1. Shamwari Wildlife Department (Top)
Conservation has always been a priority for Shamwari Game Reserve. In many aspects Shamwari has been the pioneer in the Eastern Cape eco tourism resurgence and in order to ensure responsible wildlife management the Shamwari Wildlife Department was created in 1996. Today this Department has developed into a substantial and recognized unit that manages the unique ecosystems within Shamwari, rich in biodiversity.
The Wildlife Department consists of two wildlife vets, two ecologists, an environmentalist and a variety of qualified nature conservationists. The main focus is to ensure a sustainable environment for all the fauna and flora on the long term, the ecological integrity of the biodiversity as well as the maintenance of a quality wildlife experience.
These conservation endeavours are evident in the number of International conservation awards that have been bestowed on Shamwari and its Wildlife Department.
2. Reclaiming the Land (Top)
Despite the historical richness in wildlife the Eastern Cape has been subjected to almost two centuries of agricultural development during which time the wildlife was all but eradicated. Since 1990 Shamwari has been actively restoring both the wildlife and the flora, an initiative that has recently gained greater credibility due to the recent proclamation of the area as the Maputaland-Pondoland-Albany Global Biodiversity Hotspot.
Today Shamwari consists of 25000 hectares of primarily natural vegetation and a variety of wildlife species interacting naturally including the predator/prey dynamics that make nature such a fascinating spectacle.
3. Ecology (Top)
From an ecological point of view Shamwari Game Reserve is very rich and diverse ecosystem, comprising five of South Africa’s Biomes with fourteen vegetation types represented. There is also a very rich biodiversity as well as endemism (species unique to the region). In order to maintain and improve this ecological integrity the Ecological sector of the Wildlife Department is continuously actively involved in various monitoring projects to determine the effects of ecological management on the environment. Two such projects of specific interest are the vegetation monitoring and the integrated predator/prey relationships as vegetation and predators have the largest effect/impact on the health if the ecosystem.
Various universities regularly conduct ecological research on Shamwari.
5. Breeding Centres (Top)
Shamwari has set aside 3500 hectares for the breeding of rare animals such as the Cape Mountain Zebra and the Disease Free Buffalo in the absence of large predators. An annual game auction is held in these areas to promote the wildlife industry with the Eastern Cape as well as assist with the long term financial sustainability of Shamwari’s Wildlife Department.
6. Security (Top)
Not only is animal health and breeding important but the safety of all Shamwari’s wildlife is priority. An anti-poaching and security unit of well trained personnel continuously patrol and strive to ensure the safety of our wildlife and natural recourses.
ENVIRONMENTAL ENDEAVOURS (Top)
Shamwari lodges have recently become part of the Green Leaf Environmental status audited by Wilderness Foundation, South Africa. Criteria for accreditation include aspects such as water management, waste management, electricity saving, recycling and education/training.
Shamwari has in this regard and in keeping with a MOU signed with Nelson Mandela Metropolitan University commissioned the University to research renewable energy specific to game lodges with specific reference to solar energy.
The Environmentalist with the Shamwari Wildlife Department is responsible for ensuring water and electricity usage is regulated and that all environmental legislation is maintained at the most effective level possible.
BORN FREE FOUNDATION ANIMAL RESCUE AND EDUCATION CENTRE (Top)
The Born Free Foundation Animal Rescue and Education Centre is a joint venture between Shamwari Game Reserve and The Born Free Foundation, UK, with the aims of providing long term humane care for rescued African cats that have been subjected to inhumane conditions internationally as well as to provide an education resource for visitors, school children and students.
There are currently two Born Free Centres on Shamwari Game Reserve, the Julie Ward Centre in the south and the Jean Byrd Centre in the north. Environmental education is a major facet of these centres and the emphasis is place on the school children of previously disadvantaged communities with in excess of 700 children been educated monthly.
The ethos of the management philosophy of Shamwari Game Reserve is to ensure that the reserve is sustainable on the long term on three fronts – financially, ecologically and socially. This will ensure the continued development of the reserve and the region in socio economic and ecological growth for the next century.