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Ngwenya Is Travel-Ready: You Should Be, Too

Ngwenya Is Travel-Ready: You Should Be, Too

The light of dawn has arrived, and with it, a brand new day. A day to cherish and be thankful for; while COVID-19 has impacted our lives and how we experience life on a daily basis, it no longer has to infringe on our favourite pastime of travelling. Escaping to wide-open spaces in the heart of nature, to a favourite chalet, makes for the perfect holiday.

2020 has certainly been a year of challenge and difficulty. The first seasonal change of the year saw us all retreat indoors, into our homes in the suburbs and cities; locked-in for our own safety, as well as the safety of others, between four walls and a view of our neighbour’s yard. This soon sent us longing for wide-open spaces, for escapes back into the countryside and bushveld; for a holiday after a particularly tough year. Ngwenya is travel-ready: you should be, too.

Your Health and Safety is our Priority

Your health and safety is our priority

For the weeks during the nationwide lockdown, the Ngwenya Lodge Team was hard at work; deep-cleaning the facilities, implementing sanitisation measures and conducting training on the various, government-enforced protocols which have to be maintained. As part of managing agent’s, Vacation Recreational Services, and Ngwenya Lodge’s mission to provide a safe holiday environment for all guests, HygienicHospitality was launched. The function thereof is to ensure that strict health and safety measures, extended to include the mitigation of the spread of COVID-19, be adhered to. Guests are sure to notice a number of these protocols across the Resort, including mask-wearing, social-distancing and regular sanitising of surfaces and high touchpoints. These measures are also implemented for your home-away-from-home chalet; guests will notice the HygienicHospitality seal on the door upon arrival, which signals that the chalet has been sanitised and that no other person has since been in the unit before the guests’ arrival.

Social-Distancing-Friendly

Maintaining social-distancing parameters

While the Ngwenya Lodge Team has taken every possible step to ensure a safe holiday environment for all, the Lodge is also suited to social-distancing-friendly escapes due to the optimally positioned nature of each chalet, as well as the units being geared for self-catering stays. Think of holidaying at Ngwenya Lodge as your second home; many South Africans reside in security estates or complexes which are similarly structured to a self-catering Resort. Though in the case of being at your favourite home-away-from-home, tranquil views over the Crocodile River with ample game-viewing opportunities make for more incredible social-distancing parameters. Not only are the chalets abiding by these parameters, but the Restaurant, Spa and Game-Viewing Hides all enforce social-distancing measures so that guests have the option of venturing out of their cosy chalets.

Quality Family Time

Quality family time is important

The stress and changes in 2020 have had long-lasting effects. Office spaces suddenly merged with the home, which was previously a sanctuary to unwind from the day’s work and relax. Schools have closed for extended periods of time and reopened with restrictions in place, yet the school curriculum remains in effect, adding further pressure to students. Restaurants, holiday locations and a number of activities many enjoyed to ease stress and tiredness, locked their doors. This time is so important to reconnect as a family in a fresh and exciting environment; such as on a self-guided drive through the Kruger National Park in your own personal bubble of a vehicle.

It’s time to embrace the great outdoors, fun activities and favourite pastimes and get back to a space of positivity and productivity. Ngwenya is travel-ready: you should be, too.

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Leisure Travel for Ngwenya Visitors

Leisure Travel for Ngwenya Visitors

The Ngwenya Lodge Team is elated to announce that intra-, as well as inter-, provincial travellers may, as per the relaxed level two regulations announced by President Cyril Ramaphosa on the 15th of August 2020, visit the Resort for a well-deserved holiday. Self-catering accommodation aligns perfectly with social-distancing practises while offering a tranquil environment and change of scenery after spending months locked indoors. Guests can relish in game-viewing from the comfort of a private patio overlooking the Crocodile River, or simply enjoy the peaceful surrounds and calls of the wild in the heart of the bush, alongside a crackling fire.

Providing a safe holiday environment for you, your family and loved ones to enjoy is our number one priority. To ensure that our own health and safety standards are met, as well as those enforced by the government, kindly take note of the following:

  • Up-to-date and accurate health and travel history documentation will be requested to be completed, per guest, upon arriving at the Lodge.
  • All guests will be subject to temperature screening at the main entrance. Should the occupant of a vehicle read a temperature of 37.8°C or higher, the vehicle will not be permitted to enter the premises.
  • Guests are required to wear a mask in public areas at all times, as per the current government regulations.
  • It is recommended that guests keep their hands clean and refrain from touching public surfaces; sanitisation stations and handwashing facilities are available throughout the Resort.
  • To adhere to social-distancing protocols, all Chalets are sanitised and sealed before guests’ arrival; decorative pieces may have been removed from the unit and housekeeping will be kept to a minimum.
  • Only nuclear family units may share accommodation.
  • The Restaurant and Kiosk are open for limited time periods. Kindly enquire directly for further information.
  • The Swimming Pools, Games Room and Jumping Pillow are open under strict capacity limitations.
  • Mbali Day Spa will be open for reservations only; kindly be in touch with the Resort directly to make a spa booking.
  • Guests are welcome to make use of the viewing deck and hides, provided social-distancing is adhered to.
  • Guests must adhere to the Resort Rules and Regulations while staying at Ngwenya Lodge.

