Environmental Education

Involving Local Communities

We are reaching out to our surrounding communities, encouraging sustainable land use and the protection of biodiversity.

Temba (local Zulu tourist guide) discussing wildlife protection and de-snaring at Muzi Pan with Janet Cuthbertson (Suni-Ridge) and Marcel Koning (guest)
Janet (Suni-Ridge) and Temba (local Zulu tourist guide) discussing wildlife protection and de-snaring at Muzi Pan with Marcel, a Leopard Walk Lodge guest

Young Environmental Ambassador’s Leadership Course

We have identified an urgent need to work with the rural communities, to initiate action towards sustainable living through environmental education, and have designed a Young Environmental Ambassador’s Leadership Course with ongoing communication.

Suni-Ridge goals - eco ambassadors

With the YEA Leadership Course we teach older children how to take care of their communities in a sustainable way that will preserve their cultural and natural heritage.

The 5-day program we provide offers an understanding of biodiversity protection, water and sanitation management, animal husbandry and leadership skills.

False Bay School

Support our Schools campaign goals

When we established Suni-Ridge in 1992, most of the workers at surrounding farms were very poor and no school had been established for their children.

To provide a school for these children was to be our first community outreach priority. Read more about the False Bay School and the international SCHOOL Campaign.

This School Campaign invites school children from developed countries around the world to donate a small amount to the poor children at False Bay School.

Zulu Cultural Heritage

The preservation of Cultural heritage is very important. We are priviledged to be closely involved with our local communities. These photos were taken during a cultural day held at Makhasa School, where Janet Cutherbertson delivered a speech concerning culture, conservation and Eco-Tourism.

© Janet Cuthbertson with pupils during a cultural event held at Makhasa High School.
© Janet Cuthbertson with pupils during a cultural event held at Makhasa High School.
© Young Zulu dressed for Cultural event Makhasa High School
© Young Zulu dressed for Cultural event Makhasa High School

Water Catchment Forum

This region’s survival depends strongly on the availability of fresh water. When we experience a drought, the life blood of the lake is all used upstream in it’s catchment and when there is low rainfall, no water at all reaches the lake! There is often a discrepancy between agricultural abstraction quotas and availability of water for the rural areas too.

Read more about the Water Catchment Forum.

Expanding habitat protection of False Bay through interaction with neighbours and the community

© Young Zulu on cultural day holding candle in recognition of Hiv-Aids
© Young Zulu on cultural day holding a candle in recognition of HIV/AIDS

We are situated in the False Bay environs of the iSimangaliso Wetland Park (previously called The Greater St. Lucia Wetland Park) World Natural Heritage Site where the international conservation requirement for the area, as ratified by the South African Government, is that a buffer zone should be developed around this valuable eco-system.

As one of the first wildlife reserves to be established in this buffer zone area, we have already extended our present boundaries of protection through the voluntary inclusion of surrounding properties. We aim to link our wildlife reserve to others so that we can expand the area of ecological protection and sustainable land use through eco-tourism.

There are still other properties that need to be linked to the protected area around False Bay. It is an area that has a limited rainfall and there are few sustainable land use options.

With the high conservation status of the World Natural Heritage Site area, one of the most viable land use options is eco-tourism, as this provides work and revenue for the local communities and protection of many animal, bird and other species of wildlife and their habitat.

We would really appreciate your support to help us achieve these goals.


3 out of 5 children in rural areas in South Arica face lives of poverty. Young underprivileged children between the ages of 6 and 14 years of age walk miles from their rural homes, to reach the area where they spend their day training in Zulu dance to perform outside Hluhluwe Wildlife Park. Often, they have no lunch, or shelter from rain. Our project will provide meals, and studio shelter for arts, dance, and conservation, to empower them to be leaders while expanding their talent nationally.


While watching Zulu children express their joy and talent through traditional dance and singing, it is difficult to believe that most of them are living lives of poverty, or that they have walked many miles from their rural homes to come to dance. Tourists who pass by often give them applause and provide small tips. This helps the children and their families with income, but their humble needs are so much more! They need shelter in rain or heat, food, and upliftment of their talent.


More than 80 dancers would receive nourishing meals and shelter to protect them from rain. Our expert game guide teaches them leadership skills and to understand how culture is important to conservation. We build their confidence to become Young Environmental Ambassadors and represent dance and deep cultural knowledge at National Arts contests outside their rural area. Although they had never performed on a formal stage before, they recently achieved “High Gold” in their first Regional contest!

Long-Term Impact

More than 80 children will be empowered to reach up from lives of poverty, with confidence and leadership, Their music, art, and dance skills will be optimized together with lessons about the management of the environment, leadership skills, and deep appreciation of culture. They will return to their schools to set up dance, art, and conservation clubs for their peers and share opportunities for them to broaden their world by participating in National and International art and talent contests.