If you are looking to actively participate in a conservation project on your next trip, then the Rhino Conservation Programme at Kwandwe Private Game Reserve might be just what you are looking for. Over 550 rhinos were poached in South Africa alone in 2012, making the superb conservation initiatives at reserves like Kwandwe even more imperative.
Set in the heart of South Africa's malaria-free Eastern Cape, Kwandwe Private Game Reserve now offers guests the opportunity to help preserve endangered species' on a unique Rhino Darting Programme.
The three night, four day programme provides an exciting insight into Kwandwe's black and white rhinos and their differing behavioural patterns. A group of up to 8 guests undergo full briefings and are allocated specific roles before accompanying Angus Sholto-Douglas (co-owner and the conservation manager) and a vet to explore the reserve, by helicopter where possible, to spot the rhino. Once the rhino are darted and sedated, the participants join the specialist ranger team on the ground and play their role in administering any further medication, taking measurements for scientific and medical purposes and monitoring the animal whilst under sedation. They will also have an opportunity to drill the rhino horns for the insertion of microchips and perform ear-notching procedures for future identification - both essential tasks to ensure the preservation of these magnificent animals.
Kwandwe currently supports a healthy, growing population of rhinoceros and notably of the highly endangered black rhino since its successful introduction to the reserve in 2000. The succulent thicket of Kwandwe provides black rhino with ideal nutrition and it is in this type of vegetation that their reproduction is at the highest level in Africa. The Great Fish River Game Reserve neighbouring Kwandwe also has the third most important population of black rhino in Southern Africa, demonstrating the importance of this region in black rhino conservation.
Kwandwe is a conservation victory which offers exceptional game viewing. The reserve comprises 22,000 hectares of former farmland which has been restored and restocked with wildlife and is now home to thousands of animals including Lion, Cheetah, Elephant, Buffalo, Black and White Rhino; threatened species such as the Knysna Woodpecker, Cape Grysbok, Black Wildebeest, Crowned Eagle, Black Footed Cat and the highly endangered Blue Crane, from which the reserve gets its name - 'Kwandwe' means 'Place of the Blue Crane' in Xhosa.
Click here to find out more about Kwandwe Private Game Reserve