We kindly ask all visitors to Ngwenya Lodge to also take note that the Kruger National Park has begun enforcing strict protocols at all Park access points:

  • Guests are required to wear a mask, when making use of public spaces.
  • All guests will be subject to temperature screening at the main entrance.
  • Strict quota management is currently in effect and guests are advised to book in advance via the SANParks website.

For further information with regards to the SANParks rules and regulations, kindly visit their website, or be in touch via the Kruger National Parks Admin Offices on +27 (0)13 735 4000.

Ngwenya Lodge and managing agent, VRS, remain committed to providing you with a most comfortable stay. Rest assured that our dedicated team will comply with government’s industry-specific stringent controls and measures, as well as our own health and safety protocols, to provide you with a safe holiday environment.

Intra- and inter-provincial business traveller guests are also welcome at Ngwenya Lodge. For further information pertaining to specific requirements, please read our blog.

Please be in touch with the Ngwenya Team directly for further clarification or to make a reservation: info@ngwenya.co.za. Keep up-to-date with new developments regarding the nationwide lockdown and five-level, risk-adjusted strategy here.

Disclaimer: Please be aware that Government Regulations surrounding the South African lockdown and COVID-19 are continuously being amended and updated. As such, we remain committed to providing you with relevant communications which are accurate and reflect the latest updates at the time of publishing. These regulations are subject to change and may need to be reviewed on occasion. We thank you for your understanding.

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Ngwenya is open for BUSINESS Stays

Ngwenya is open for BUSINESS Stays

The Ngwenya Lodge Team is excited to welcome weary business travellers during the eased lockdown level three regulations. We understand your need for rest and relaxation when travelling for business and look forward to your arrival, where you can expect the very best in customer service from our dedicated personnel. While intra-provincial leisure travel is currently allowed, so too is intra- and inter-provincial business travel. This means that you can still enjoy that feel-good-holiday-feeling, while taking care of business. We look forward to welcoming you for a lovely business-related stay!

What you will need:

Each individual checking-in at Ngwenya for intra-provincial business purposes must present the following documentation at Reception, upon arrival;

  • Employer letter outlining the purpose of the business travel (Declaration on company letterhead)
  • Copy of business-travellers ID

Each individual checking-in at Ngwenya for inter-provincial business purposes must present the following documentation at Reception, upon arrival;

  • Employer letter outlining the purpose of the business travel (Declaration on company letterhead)
  • Permit as per Form 2 of the Regulations
  • Copy of business-travellers ID

Please remember that each person must present this documentation; no ‘accompanying travellers’ will be permitted to stay at the Lodge without the relevant documentation.

Complying with government regulations:

Please read through the below limitations for travel to Ngwenya Lodge, as outlined and enforced by government. No exceptions will be made.

  • Family (wife, husband, children or other relatives or friends) will not be permitted on the Resort
  • Maximum two persons sharing
  • The Kiosk will be open to sell select snacks and cold drinks
  • Please contact the Lodge directly for information pertaining to the Restaurant
  • Guests must adhere to Lodge Rules and Regulations while staying at Ngwenya

Additional Health and Safety travel measurements:

  • Completed documentation needs to be made available to the Lodge, including; full name, identity number or passport number, nationality, residential address and cell phone contact
  • All persons must wear a mask upon entering the Resort premises and in public areas at all times
  • All persons must undergo temperature screening upon arrival
  • All persons must complete a screening questionnaire

Ngwenya Lodge remains committed to providing you with a most comfortable stay, while upholding stringent health and safety protocols. For your health and safety, as well as that of other guests and our own Team, kindly take note that certain common areas will remain closed, decorative pieces have been removed and sanitation procedures implemented. These, and other protocols, have been implemented at Ngwenya with our guests’ health in mind.

Please be in touch with our Reservations Team directly for further clarification, to make a reservation or request documentation to be completed prior to your arrival: reservations@ngwenya.co.za

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The Danger of Cell Connection at KNP

The Danger of Cell Connection at KNP

Are Selfies contributing to the endangerment of species?

Do you remember how comforting the Kruger was 30 years ago, when you and your new spouse arrived at the park for a non-conventional honeymoon? The warmth of the sun and the vague sound of all sorts of chatty animals filled the air with peace and purity. Flash forward 30 years and the pulse of the Kruger has been poached, stolen and warped into the morgue of a new predator.

Exposing an animal's coordinates can be done accidentally, due to ignorance of the relevant technologies.

Kruger National Park General Manage,r Ike Phaahla, has urged visitors not to share selfies (or other photos) of endangered species on social media channels. Something as innocent as a selfie can be incredibly detrimental to the preservation of already endangered species, such as rhinos and elephants.

The danger of selfies lies in the fact that your cell’s geolocation can be tracked by poachers, potentially providing increased opportunities for this heinous crime to be committed. With poachers adopting malicious technological methods to track animals, we need to be aware of the danger that we as ‘touring photographers’ potentially pose to wildlife.

