BUFFALO

CONSERVATION AT WORK

When the concessionaires took possession of the reserve, the game was severely depleted. A civil war and successive periods of unrest had reduced the buffalo number to fewer than 50.

CAPTURE PROGRAM

The reserve was granted permission to bring in 50 head of buffalo to improve the stock and blood line of the remaining herds. Following this successful programme, the team fought long and hard to persuade the Government to grant the reserve a further 200 head of buffalo.

INTRODUCTION TO THE RESERVE

Though technically free of charge, the cost of darting, capture and transportation from the Delta area was borne by the owners, as was the building of an enclosure (boma). This required the erection of 8 km of fencing to form the boma in order to contain the new arrivals until such time as they had become localised and proved free of disease.


Were they to wander into neighboring lands they would have been swiftly poached and trapped by the locals who have littered the ‘’non-reserve’’ bush with gin traps.


There is little remaining wild life outside the reserves !

Today, hundreds of buffalo roam free on the reserve. A very successful operation but delivered at substantial economic cost.

Approximately half a million US dollars.

 

LION

LION PROGRAM

Student groups who come to the reserve will be encouraged to take part in the lion monitoring program.

During their week's stay, students will photograph evidence of lion activity - this could be anything from lion sightings; lion tracks to evidence of kills.

Findings will be documented on the 'Cyber Tracker' Software uploaded onto smart phones and tablets.

This data, together with GPS locations, will be downloaded onto the Lion Project's database and form part of the reserve's ongoing research.

YOU NEVER KNOW

This fella popped up right next to the reserve's resident zoologist's house as she returned from a morning run.

She has stopped running for the moment !

Picture taken by Holly Rosier

 

HQ HILL - BUSHCAMP

KUDU BUSHCAMP

Taking its inspiration from a typical African village it is being designed to accommodate 20 clients and staff under secure and comfortable field conditions.


It will be the camp from which all educational programs will be run.

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ELEPHANT DAM

A NETWORK OF DAMS, PANS AND DIRT ROADS

Over the years the owners have built a series of dams, pans and access roads.

Elephant, Eland, Sable and Buffalo dams represent an enormous feat of engineering that, together with a number of pans, captures the summer rains in order that the reserve has sufficient water for the dry winter months and provides for the growing animal population including the ‘big 5’.

BLAZING TRAILS

Vehicles are restricted to the network of dirt roads providing access to staff and guests. First a suitable route is chosen through the bush and trees marked with a machete or axe (‘blazes’) – hence the phrase ‘blazing a trail’.


Employees cut back the bush, only wide enough

to let a car through; a grader prepares the road surface.


These routes are almost impassable during the rainy season between November and April.


Traffic is kept deliberately light in those months so as not to churn up the roads. Each season the routes simply require the grass to be cut to open

up access again.

 

AIRSTRIP

AIRBORNE ACCESS TO RESERVE

The bush airstrip allows clients to fly in and out of the reserve. 

Additionally it makes emergency extraction (not that it's ever been required) relatively simple for both fixed wing aircraft and helicopters.

Arial surveys are also conducted from the airstrip.

 

CAMP

ANTI-POACHING PATROLS

Anti-poaching patrol camps can be as simple as a lean-to shelter and fire.

Quick to erect and leave little human impact on the environment

DEPLOYMENT

5 man anti-poaching patrols are transported to drop off zones by 4x4 where they will patrol an area of operation for up to 5 days. In areas where there is no natural water source they require re-supp. Otherwise they drink straight from sip wells, dams or other natural supplies.

ROLL CALL & MORNING BRIEFING

Anti-poaching teams attend a briefing prior to deployment in 5-man sticks. They were an interesting bunch, some of them infamous former poachers now working for the game reserve.

 

POST OFFICE

PHONE AND INTERNET ACCESS

Under development

 

NHACAINGA LODGE

ACCOMMODATION

Built some years ago using local materials and labour, it provides some real old world luxury in the middle of the bush.


It is one of the base camps from which

conservation and tourist operations are

conducted.


Accommodation comprises brick built

chalets that each sleep 4.


An en-suite shower and toilet ensures

that no lion that happens to be wandering through camp gives you a scare if you are cut short during the night.

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DINING AREA

A fire is lit at 04.30 each morning to provide hot water.

Meals are superb: –breakfasts vary from

porridge or cereal to bacon, eggs and kudu

steak.

All served in the open-sided dining area.

BRAAI

An outdoor BBQ (braai) area provides

stunning views over the river bed.


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KITCHEN

Professional kitchen bush style

WATER HOLE

A water hole in the garden area attracts
bush buck, kudu, baboon and the
occasional lion.

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