The implementation of a programme to restore the Ka'Ingo Private Game Reserve on all fronts, has produced impressive results.
- Hunting is prohibited as a result of environmental rehabilitation and a selection of proven forms of wildlife management have been applied, namely: game naturally roaming the Reserve and intensive game farming managed fires to restore the veld and remove dead material to promote new growth.
- The Clean Buffalo Breeding Programmes and the safe introduction of lion, elephant and especially the rare cheetah, have all produced impressive results. Borehole management is imperative and water supplies are located in ecologically correct areas where rain water retention is maximised.
- Biosphere preservation is taken very seriously at Ka'Ingo Private Game Reserve protecting precious reserves like water, fauna and flora. Providing sustainable employment to the local population while educating the community in Ecological Management are all internal to this process.
- Mass Tourism is a potential killer of the fragile Waterberg Biosphere. As a result Ka'Ingo Private Game Reserve limits its visitors to only 44 guests at a time at its two lodges. This ensures the Reserve remains pristine and the animal quotas are managed accordingly.
“Tourism is now the world’s largest economic sector and, in South Africa, accounts for one in every eight jobs. The sector’s growth has placed a heavy burden on local economies, cultures and environments, which calls for responsible management. Responsible tourism, which is underpinned by sound environmental, social and economic principles, offers a way to minimize ecological impact, benefit local communities and reduce poverty. It is undoubtedly the way of the future.” – taken from an excerpt by Mohammed Valli Moosa, Minister of Environmental Affairs and Tourism, South Africa.
As individuals, we often become emotionally linked to animals and forget about the entire eco-system within which we operate. Erosion control, the removal of fixed structures, correct placement of water points, rehabilitation of overgrazed areas, the stocking rate applicable to the carrying capacity and the scaling down of roads are all vitally important in ensuring our country’s environmental sustainability.
Ka'Ingo Private Game Reserve forms part of the Waterberg Biosphere in South Africa’s Limpopo Province. The Reserve is implementing various proven and effective conservation management. Furthermore, internal environmental impact assessments are conducted by expert ecologists before any infrastructure is built at Ka’Ingo to determine the appropriateness of development on the Reserve and to identify any ecological problems before they occur. These combined efforts ensure the reinstatement of Ka’Ingo to its former glory and will accordingly position the Reserve as a unique brand of “untouched bushveld” (“grass farm”).
Wildlife plays a fundamental role in Ka’Ingo’s tourism efforts and so game hunting and poaching on the property is strictly prohibited. As one of only two Big Five game reserves in the region that are open to the public, Ka’Ingo boasts more than 4000 head of game representing approximately 35 species (including the Big Five and three new Cheetahs), 350 bird species and diverse plant life. To avoid exceeding the Reserve’s carrying capacity, which would have detrimental ecological effects for the region, the team takes great care to introduce only animals that exist naturally in the Waterberg. Passionate about Ka’Ingo and serious about their work there, the Ka’Ingo team does not, under any circumstances, compromise the Game Reserve’s ethics concerning any form of fauna or flora which they deem to be the reserve’s foundation.
Ka’Ingo relies on water from the perennial Mokolo river and ground water supplies which we draw from boreholes located in ecologically correct areas on the 15 500-hectare collabrative reserve where maximum gain is achieved and chances of dams and other catchments drying up are minimized. Water and borehole management is, therefore, integral to the Game Reserve’s tourism and wildlife management practices and involves the collection of rain water through a system of dams and catchments. A water reticulation system has also been installed to achieve this important goal. The airfield at Ka’Ingo is, for example, irrigated in a way that minimizes wind drift and therefore wastage and loss of water. This may seem like limitations to some, but this very fact makes Ka’Ingo a perfect location for “bushveld survival” team-building sessions where participants are encouraged to live off the offerings of Mother Nature and work together to “stay alive” - supervised by the Reserve’s expert game Rangers of course.
What is a Biosphere?
Biosphere reserves are protected terrestrial and coastal environments that combine conservation and sustainable use of natural resources. They are important building blocks for Bio-Regional planning and economic development in countries such as ours.
About the Waterberg Biosphere
The Waterberg Region was declared a protected reserve by UNESCO in 2001 and lies at an altitude of 830m to 2085m above sea level. This malaria-free region is located very close to Gauteng Province, South Africa’s city of gold and economic hub. The Biosphere has very little forestry, mining, industry and attendant pollution, and thus serves as a water reservoir for the Lower Limpopo Basin. Its four main drainage rivers are the Laphalala, Matlaba, Mogalakwena and Mokolo Rivers.
The Waterberg Biosphere is characterized by tropical grasslands, wetlands, sandstone escarpments, savannah plains and scenic mountain ranges with passes into the Palala Plateau. Its plant life includes the African Beechwood (Faurea saligna), Common Hookthorn (Acacia caffra), Red Seringa (Burkea africana, Terminalia sericea and Peltophorum africanum), the famed Pear Tree which the Sotho people of the region believe is a rain-maker and the Silver Cluster Leaf tree which contains curing properties for Bilharzia. Most of the plant life species can be found at the 5-star Ka'Ingo Private Game Reserve in the region. From East to West, the Waterberg region covers approximately 14 500km2 – almost the size of Botswana’s Okavango Delta.
The Waterberg region has an unemployment rate of 61%, showing minimal economic activity. This is primarily because very few people live there, and those that do rely primarily on crop and cattle farming. Despite the current economic statistics, the Waterberg community continues to promote new and more conservation-related tourism activities, such as game farming, to increase investment and work opportunities in the region. Various land plots in the Waterberg are also being re-instated to black communities to ensure the continuation of their ancestral legacies as new land owners and their participation in the economic development of the region.
There are very few other areas in South Africa that compare to the Waterberg’s unique attributes and conservation potential. Most areas have the constraints of pollution, forestry, over population and size. Alien vegetation that has ravaged the Waterberg’s eco-system over the last century and posed serious environmental threats to the Biosphere is currently being eliminated.
Ka’Ingo’s own conservation efforts are focused on establishing sustainably sound ecological ethics that will ultimately make conservation its core business. To achieve this, wildlife conservation and other tourism-related activities are carried out with the utmost care to ensure the least possible impact on our environment. Each of us is, after all, a custodian of the South African bushveld and, therefore, responsible for the preservation and conservation of our country’s natural heritage.