Exposing an animal’s coordinates can be done accidentally, due to ignorance of the relevant technologies. Many smartphones and GPS-enabled cameras automatically implant geotagged data that provides the physical coordinates of exactly where the photo was taken.  When the geotagged photo is uploaded to a social media site, the animal is immediately made vulnerable.

Just last year, Minister of Environment, Forestry and Fisheries, Barbara Creecy, stated that more than half of the 318 poaching incidences in South Africa, between January and June, happened in the Kruger National Park.

We can all play a part and make a positive difference by following some simple guidelines that will ensure that we don’t place any animal at risk when sharing photos, but rather help to protect them from preying poachers:

We can all play a part and make a positive difference by following some simple guidelines that will ensure that we don’t place any animal at risk when sharing photos, but rather help to protect them from preying poachers:

Refrain from mentioning the animal’s location in your post and gallery

Mentioning the animal’s location is a no-go. If you choose to manage your gallery using different folders, title the folders with very vague names.

Strip your location metadata

We tend to rely heavily on our cell phones to capture our life-experiences and surroundings. With technology constantly advancing, smartphones have built-in GPS, which means your coordinates can be tracked to the tee. It is vital that you turn your device’s location feature off, to prevent information concerning your location being imbedded in the photos’ metadata. Find out more about how to turn off your devices geo-location.

Bring the animals’ plight to light

Make the world aware of the animal’s dire circumstances. Conduct research about the animal you are posting to your social media feed. You could even go so far as to donate the pictures to animal conservationists, as they could use these in awareness campaigns and for counting purposes. Monitoring and tracking the population of a species can prove to be rather difficult due to a number of factors such as the vastness of land, accessibility, the density of vegetation, etc. These pictures may prove to be of vital importance for the preservation of an animal’s population.

Bring the animals' plight to light
These pictures may prove to be of vital importance for the preservation of an animal’s population.

The fact that poachers are now using such technologically sophisticated methods to further their objectives is of great concern, especially when you consider that it is estimated that, by 2029, the number of visitors to the Park will double to 3.65 million per year! For this reason, the danger of posting geo-tagged photos must be brought to the attention of tourists and the general public.

We must then pose the question: is merely cutting cell connection enough to curb the danger of human being’s most dangerous weapon…narcissism?

Tourism in the Kruger National Park: Past Development, Present Determinants and Future Constraints

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This is MeerKAT

This is MeerKAT

Meet MeerKAT: the wide area surveillance system which is having a massive impact on the protection of South Africa’s rhino population within the Kruger National Park. Named the Postcode MeerKAT to recognise the funders of this innovation, the People’s Postcode Lottery of the United Kingdom and the Netherland’s Postcode Lottery, this system has reduced poaching in the area which it monitors by 80%. We take a closer look at the MeerKAT Project:

The surveillance system spent a year ‘under construction’ as a dedicated team of engineers researched, sourced and planned a solution to combat poaching activity in an undisclosed area of the Kruger National Park. The MeerKAT wide area surveillance system was developed by three organisations in partnership, namely: SANParks, Peace Parks Foundation and CSIR, who faced a number of challenges. These included the terrain it would need to monitor, the movement of wildlife versus humans, as well as piecing the project together within the shortest time-period possible, as rhino numbers decreased daily. The result of their efforts brought to life the Postcode MeerKAT, fit with Reutech RSR 904 ground surveillance radar, information analysis software and night-detection, long-range cameras.

Postcode MeerKAT was deployed to a high risk area of the Park and the team waited with baited breath for its impact. The team did not have to wait long to track the MeerKAT’s success as it identified just short of 90 poachers in a span of two months while deployed; saving the lives of a predicted 19 rhinos.

Not a year had passed before the Postcode MeerKAT was deployed to a high risk area of the Park and the team waited with baited breath for its impact. The team did not have to wait long to track the MeerKAT’s success as it identified just short of 90 poachers in a span of two months while deployed; saving the lives of a predicted 19 rhinos. Postcode MeerKAT was positioned on a hill overlooking this high-risk area where there is a strong presence of rhino, as well as poachers. The system makes use of the surveillance radar to scan the terrain from its vantage point and picks up on movement; the analysis software then assists in identifying whether the movement is an animal or a human on foot, and whether that human is a possible threat. The long-range cameras are used to assist the team at night-time, when poachers are move prevalent. The surveillance team can then make a call on whether to track the poachers before intervening or to deploy helicopter or road vehicle assistance to the area immediately. Take a look at the MeerKAT in action here.

Postcode MeerKAT Launch

Since its first deployment in January of 2017, and in a time span of a year, Postcode MeerKAT has decreased poaching activity in the areas it monitors by 80% with a success rate in arrests of 90%. On the 16th of November 2018, the Postcode MeerKAT Team were invited to attend the prestigious Kudu Awards, hosted by SANParks, and were awarded the Innovative Project of the Year. The annual awards ceremony honour the individuals and projects which contribute to operational successes and effectiveness throughout SANPark’s conservation efforts. This is an incredible project which is rightfully being acknowledged for its contributions to the plight for South Africa’s rhino population – we look forward to seeing the project span the Kruger and grow from strength to strength.

2018 MeerKAT Kudu Awards
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