A Unique Approach to Conservation

Sabi Sand Game Reserve was created on the principles of sustainable wildlife tourism. Every aspect of the reserve and its luxury lodges aims to minimise humans’ environmental footprint while contributing to the green economy.

That philosophy is based on two ideas: conserving wilderness areas, and linking tourism with conservation and the community. You’ll get a clear sense of that as soon as you enter the reserve. It’s a private area, so only guests of the private lodges may enter – and strict restrictions have been placed on the number of lodges that may be built. This limits the number of people who are allowed into the reserve, and the impact they have on the environment.

The reserve also follows ethical safari practices, placing the animals’ needs first by limiting the number of vehicles per sighting, by leaving a mother with her young undisturbed and by providing space should an animal show any signs of discomfort.

The Sabi Sand Game Reserve’s safari lodges have created several community outreach and upliftment initiatives, aimed at improving the living conditions, education and health of the local communities surrounding the reserve. Lodges prefer to employ community members, training them on a variety of useful skills and ensuring the community gains directly from the increase in tourism. Most locals originate from the Shangaan tribe, who draw on tracking skills passed down through generations to locate animals during safari game drives.

In 2017 the reserve established the Sabi Sand Rhino Warriors (SSRW) programme to support its conservation work. All proceeds are directed to the non-profit Sabi Sand Nature Conservation Trust (NCT), which adopts a holistic approach to conservation that encompasses the land as well as all the living things on it.

Other initiatives include river health monitoring and research on the Sabi and Sand rivers; a Southern Ground Hornbill Monitoring and Support Programme; an annual aerial census to determine numbers of large mammals; invasive alien species clearing; veld condition assessments; and of course veterinary interventions where needed.

One of the most important aspects of Sabi Sand Game Reserve’s conservation efforts is its anti-poaching work. By preventing poaching, we prevent animals from building animosity towards humans and promote mutual respect and comfort, which results in rewarding sightings for our guests. We believe that providing human protection to endangered species from a distance is a non-invasive and effective measure that allows the animals to retain their freedom and natural habits.

After all, the reserve exists primarily to provide a safe habitat for those animals – and a space where guests can enjoy an authentic African wildlife experience.

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