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Liyatshwa Safaris SNP Project



This project has been motivated to address the current inadequacies in Eco Tourism facilities for Special Needs Persons, the need for Eco Awareness Education and Training for the youth sector, the upliftment and employment provision for disadvantaged and impoverished communities and related research potential within these and wildlife fields.

LIYATSHWA SAFARIS SNP is seeking to initiate a campaign to obtain investments, donations and sponsorships for all facets of this Eco Tourism facility for Special Needs Persons, from the purchase of the land to stop the hunting to wildlife & conservation, building materials to start the construction of the lodge, etc.


Project Initiators/Motivators

Prof. Marco Ravetto (Ph.D. Comp Sc.)

Founder of Liyatshwa Safaris, that specializes in animal research and education in ecology, nature conservation and wildlife management. Our primary educational audiences are disabled and normal children as well as any Special Needs Persons. Previously having worked as Regional Director and consultant in the Information Technology Sector.

Mr. Alan B Macleod (BVSc. Dip Agric Sc). Veterinary Surgeon.

Initiator of Wilderness Wheels Africa - world first safari company catering specifically for the needs of the Disabled and Special Needs tourist to the African bush environment.
Previously private veterinary practitioner in SA, Head of Veterinary Biosecurity Services for New Zealand Government and currently Director of the Animal Research Unit, University of Cape Town, South Africa.

Dr. Elisa Ravetto-Mecco (Ph.D. Psych.).

Research Director of Liyatshwa Safaris specializing in Flora and Fauna research, Rehabilitation - Psychological research and eco- education in ecology and nature conservation. Also running her private practice in Johannesburg in quality of Clinical Psychologist, Psychoanalyst, and Supervisor.

Project Aim

This project aims at a "Build - Develop - Operate - Cooperate and Conserve" style operation, within our eco tourism and eco education spheres.

" To provide Eco tourism opportunities to Special Needs Persons (SNP), through sustainable tourism development..
" To provide Eco Educational and Eco Awareness opportunities and training for children and youth, through the establishment of an Eco Education Centre.
" To provide the above for Overseas and Local markets.
" To incorporate Research Projects based around these categories of persons.
" To incorporate Wildlife Research Projects
" To generate funds via this Organization for the short and long term upliftment of local communities, via sustainable employment, training, and infrastructure development.
" To provide communities with much needed medical and educational facilities.
" To promote the interaction of local communities and overseas tourists.
" To promote Cultural and Heritage tourism and industry ideally suited to the special needs, mature and elderly tourist.
" To promote conservation and preservation of endangered species.

Project Scope

Special Needs Persons - multiple categories
Children/Youth of age groups 5 - 15 years
Involve above categories of persons, in Research projects within the African bush environment, as well as under African eco tourism conditions.
Wildlife research projects, including Endangered Species breeding programs.
Community projects and Small Business development

Botswana - an overview

Botswana has had a democratically elected Government since 1967 and is a politically stable country.

Botswana is roughly 581 730 km2 in size and was known as Bechuanaland until 1966. Botswana is a landlocked country, in the centre of southern Africa, bordered by Zimbabwe in the East, South Africa in the South and Southeast, Namibia in the West and North, as well as Zambia in the North.
Botswana is well known for its undisturbed wilderness, wild life and political stability. 80% of Botswana consists of the Kalahari Desert, a sand filled basin formed millions of years ago. Botswana is generally a very flat land, with an average elevation of 1000 m above sea level.

Tourism is highly significant as an earner of foreign revenue and one of the few industries capable of providing increased employment and trade opportunities to rural communities.
Wildlife and Ecotourism makes up 70% of this tourism industry.
Wildlife Eco tourism has resulted in the expansion of existing, and establishment of a large number of new Reserves, Conservancies and Lodges, in Botswana.
Facilities and opportunities for Disabled and SNP eco tourism are critically inadequate in Botswana.

Background History

In 1995, Mr. Alan Macleod, established a small safari company, "Wilderness Wheels Africa", which catered specifically for African bush safaris for the Disabled tourist. Adapted vehicles were used.

Accommodation was in tented camps, as no facilities existed to provide adequate, or suitable, hotel accommodation. The solution was to develop specifically designed lodge accommodation and transport for this category of tourist.

