• Marie Sulda

Life in South Africa

Updated: May 20, 2020

South Africa

What are the three biggest changes to your location you have noticed locally since Covid 19?

The biggest change is that there are no guests on our reserve, or any others in South Africa, and our lodges are very quiet. We have skeleton staff of approximately 64 people and their positive energy and willingness to be of service in humbling. Teams are keeping an eye on all of the animals, working on some important research projects, alien vegetation removal, fence line and other maintenance activities to ensure that the lodges and the reserve are well cared for. We want to ensure that we will not miss any time in getting back to business. We miss our guests.

We often wonder if the wildlife notices that there are no people out on twice daily safari drives, boat cruises, guided bush walks, canoeing and fishing trips but we don’t think so. We haven’t noticed any change in their behaviour and hippos, elephants, lions and other wildlife continue to go about their daily lives unaffected.

Our game reserve is surrounded by impoverished African communities, many of whom usually work at Kariega Game Reserve. The impact on these families has been significant and many now rely on food parcels and support from government and charities. We have put in place a basic feeding program to ensure that the needs of our staff are met and we are raising funds through the Kariega Foundation to support feeding schemes for the broader community. However, as challenging as circumstances are, we are constantly delighted by the ingenious human spirit. One example is that the Kariega Foundation coaches are now sewing face masks made from linen donated by the reserve earlier in the year and collating activities packs from guest donations to keep children occupied and engaged in education during lockdown.

Photo by Brendon Jennings

What is your favorite isolation food?

All South African’s love a ‘braai’ (barbeque) where we cook meat on a wood fire outdoors. Our safari guests enjoy food cooked in this way during our boma evenings. This is my favourite way to cook a meal and enjoy time with my family. I love to be outside, next to the fire and under the stars in the African sky.

What do you want the world to know about where you live?

Africa’s wilderness areas, including Kariega Private Game Reserve, are home to an astounding diversity of species. We want you to know that we are doing our best to take care of all of them all and ensure that they continue to roam free and wild. However, vulnerable species, like rhinos, are facing greater threats from poachers. Additionally, anti-poaching units (APU) are under resource pressures as most receive a significant portion of their funding from guest conservation levies and these have dried up. Many reserves, including our Kariega Foundation, have put together fundraising campaigns to help keep these important teams operational until guests can return. Please support conservation organisations if you can.

Photo by Brendon Jennings

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