An island of change

The Sijwa Project

What is The Sijwa Project?

It’s the re-purposing and re-inventing of all recyclable waste from the African Monarch Lodges ;Nambwa Tented Lodge and Kazile Island Lodge, on the Kwando River of the Zambezi Region of Namibia, and from the local community, into exquisite saleable craft and art.

It’s also an organic permaculture nursery to supply food for local people and lodge guests (mitigating the air and road miles lodge food usually travels). The sandy soil is enhanced by composted food-waste and super-strength worm juice, given a boost by the occasional dollop of elephant dung!

It’s also a cultural village, artisanal skills training center, a beehive project, a free-range egg scheme and a junior ranger training venue. Plus, it’s an indigenous tree nursery for visitors to buy and plant a tree to offset their carbon footprint, looked after by a local ‘tree guardian’ to ensure a better chance of survival against nibbling goats.

A Lot Going On!

Phew – that’s a lot going on, but there’s method in the madness! For example, elephants hate the buzz of bees and when the swaying hives strung up all around the farm are bashed by elephants’ intent on crop raiding, the bees come out to investigate and the elephants soon buzz off. It’s a win-win for sustainable vegetable growing, pollination and honey production, while the elephants go back to the river and eat grass. Chili-bombs are also used as a successful deterrent and consist of elephant dung infused with crushed chilies and set alight to smoke for hours – the elephants hate it!

These ideas didn’t just come from online research, nor were they plucked at random. Tinolla and Dusty have travelled far and wide looking at successful projects to emulate. They’ve seen aluminum soft drink cans turned into beautiful butter dishes, beer bottles turned into decorative glassware and plastic bottles stuffed with soft plastic waste and used in mud-hut walls.

Approval and enthusiasm from

Chief Mayuni

Plastic recycling is a passion of Chief Mayuni after a conversation he once had with a tourist on a flight who made a negative remark that “plastic is a flower in Namibia, because it is everywhere” The Chief was shocked and as he drove back to the North he realised the truth of the statement and decided to put his mind to change this in his sizable realm.

When Chief Mayuni learned of Tinolla and Dusty’s plans he released Sijwa – a traditional meeting place within his area in the Mayuni Conservancy of Bwabwata National Park, Zambezi, in the very heart of KAZA (Kavango Zambezi Transfrontier Conservation Area) – for this joint venture with the community. After listening carefully to all the presentations, he gave his personal blessing at a large gathering of dignitaries, international media and conservation role players on 17 November 2018 at Sijwa.

With a surplus of passion in everything they put their minds to, Tinolla and Dusty demonstrate a ‘go big or go home!’ kind of attitude and the Sijwa Project is no exception! They’ve just broken ground (literally and metaphorically) at Sijwa to upgrade some of the derelict buildings into workshops.

“This vision is bigger than us – we occupy a tiny space on this planet – but we know the Sijwa Project will make a real difference and demonstrate how people and wildlife can live sustainably together.” – Dusty and Tinolla Rodgers, owners, African Monarch Lodges.

Could you be a


Lodge guests will be offered a visit to The Sijwa Project to experience local culture, interact with the community members as they go about creating beautiful recycled objects, buy gifts, plant a tree and show support for this community-driven initiative. Sponsors are sought from corporates, tour operators and individuals to help nurture this Project into a shining example of Best Practice for sustainability in a wildlife area. This fits perfectly with the KAZA objectives of sustainable eco-tourism and communities living in harmony with wildlife.

You can expect to hear good news about the progress of The Sijwa Project. Make sure you are signed up to our newsletter and follow us on Facebook and Instagram.