A further 10 years of research has gone into expanding this concept.

Market research indicates there are approximately 100 million Disabled persons worldwide, who are capable and can afford to travel overseas.

In 1998, Prof. Marco Ravetto and Dr. Elisa Ravetto-Mecco established a small safari company, "Liyatshwa Safaris", which catered specifically for African bush safaris for the Local Special Needs children. Adapted vehicles were used.

Principles and Criteria

Project strategic importance for Botswana

An unique project, possibly still a "World First" in concept.
Value to Botswana as a much needed boost to local communities, through job creation, community upliftment, training, and research potential.

Technical Feasibility

Research has been extensive on construction specifications of lodges, tent camps, vehicles and other transport, air travel, and client comforts.
Technical assistance has been offered and received from both local and overseas disabled organizations.

Current Status

Land has been acquired, on the Limpopo river in the Tuli Block of Botswana, approximately 5 hours drive from Johannesburg. The land is situated in the footprint of the Limpopo/Shashe Transfrontier Conservation Area (TFCA). It is a property of 8660 hectares of pristine and unspoiled bush, with big trees and scattered koppies, enjoying the status of game ranch with four of the big five (buffalos are not allowed in Botswana for fear of foot and mouth disease) roaming freely, surrounded by other properties also used as game ranches, with 5.5 km of river front on the Limpopo river. The road to reach it is in very good conditions and there is an international airport (Limpopo Valley Airport) with customs officers in the Northern Tuli Game Reserve, which is not more than 40 minutes drive from the ranch. A portion of the ranch of 2500 hectares has been fenced with elephant standard electrified fence and used for breeding of red hartebeest and blue wildebeests, kudus and other antelopes. The rest of the large open area is with free roaming elephants. There are 9 boreholes that feed the existing house, the tented camp and 5 waterholes, powered by solar panels and diesel generators, as the electric fence. The existing house has 4 en suite bedrooms and living/dining room with open plan kitchen; the tented camp is composed by 4 big tents with en suite bathrooms and central cooking, eating and living area; there are staff accommodations in 3 different areas in the property.

Our intention is to develop a 60 bed lodge, specifically designed for Special Needs clientele. Conference facilities will be provided.

An Eco Education Centre, with suitable accommodation, for students has been planned, for this site, and will be serviced from the main lodge. The Veterinary Research Laboratory and associated facilities will be part of the eco education centre and training program, which will be orientated towards the purposes and principles of nature conservation.

Eco tourism projects, which are aimed at upliftment of local communities, are actively encouraged and supported by Botswana. This entire project would generate approximately 50 to 150 new employment positions, thereby improving the living standards of about 500 - 1500 local inhabitants.

Benefits to Local Communities

The Central region is in dire need of investment and the creation of job opportunities. Eco tourism in these areas will provide this potential for communities to become involved in new projects. This project has tremendous prospects for overseas and local investors, the Botswana economy and local communities.

Long Term Residual effects

" Community upliftment through job opportunities.
" Training programs aimed at up skilling of employees, managers, rangers.
" Training in the handling/management of Special Needs tourists. No such facilities or training programs currently exist.
" Eco education and eco awareness training.
" Local populace trained in conservation leadership roles
" Promotion of trained local staff to management roles/responsible positions.
" Ranger training programs.
" Clinic and Schooling facilities.
" Interactions between local communities and overseas visitors, and youth groups.


In time, through ongoing training and development of the local populace, this will establish a self supporting operation, with long term benefits and sustainability for the surrounding communities.

Elevation of local employees to management levels within the eco tourism environment, which in turn creates the greatest potential for lasting stability and community involvement.

Financial Assistance

Financial assistance is sought for the projects as outlined above. For further detail kindly either email our Managing Director Mr. Krynauw Nel at or if you feel that you can donate or sponsor immediately please go directly to our DONATIONS or SPONSORSHIP pages.

Main Products and Services

Products Offered

The proposed Lodge and Camp developments are unique in concept. They are specifically designed to cater for the Disabled and SNP traveler, in the African bush environment.
Provision of game viewing opportunities for Disabled tourists.

Research Projects

Wildlife Research projects conducted in conjunction with University of Botswana, Kruger National Park Veterinary Services Department, University of Pretoria Faculty of Veterinary Science (Wildlife Dept) at Onderstepoort, University of Pretoria Mammal Research Dept, and Limpopo Province Agricultural Research Centre.

