ensures that the participating locals can take care of their families with the purchase of basic food and clothing for both them and their children.
At present there are approximately 2300 trees in the local community. With your help, through sponsorship, the amount of trees can increase. This project is not only about rejuvenating the tree population within the local area, but is also about helping the local community members with employment. You can sponsor as many trees as you like for as long as you like. We have a variety of options available for sponsorship payments or donations.
If you have any questions about sponsorship, or about the village itself, please don’t hesitate in contacting us- we are super friendly!