African Safaris, Ecotourism & Accommodation in
South and Southern Africa
 

Ezemvelo KwaZulu-Natal Wildlife

Nature Conservation Services, NCS - formerly Natal Park's Board, NPB

The formal custodian of protected areas in KwaZulu-Natal Province. It is responsible for 28% of the coastline and 8,36% of the total land area. Its strategy is based on the principles of sustainable development and has four important responsibilities.

The Conservation of Biodiversity
Since 1895 dedication in this field has resulted in the saving of countless endangered species including the black and white rhino, loggerhead and leatherbacked sea turtles, blue swallows and bearded vultures. 110 protected anreas in KZN (including two of South Africa's four World Heritage sites), constitute important refuges for almost a full range of the region's biodiversity.

Social Responsibility
EKZN Wildlife fields one of the largest community outreach programmes of any conservation body in Africa. It established the internationally used 'Conservancy' system, binding over a thousand voluntary landowners to conservation practise and has a huge Honorary Officer Corps. The 'Local Board' system is statutory and, along with the liaison committees, ensures the involvement of all citizens whose opinions help formulate policy.

Cultural Policy
Many cultural sites of great significance occur within protected areas. These include the Rock Art of the San People, the ancestral burial grounds of Zulu kings and famous Anglo-Boer War Battlefields. Part of its outreach work involves matters of cultural value to the Zulu people such as traditional dancing and the provision of natural materials for the manufacture of traditional craftwork and utensils.

 

PROVINCIAL PARKS

Cathedral Peak - Didima
Hluhluwe Game Reserve
Hluhluwe - Hilltop camp
Ithala - Ntshondwe Camp
Hluhluwe - Mtwazi Lodge
Hluhluwe - Muntulu
umHluhluwe - Munywaneni
Imfolozi Game Reserve
Kamberg
Mkhuze Game Reserve
Umfolozi - Mpila Camp
Umfolozi - Masinda Lodge
Umfolozi - Hlatikhulu
Royal Natal - Thendele
Giants Castle

Economic Responsibility
Tourism - in many places the only creator of sustainable employment, is practised with enthusiasm and great success by the organisation right across the province. With some of the finest game lodges in South Africa thousands of tourists visit the region bringing direct and indirect benefits to its many people

Zululand is where three of Africa's oldest game reserves are to be found, the custodians, Ezemvelo KZN Wildlife,  formaly known as the Natal Parks Board and KwaZulu Dept of Natural Resources,  which have joined since South Africa's democracy, are renowned for their world-famous conservation strategy which pulled the white rhino back from the brink of extinction in "Operation Rhino" and are  recognised by the World Conservation Union, IUCN, as one of the world's most effective protected area management bodies

The Zululand and Maputaland reserves provide world-class tourist attractions which combine a traditional wild animal and bush experience with the marine attractions of a relatively unspoiled coastline. The region  boasts  South Africa's first natural World Heritage site, The Greater St Lucia Wetland Park as well as a the uKhahlamba Drakensberg Park where World Heritage Site status has been awarded for meeting both the natural and cultural criteria, one of 22 such sites in the World.

Though the future of the game reserves looks bright now, these recent achievements follow a long history of struggle.

From around 1840, when Mpande became the Zulu monarch, an influx of sport and commercial hunters plundered the area's wildlife resources for skins, ivory and rhino horn. Hundreds of thousands of wild animals were shot, and in less than 50 years, many species were heading for extinction.

By 1890,  possibly only 20 white rhino survived in the bush around Imfolozi / Umfolozi, their last stronghold on earth. In 1895, the Hluhluwe, Umfolozi and St Lucia reserves received formal protection from the Natal Colonial Government. Despite this protection the persecution of wildlife in Zululand persisted for decades because of outbreaks of nagana (sleeping sickness) a trypanosome spread by the Tsetse fly, among cattle in neighbouring ranchlands.

The St Lucia area was not immune to human interference either. Here, large tracts of land were turned over to the forestry department and blanketed with exotic pine trees. The military set up a test base from where it fired missiles across the Lake, and more recently, the Richards Bay Minerals company proposed mining the coastal dunes of the eastern shores of Lake St Lucia for their rich deposits of heavy metals.

Today, the Zululand reserves contain some of the largest concentrations of black and white rhino anywhere in the world, thanks to the Natal Parks Board's NPB  (now Ezemvelo KZN Wildlife of the KZN Nature Conservation Service) success in protecting the white rhino population.

Every year, hundreds of wild animals are sold at the NCS Game Auction. The  Nature Conservation Service claims it is the biggest wildlife auction in the world and is used primarily  to stock private game reserves.

The region is also rich in birdlife notably at the Ndumo game reserve on the Mozambique border, Mkhuze Mkuze Game Reserve and Lake St Lucia with its migratory species.

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