When you choose a holiday to South Africa, it’s likely you will encounter some of the country’s amazing animals. There are many ways to discover the South African wild animals, but it’s important to do it in an environment that’s safe for both you and these beautiful creatures. Over the years, animal conservation work has progressed and instead of trying to keep them protected behind fences, the aim now is to expand and join forces with other conservation projects to ensure the animals have the freedom they deserve. There are many South African Conservation projects out there doing amazing work that’s really making a difference. If wildlife conservation interests you, here are three particular projects we think you’d like to hear about.
Shamwari Game Reserve Conservation
The Shamwari Game Reserve is one the largest privately owned conservations in South Africa. In Shona ‘Shamwari’ translates to ‘my friend,’ which is very fitting to the reserve’s core ethos, which is ‘existing in harmony with nature’. The workers and volunteers focus their efforts on monitoring the game, helping at the Born Free big cat sanctuary and caring for orphaned animals at the wildlife rehabilitation centre. In 2012 this reserve was deservingly voted as the World’s Leading Conservation Company. Located just an hour’s drive from Port Elizabeth Airport, it an excellent place to visit where honourable work is done.
African Elephant Research and Conservation
At the African Elephant Research and Conservation Reserve a lot of love is needed for these large yet extremely vulnerable animals. Located near Mossel Bay along the famously beautiful Garden Route, this reserve is full of passionate workers and volunteers who have stepped up to help this endangered animal. The elephants are at risk because of the value of their ivory. On top of this, there is the ‘elephant-human conflict’ where humans are expanding out into areas where elephants live free, so when people no longer want them there, they become a problem. The conservation works tirelessly to educate people on this matter, while providing a safe home and veterinary care for the animals.
Wildlife Research Through Photography in the Greater Kruger Area
The African conservation experience at the Greater Kruger Area Wildlife Photography and Conservation is rather unique. This wildlife conservation offers programmes where professional photographers will teach you how to capture images of the amazing African wildlife. These photos then become so much more than just a pretty picture, as they’re used for research and raising awareness. As the saying goes, a picture is worth a thousand words, and this reserve has produced some amazing stills that have educated people all over the world.
As a visitor it can be easy to forget what hardships South African animals face in their day-to-day life. While it is an amazing experience to encounter these creatures, it is also amazing to know that these animals are not being exploited. Luckily, there are many great ways to discover the Big Five and there are a lot of wildlife conservation projects out there that can provide rewarding experiences for visitors and animals alike.