Creating Room to Roam

Tuesday 11 October 2022

Range Expansion at Kariega Game Reserve

Helping Rhinos is thrilled to announce that in partnership with the Kariega Foundation and Freedom to Roam Adventures, Kariega Game Reserve has recently completed the first phase of an ambitious and important habitat expansion project in the beautiful Bushmans River Valley, growing the footprint of our protected area to 11,500 hectares. This new land forms part of our vision to create Rhino Strongholds in key locations, including South Africa's Eastern Cape.

Incorporating new habitat into a Big 5 wilderness is complex and costly and requires careful planning. Kariega Game Reserve’s ecology and reserve management teams broke the exercise down into two phases, with each phase focusing on a list of criteria to be completed before dropping two major fence lines within Kariega Game Reserve to expand habitat for rhino, elephant and apex predators, like cheetah and a second pride of lion. All of these species are under threat as a result of lack of habitat and in some cases relentless poaching.

The farm land was originally purchased in 2022, by Mark and Fiona Ferguson, and donated into Kariega Game Reserve’s protected area, but the completion of this first phase of the expansion project was made possible thanks to the support of Helping Rhinos and Freedom to Roam Adventures - a cycling initiative run by Helping Rhinos' Patron and Ambassadors Phil and Trish Liggett. Helping Rhinos contribution of £19,000 was only possible thanks to our amazing supporters who joined us at the Room to ROAM event held in May 2022.

Securing this farm land within a protected area has major conservation benefits including the protection of 18 kilometres of the Bushman's River tidal estuary, range expansion for numerous species, but most importantly the strategic location of this land creates the opportunity for the creation of a connected wildlife corridor within the Eastern Cape.

Together we have made a BIG dream come true. The are many more dreams ahead and it so exciting to see the first step in a long and essential journey take place. We can't wait to share the rest of the journey with you.

“Habitat protection and expansion is perhaps the most important conservation objective of our time. The Eastern Cape of South Africa is one of the most biodiverse regions in the world and it is essential that we significantly increase the protected area footprint of this province and create the opportunity for connected conservation and wildlife corridors to support growing populations of wild animals and the socio-economic well being of local people.”

Lindy Sutherland
Director, Kariega Foundation

Creating Room To Roam

Helping Rhinos is a long time partner of the Kariega Foundation. The poaching of Thandi in 2012 played a large role on Founder Simon Jones setting up the Helping Rhinos organisation. In the last decade Thandi has gone on to gift us with four calves.

One of the consequences of the Kariega habitat expansion project was the creation of a new home for Thandi's second calf, Colin, named after Colin Rushmere the much loved founder of Kariega Game Reserve who passed away on 20 January 2017, just days before Rhino Colin was born. Our Room To Roam event in May 2022 told the story of A New Home for Colin.

You can still support our work with Kariega by making a donation or adopting Thandi and her crash.

Freedom to Roam Adventures (FTRA) is a wonderful example of collaboration in conservation.

FTRA was founded by Helping Rhinos Ambassador Trish Liggett as a platform for her and Phil (world famous journalist and Voice of Cycling) to share their love of nature and play an active role in its protection and preservation. Phil and Trish have spent 30-years living in the wilds of Africa and have experienced first-hand the desperate need to expand and save wild spaces and the animals that live in them.

The primary goal of FTRA is to give in order to get. The FTRA team worked with Kariega Game Reserve to curate a bespoke experience for 16 guests to enjoy 6 nights at the reserve, spread across the beautiful Ukhozi Lodge, River Lodge and Settlers Drift Lodge; enjoying beautiful environments, outstanding cycling, game viewing, river cruisers and walking safaris on the reserve as well as information evenings with conservation experts and fun afternoons playing sport with the kids in the Kariega Foundation Youth Development programme.