By Lucille Sive

Lion World Travel has partnered with the Shamwari Game Reserve to provide a key tool in Shamwari’s fight against rhino poaching.

The plight of South Africa’s rhinos is something near to my heart. In the last four years alone poaching has destroyed an estimated 12 per cent of the rhino population. This startling statistic is why we all need to work together to protect this essential member of Africa’s Big 5. At Lion World Travel, we partner with conservation organizations in South Africa to ensure that the wild rhino population remains healthy and vibrant for generations to come. One of the partners that we are excited to be working with is the Shamwari Game Reserve.

Situated on 25,000 hectares of natural vegetation and located on South Africa’s Eastern Cape, Shamwari is home to stunning scenery and a diverse array of wildlife that includes big game such as lion, leopard, elephant, rhino and more. The reserve was founded in 1992 based on the principle that tourism and conservation can and should work together to support South Africa’s wildlife and local communities. To realize this vision for Shamwari, the reserve worked closely with renowned conservationists Dr. Ian Player and John Aspinall to build a reserve that focused on sustainable and responsible travel.

This vision continues to this day, where Shamwari has partnered with The Wilderness Foundation on a program to monitor and protect Shamwari’s animals, including endangered rhinos in the region. A crucial tool in the fight against rhino poaching has been aerial patrol with a small vehicle called the “Bat Hawk”. The Bat Hawk is a high wing monoplane that seats a crew of two. The rounded glass windshield allows both crew members to have uninterrupted views outside the aircraft, making it ideal for patrolling Shamwari’s vast area to track and protect the local rhino population.

Earlier this year, the TreadRight Foundation, a joint initiative between the Travel Corporation’s family of brands which includes Lion World, purchased the Bat Hawk to support Shamwari’s and the Wilderness Foundation’s Forever Wild Conservation program. And although the Bat Hawk’s movements are kept secret to ensure it is effective as possible at patrolling for poachers, we are very happy to know that it has significantly aided the Shamwari rangers in their anti-poaching efforts in the region.

Travellers visiting Shamwari for safari are encouraged to get involved with Shamwari’s mission to use travel to build a sustainable and responsible game reserve that actively protects wildlife. Our Tented Safari In Style itinerary, for example, includes a 3-night stay at the Shamwari Bayethe Lodge for a unique tented safari experience. We encourage all travellers on this itinerary to visit the Ian Player Rhino Awareness Centre and the Wildlife Rehabilitation Centre to get involved and learn more about the plight of Africa’s rhinos and the fantastic work that Shamwari continues to do to protect South Africa’s rhinos.

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