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Wild and Free: Shamwari’s Inspiring Conservation Projects

Wild and Free: Shamwari’s Inspiring Conservation Projects


Shamwari Group General Manager Joe CloeteShamwari Game Reserve has won numerous awards including Africa’s Leading Conservation Company (for eight years running!). In many ways Shamwari pioneered the ecotourism resurgence in South Africa’s Eastern Cape province, being the first private reserve to restore the area’s degraded, overgrazed farmland to its current magnificent state, restocked with elephant, rhino, cheetah, zebra, giraffe and lion roaming the hills.

I chatted to Shamwari Group General Manager Joe Cloete about some of the projects that the reserve is currently involved in.

Environmental Conservation: Restoring the Land

Expanding our land size is an ongoing priority so that we can create the ideal habitat for our growing animal numbers. We have recently sold off elephant to two other photographic reserves in the Eastern and Western Cape. In doing so we are ensuring the genetic diversity is maintained and our elephant find adequate homes in reserves that have a likeminded conservation model.”

Herd of elephant at Shamwari Game Reserve

Born Free: Circus Lions Released into the Wild

“We have recently rescued two circus lion from Bulgaria through our partnership with Born Free. These rescues are ongoing and form a very important part of our long term conservation strategy along with Born Free, which is to ensure wild animals remain in the wild.” 

Circus lion released into Shamwari Reserve
Watch this 2-minute video of the rescued circus lions getting released into their new home.

Forever Wild: Tackling Rhino Poaching

“The Shamwari Group has raised just over R11million thus far for Forever Wild. These funds are used in tackling poaching on many fronts by the Wilderness Foundation such as:

  • supplying vehicles in areas where mobility is critical in fighting poaching
  • supplying night vision equipment other APU equipment
  • supplying slow and low flying aircraft to view areas from the sky adequately
  • educating the youth in Vietnam through the Demand Reduction campaign.”

How Shamwari's Forever Wild funds are used

Demand Reduction: Vietnam’s Rhino Ambassadors

"Demand Reduction is aimed at educating the youth across the world where the product is in demand, in order for the youth to understand that rhino horn has no medicinal value: it cannot cure cancer, it is not an aphrodisiac and therefore has no real value other than the false value which has been created.

"There are rhino associated competitions run in schools in Vietnam and the winners are brought to Africa and taken on a Wilderness Trail in the Umfolozi which to them is an experience if a life time. These kids become rhino ambassadors."

Forever Wild: Vietnamese rhino ambassador

Add Shamwari to Your South Africa Holiday

Shamwari Game Reserve offers a choice of six lodges and a tented camp.

Eagles Crag Lodge: ultimate luxury in a contemporary design.
Bayethe Lodge: luxurious tented suites set on the bank of a river.
Long Lee Manor: an Edwardian Manor House with gardens, pools and ponds.
Riverdene Lodge: an elegantly restored frontier homestead - great for families!
Sarili Lodge: built specifically to cater for families or small groups.
Lobengula Lodge: an intimate camp with just five beautiful suites.
Explorer Camp: a unique walking safari and tented bush camp experience.


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