CONSERVATION

Kuzuko Private Game Reserve came about as an answer to the question:

How can we create sustainable jobs for the people in South Africa’s Eastern Cape?

When the Kuzuko project began in 2002, the unemployment rate in the local area was over 70% and the degraded and arid farmland in the area provided limited opportunities for employment. Unusually for a private game reserve, the decision to establish Kuzuko was made quite simply because it was the best way to create the most possible jobs and bring income to the area given the land and climate and in the region. 

Our social goals remain at the core of Kuzuko’s identity, however the reserve has grown into so much more than that over the last twenty years in an uplifting tale of love, conservation and community.  The restoration and rewilding of the land has been an enriching and empowering process for all involved with many joyous moments – from the first time seeing elephants roam on the land for over 150 years, to more recently the beginnings of one of the world’s largest reforestation projects using the quintessentially South African spekboom tree, all right here at Kuzuko.

A huge amount of conservation work has been done already with many more exciting projects still to come. One of our greatest joys is sharing our conservation and restoration journey with our guests, who often comment that they themselves feel restored by experiencing this special place. On this page you will find more information about some of the ongoing projects we have at Kuzuko. Even better, why not come for a visit and we can show you in person! 

A STORY OF

LOVE, CONSERVATION & COMMUNITY

We strive to positively impact our region of the Eastern Cape, South Africa through environmental education and socio-economic empowerment of our local communities. Our aim is to improve the quality of life of current as well as future generations.

 

KEY SPECIES

 Five endangered species conservation programmes

Cheetah Akira

WILDING

CHEETAH

The cheetah has become Africa’s most endangered big cat. From a count of 100 000 in 1900, the numbers have dropped to under 7 000 in the wild today. Cheetah are classified as Vulnerable on the IUCN Red list due to human-wildlife conflict, poaching, trophy hunting, poorly regulated captive trade and illegal pet trade. The biggest threat however is due to an increasing loss of habitat.

Ethical breeding in captivity has become essential to ensure the long-term survival and viable genetic diversity of the species. 

WILDING

CHEETAH

The cheetah has become Africa’s most endangered big cat. From a count of 100 000 in 1900, the numbers have dropped to under 7 000 in the wild today. Cheetah are classified as Vulnerable on the IUCN Red list due to human-wildlife conflict, poaching, trophy hunting, poorly regulated captive trade and illegal pet trade. The biggest threat however is due to an increasing loss of habitat.

Ethical breeding in captivity has become essential to ensure the long-term survival and viable genetic diversity of the species. 

Cheetah Akira
Sylvester and Fielies, the two male lions in the Kuzuko Reserve

PRIDE OF

LIONS

The lions at Kuzuko Lodge have been translocated to the reserve to give them a chance to live and reproduce. Here we share Sylvester’s story:

South Africa was first introduced to Sylvester the lion when he escaped Karoo National Park in June 2015. For three weeks and more than 300km, this big cat went gallivanting around the Karoo – and straight into our hearts.

After his inevitable capture, Sylvester was fitted with a satellite collar. This alerted rangers when he escaped the park yet again in March 2016. Luckily the cat with the itchy feet was recaptured three days later. To stop Sylvester from going walkabout a third time, SANParks decided to translocate him and in May 2016 he arrived in Kuzuko, a private contractual area.

THE CAPE

MOUNTAIN ZEBRA

Cape mountain zebras once roamed over most of the Cape’s mountainous areas where there was enough water, shelter and grazing. Illegal hunting and competition for natural grazing with livestock such as cattle, sheep, goats and donkeys, saw their numbers plummet.  

Major threats to these animals include the possibility of hybridisation with Hartmann’s mountain zebra which should be averted at all costs, as well as the loss of genetic diversity within and between the various populations.

THE CAPE

MOUNTAIN ZEBRA

Cape mountain zebras once roamed over most of the Cape’s mountainous areas where there was enough water, shelter and grazing. Illegal hunting and competition for natural grazing with livestock such as cattle, sheep, goats and donkeys, saw their numbers plummet.  

Major threats to these animals include the possibility of hybridisation with Hartmann’s mountain zebra which should be averted at all costs, as well as the loss of genetic diversity within and between the various populations.

 

DISEASE FREE

BUFFALO

The Kuzuko Buffalo are special animals enclosed in their own section of the reserve so as to avoid predation on them form larger carnivores and for our team to be able to monitor them closely. These animals are free of diseases like foot-and-mouth, corridor, brucellosis and bovine TB, and therefore are highly valuable.

 

BIOME REHABILITATION

Kuzuko Private Game Reserve comprises three of South Africa’s nine biomes 

Nama Karoo

BIOME ONE

NAMA-KAROO

Along the central plains of Kuzuko, the Thicket Biome interfaces with the Nama-Karoo (Khoi San word meaning dry) Biome (Fig). The Nama-Karoo comprises low succulent and woody shrubs intermixed with many bulb-forming plants, forbs and grasses; small trees can be abundant along drainage lines. Although the flora of the Nama-Karoo are not particularly species rich, it does support a diversity of plant life forms. Because of its low and unpredictable rainfall, the Nama-Karoo region favours migratory animal species, including springbok, eland, and plains zebra.   

BIOME TWO

ALBANY THICKET

On Kuzuko, the Thicket Biome consists of various major plant communities, with varying structure and species composition, including Spekboomveld and Noorsveld. Spekboomveld is dominated by the drought-resistant tree succulent Portulacaria afra (Fig), while Noorsveld is a uniform, low scrub dominated by the soetnoors Euphorbia radyeri (Fig).

The Thicket Biome supports a high diversity of large-sized herbivores, ranging in size from the duiker to elephants. The megaherbivores, such as elephants and rhinos, are important in maintaining the structure of thicket vegetation.

Rescued lionesses, Nick and Angel, and their cubs in the Kuzuko Reserve
Rescued lionesses, Nick and Angel, and their cubs in the Kuzuko Reserve

BIOME TWO

ALBANY THICKET

On Kuzuko, the Thicket Biome consists of various major plant communities, with varying structure and species composition, including Spekboomveld and Noorsveld. Spekboomveld is dominated by the drought-resistant tree succulent Portulacaria afra (Fig), while Noorsveld is a uniform, low scrub dominated by the soetnoors Euphorbia radyeri (Fig).

The Thicket Biome supports a high diversity of large-sized herbivores, ranging in size from the duiker to elephants. The megaherbivores, such as elephants and rhinos, are important in maintaining the structure of thicket vegetation.

SOCIAL TRANSFORMATION

We believe that enterprise is the best way to tackle poverty through creating sustainable employment that empowers the poor and transforms communities.

Rescued lionesses, Nick and Angel, and their cubs in the Kuzuko Reserve

STUDENTS &

INTERNSHIPS

We are committed to the training, upskilling and personal development of our community. Added to this, Kuzuko has partnered with the Wilderness Foundation, who have pioneering programmes, where young adults from broken backgrounds are selected.  

Kuzuko Lodge employs and trains staff from local communities. What a privilege to see these young people developing in confidence and stature.  

The world’s poor are disproportionately affected by the impacts of environmental degradation. As such, we believe that environmental issues and social issues are highly interrelated.

 

contact

Tel: +27 42 203 1700
Mobile: +27 82 720 0808
WhatsApp: +27 63 681 3552
Email: kuzuko@legacyhotels.co.za or cdelange@legacyhotels.co.za

 

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