As part of Thanda Safari’s Big Five safari offering guests seeking a more immersive, impactful safari experience are invited to join in the conservation work being carried out daily on the reserve, in northern KwaZulu-Natal, some 260 kilometres north of Durban.

This may include setting up camera traps or partaking in a bird counts, monitoring the recovery of an injured cheetah or notching a rhino. Headed up by a female conservationist with British links, these essential tasks undertaken by the Wildlife Conservation Team are required for the protection and safeguarding of the wildlife as well as contributes to the ongoing research being carried out on the reserve.

For 18 years, since the game reserve was first established, it has been committed in its support for its neighbouring communities in a range of job creation, educational and socio-economic upliftment programmes through the Thanda Foundation. Most of the staff at Thanda Safari are employed from the villages that surround the reserve, sharing their stories and culture with guests as part of their day. Guests who wish to delve further into the Zulu culture are invited by Thanda’s Zulu custodian to visit a homestead, possibly spend time with a sangoma (spiritual medium and healer), meet the Zulu herdsmen and learn about his Nguni cattle or join the school children (and future Thanda employees) at a Star for Life school, whose aids awareness programme reaches over 150,000 kids.

Furthermore, for those looking to travel with a purpose, Thanda recently introduced the five-night Collars for Conservation Safari. With every booking facilitating the purchase of a GPS collar, it offers families and friends the opportunity to stay longer and give back during their trip. The safari provides six guests the rare opportunity to witness first-hand the positive impact of their visit.

They join the Wildlife Conservation Team in identifying, darting to sedate and placing a collar on one of Africa’s iconic species – a lion, leopard, elephant, cheetah or hyena. An essential yet thrilling task, this contribution enables the wildlife conservation team to more effectively monitor and protect the animal as well as gather much needed data for research.

The safari also includes further opportunities to join the wildlife team on their rounds along with traditional game drives, bush walks and a day spent at the remote 9-Mile Beach, located in the iSimangaliso Wetland Park, an area of 220km of pristine, protected coastline.

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