The founders of Imvelo had a vision — with their shared passion of the African bush, its native wildlife, and people, they wanted to create an unforgettable safari experience in Zimbabwe which also directly benefited local communities. In years past, for the majority of locals, tourists were nothing but camera-clad foreigners in 4x4s and wildlife was by no means an attraction; elephants ate their crops and lions killed their livestock. The hope was that by building safari lodges and infrastructures within communal community areas, a symbiotic relationship between safari-goers and locals could grow. This would empower the local people by delivering both needed jobs and critical social services — education, healthcare and water resources - while enabling the protection and preservation of wildlife and its habitat. And ten years later, it's working. The success of Imvelo’s community and conservation work was recognized by the Adventure Travel Conservation Fund with a $20,000 grant in 2018.
In this revealing and honest discussion, Mark "Butch" Butcher, Managing Director and Founder of Imvelo Safari Lodges, will impart the lessons learned on the front lines of the human-wildlife conflict in Hwange National Park and Victoria Falls, Zimbabwe. He will also illustrate the critical connection between communities and tourists in the long-term health of Africa's wild places. At the same time, he'll detail the incredible active and unique safari experiences in Zimbabwe including walking, canoeing and mountain biking safaris and riding a one-of-a-kind game viewing train! Butch’s lifelong passion for Hwange — it’s elephants, wildlife and communities — forms the cornerstone of Imvelo Safari Lodges’ ethos and mission today.