High priced homes and lodges nestled among African wildlife including rhino and other big game.
The first time I encountered parcels of bush set apart for high end homes as well as wildlife I thought, “No, this is definitely not the way to go.” However, after talking with Patrick Jordan (Rhino Revolution) whose father has been developing such modern day game reserves since the 80’s, and spending time at Vic Richards’ Royal Kruger Lodge, I had to reconsider.
Imagine your dream home with huge veranda overlooking the bush, no fences, dirt roads passible only with a four wheel drive vehicle, and kudo, wildebeest or maybe a giraffe or two being frequent visitors. Growing a flower or vegetable garden may be out of the question once discovered by the local vervet monkey or baboon troop… but, could this be “Out of Africa” for real?
Sitting at breakfast (outside on the veranda of course) with zebra grazing peacefully on the front lawn, snorting warthogs chasing by with tails like aerials, and maybe, if you’re lucky, the family of shy mongoose come out to play in the rock garden.
Life in such a game reserve is like being on constant safari… the idyllic life for some. But what about the wildlife? How do the wild animals and birds benefit in such a situation?
At first I saw this as restrictive for them, an artificially created environment. However, most of the Jordan Properties game park developments are converted cattle farms or hunting concessions. They bring in a variety of species, pull down the fences and create larger open areas for wildlife to move around. Some such properties adjoin the Kruger National Park and have become part of the larger Kruger, allowing for more east west movement which researchers discovered is important for large animals like the elephant.
These developments also require home owners to abide by strict policies like no hunting or trapping. The developers secure a wildlife conservation manager and generally an anti-poaching unit as well.
What we learned during our Africa Wildlife Conservation Tour 2014 is that the wildlife in some of these Game Park Developments (or Wildlife Conservancies) is quite secure, as all are invested in keeping the wild animals and birds safe and alive. Could it be that the rich, by getting what they want, can provide wildlife what it needs… a safe wild home?