Independent projects - Endangered Species breeding projects/relocations, disease monitoring, conservancy management, identification of specific needs of the Disabled tourist and publication of relevant guideline manuals.

Interlinking the Products and Projects

" Disabled and Standard Ecotourism facilities.
" Game viewing, bird watching, insects, amphibians and reptiles.
" Eco education for youth/children. Basic, Intermediate and Advanced courses.
" Family participation - eco education for children/safaris for parents.
" Local communities and overseas tourist interactions.
" Ranger training - with emphasis on Disabled tourists' needs.
" African Cultures - awareness/appreciation programs.
" Research and Breeding projects.

Competitive advantage

The shortage of adequate facilities for disabled tourism is a worldwide problem.
Canada and the USA currently have the most advanced facilities.
There are currently no such facilities of any consequence on the African continent.
This project is aimed at providing 100% compatible accommodation and transport facilities for the Disabled, Special Needs, or Mature traveler to the African bush environment. The concept is unique.


Discussions on vehicles and suitable modifications for disabled tourists have been conducted with Mercedes Benz SA, Toyota SA and Land Rover SA.

Marketing Information



Lodge construction, facilities, and vehicles will be unique in that they will be designed specifically to cater for the needs of the Disabled and SNP traveler.

These designs will not preclude the inclusion/participation of able-bodied travelers.

Architectural plans, Construction and Strategic Project Manuals have already been completed.

Client Categories/Base

" Disabled and Special Needs Travelers.
" Mature travelers.
" Able bodied travelers.
" Juveniles (including children accompanying parents)
" Eco Education Centre students.
" Disabled and Able-bodied - Conferences.
" Overseas and Local markets.

Market Trends and Seasonal Variations

Client categories will provide a constant flow of travelers, as well as students.
Seasonal variations will be negated due to year round travel patterns by the Disabled, SNP, and Mature categories of travelers.

Demands for suitable travel and accommodation facilities for disabled tourists, is very high. Provision of such facilities worldwide is alarmingly inadequate. Our concept is aimed at addressing this situation.

Markets Present and Future

Specific Target Markets

Exposure to worldwide tourism markets will be achieved through contact with, and participation at:

1. Worldwide Disabled Societies.
2. Tourism Boards in various countries.
3. Tourism Conventions, Symposiums,
4. Tour Operators, Travel Agents
5. Internet
6. Representation at World Conventions - Fort Lauderdale, USA
7. Conferences and Personal Contact exposure.

Financial Considerations

Pricing structures will be in accordance with lodges and hotels of comparative standards. Market related comparisons will be employed.

Pricing structures may be revised based on funding available, research project funding and grants. Sponsorships for specific projects will be required and investigated.

The aim is to generate funding to be able to sponsor and encourage less privileged
participants, and to engage in constructive and sustainable community projects.

Perceived success of products offered.

Success of this project is based on the following facts :

" Worldwide shortage of adequate facilities for Disabled tourism.
" Virtually nonexistent facilities for Disabled tourism in Africa
" Virtually nonexistent facilities for Disabled Eco tourism in S Africa.
" No existing specialist safari companies for Disabled eco tourism in SA.
" The dire need to provide assistance to disadvantaged and impoverished communities.
" Research projects

Sales and Funding

" Projects - funding requirements
" Research funding
" Sponsorship/Financial support
" Funding from Eco tourism
" Donor funding
" Loan funding
" Curios and crafts


The markets that have been targeted by ourselves from a point of view of population size and the financial strength of the tourist. We have, in most cases, established a contact base in the country. World Bank calculations indicate that in nearly all these countries, the population over the age of 60 years old would be 25% on average. With this estimate available we have calculated what percentage of this potential customer base, could afford to travel.

N.B. At an occupancy rate of 100% our lodge for the mature, infirm and disabled, would only be able to cater for a total annual guest intake of 43,800 people!!

We require 0.000097 % per annum of the above calculated "specialised" market in order to attain 100% occupancy. We believe that as our lodge will be a world first in design this percentage should easily be attainable.

Online Catalogue | Liyatshwa's Special Needs Project |  Unclassified Information