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Into the Wild

Jasper van der Meij's African Buffalo

(Photo Credit: Jasper van der Meij)


With wine tourism such a lucrative industry in South Africa, safari tours are perhaps still first to spring to mind when considering South Africa as a travel destination. Private game parks, like Londolozi, Sabi Sabi, and MalaMala in the south-western section of the Kruger National Park, and in many other regions throughout the nation, offer day and night wildlife safaris and luxury accommodations as part of their eco-tourism plan. The plan provides mutual benefits to the natural environment and the surrounding communities.

Warren Green, Sabi Sabi’s North American Representative and former park ranger, explains how the game park, which emerged during the apartheid era, first began to make a difference in South African society. “Sabi was the first private game reserve to break the apartheid shackle through training,” notes Green, “and it has been training staff ever since. Initially staff were given literacy classes and schooled in the basics of reading and writing and of course learning English. The next level of education centered on business management. At the same time we were abolishing racial practices, which might seem weird today, but believe me it was a huge progression in South Africa in the late 1970s and early 1980s. We are talking about affecting cultural change”

Tourists visiting Sabi Sabi might not be aware of its cultural integrity.  They  are  too  busy  marveling  at  the  plethora  of surrounding wildlife, not just the ‘big five, (buffalo, elephant, leopard, lion, and rhino), but also hundreds of other indigenous species, and enjoying one of the four truly luxurious lodges, each with its own unique design and style. The lodges all have their own kitchens and unique dining areas. “Sometimes,” says Green, “we take everything out and set up dining tables under a huge tree or in a river bed or under the southern sky.” 

Editors note: Read the first and second articles in Santé's ongoing series exploring South Africa's burgeoning Wine industry.  

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