Congratulations to the wonderful Shamwari Game Reserve, who, earlier this year, were award-winners for ‘World’s Leading Conservation Company 2011’ and the ‘World’s Leading Safari & Game Reserve 2011’’.
What began as a dream and a small family retreat for Adrian Gardiner, a businessman from Port Elizabeth, then totally captured his passion – to returning the land and the area, to it’s once proud and pristine condition, teaming with indigenous plant, insect and bird life and supporting herds of free-roaming animals.
Adrian managed to grow the reserve, starting with a small team of seven passionate and committed staff, and his determination to make conservation and tourism work in synergy. In 2000, the first lions were released at Shamwari, to fulfil his dream.
Amanzi Travel have been extremely fortunate to have recently returned from visiting the Shamwari Conservation Project, only 45 minutes drive from Port Elizabeth, and it is a truly amazing place. The Shamwari Reserve prides itself on being one of the largest private conservation game reserves in South Africa, which is home to the famous Big 5 (lion, elephant, buffalo, leopard, and rhinoceros) as they roam free over 25,000 hectors of sublime landscape. They do their utmost to ensure that each and every guest is made aware of how important their natural surrounds, flora and fauna are, and that they are merely custodians of the land. It’s up to them to ensure that future generations also have the opportunity to enjoy it as they do.
What is Wildlife Conservation? Just one of the many conservation efforts at Shamwari is the Animal Rescue and Education Centre, which was launched, in partnership with The Born Free Foundation. Shamwari Game Reserve and the Born Free Foundation share the common goals of promoting the conservation of wildlife species and the protection of habitats. The reserve and foundation aim to do this by adopting, fostering and promoting a humane and compassionate approach to wildlife conservation. The BFF has two big cat sanctuaries at the Shamwari Game Reserve.
The Born Free Foundation was founded by the actors Virginia McKenna and her husband Bill Travers, and undertakes wildlife conservation, animal rescue and public awareness campaigns, to prevent animal abuse and to keep wildlife in its natural habitat. McKenna and Travers were greatly affected by the plight of wild animals after starring together in the 1966 film Born Free which told the story of George and Joy Adamsonas they returned Elsa the Lioness to the wilds of Africa. Its logo is a lion, which its website states is a likeness of Elsa.
How can you get involved in animal conservation or ranger training? By embarking on a journey as a conservation volunteer, you will become involved in many aspects of wildlife conservation – from game monitoring, counts and relocating, tracking and telemetry, assisting the veterinarians in location and monitoring of injured animals, and delivery of care during and after medical procedures, sleep outs on the reserve, community projects and night time anti-poaching patrols. You can even do your FGASA Level 1 Game Ranger Course at Shamwari …
Shamwari Conservation Project has recently hosted a group of Brazilian veterinary students for two weeks. The students all had different levels of experience varying from 3rd year to graduates, and a special program was compiled specifically to expose them to work of the Wildlife Veterinarian in Africa.
“Working hands-on alongside some of the most experienced and knowledgeable Rangers, Conservationists and Vets is a real privilege and an experience I shall never forget”
So whether you want a romantic spot to get married, or want to help release buffalos back into the wild, or think you are quick enough to fend off the bold monkeys from the delightful milk tarts at high tea, or want an entertaining adventure as you maneouvre the muddy roads in order to track everything from lions through to large elephant herds, or do your school Duke of Edinburgh Award Scheme challenge somewhere different, or you simply feel that you want to give something back to the amazing wildlife …… Shamwari has a wildlife adventure, just waiting to be explored!