Conservation and Wildlife

Babanango Game Reserve is a place of great biodiversity and offers an unparalleled sense of wilderness. Under the custodianship of German investors Barbara and Hellmuth Weisser and Jeffrey van Staden of African Habitat Conservancy, the legacy investment of four years in the making aims to place more land and wildlife under conservation.

As stewards of this unique piece of land, Babanango Game Reserve seeks to preserve the flora and fauna that call it home. We also partner with conservationists, non-profit organisations and the local community. In addition, this will help educate people about the value of the ecosystem.

Wildlife

Encompassing mistbelt grasslands, thornveld and river frontage, Babanango Game Reserve is a bush lover’s paradise. It harbours abundant game species including buffalo, giraffe, hyena, zebra, several antelope, and the elusive aardvark and aardwolf. Buffalo have recently been introduced to the reserve with the remainder of the big five being introduced over the next two years, anticipated elephant and leopard end 2020 with lion anticipated end of 2022. Teeming with birds, the reserve boasts half of South Africa’s birdlife species including nine breeding pairs of Blue Crane, Black Eagles, the Lappet Faced and White Backed Vultures, Crowned Eagles and the Narina Trogon.

Terrain and Habitats

Rich in biodiversity, Babanango Game Reserve features mountainous terrain with granite cliffs, rocks and boulders punctuating the landscape. It also accommodates lush mistbelt grasslands, of which only 2% are protected in South Africa. The surroundings make for breathtaking views across soaring hilltops and down valleys hewn by the age-old White Umfolozi River. Sheltered within the Reserve are two national symbols (South Africa’s national plant, the Protea caffra, and national bird, the Blue Crane) and a number of other rare gems worth seeking out.

Aardvark – Meaning ‘earth pig’ in Afrikaans, the nocturnal aardvark is high on the must-see list for bush and animal lovers. Babanango’s rocky nooks and crannies are the ideal habitat for this little mammal.

Aardwolf – Solitary and nocturnal, the aardwolf (meaning ‘earth wolf’ in Afrikaans), looks like a small hyena and feeds on insects. It can eat up to 300,000 termites in one sitting. Preferring open, dry spaces, the little aardwolf is usually spotted in Babanango’s grassy areas.

Protea caffra – South Africa’s national plant, the Protea caffra, is the most widely distributed Protea but occurs in only some parts of KwaZulu-Natal. It can be found atop Babanango’s rocky ridges.

Blue Crane – With its grey blue plumage and distinctive head, the iconic but vulnerable Blue Crane is near endemic to South Africa and is the country’s national bird. Occurring in grasslands and sometimes wetlands, they feed on insects, frogs and lizards. Babanango Game Reserve has nine breeding pairs of Blue Crane.

Butterflies – Several rare and common butterfly species can be found in the Babanango Game Reserve including Dark-webbed Ringlet (Physcaeneura panda), Millar’s Haritail (Anthene millari) and Mocker Bronze (Cacyreus virilis).

Stewardship

Development of the Reserve also enjoys the full support of Ezemvelo KZN Wildlife. This is a state-owned body which manages nature and game reserves throughout the province – falling under the organisation’s stewardship programme.

The Reserve also marks the start of the Umfolozi Biodiversity Economy Node Development (UBEN). This includes a chain of linked private protected areas, private game farms and communal land. The development has the potential to create a conservation area in excess of 150,000 hectares.

Serious about protecting wildlife, Babanango Game Reserve is heavily invested in the latest security technology and anti-poaching activities. With its specially developed Protected Area Management System or PAMS, the Reserve will ensure that its high worth game are protected on a 24 hour basis, while maintaining a high observation strategy in respect of human activity within the fence line at all times.

Babanango Attractions