||Ezemvelo KZN Wildlife (Ezemvelo) is
a governmental organisation tasked with maintaining
wilderness areas and public nature reserves in
KwaZulu-Natal (KZN) Province, South Africa, constituted under the KZN Nature Conservation Management Act of 1999.
With their headquarters at Queen
Elizabeth Park in Pietermaritzburg,
the provincial capital, Ezemvelo manages 110 protected
areas and is the leader in sustainable
biodiversity conservation. It has recently
broadened its focus to become more relevant to
communities living adjacent to their parks - primarily
through job creation and sustainable natural
Ezemvelo has also invested in repositioning ecotourism
to over 68 resorts, spanning two World Heritage
Sites to contribute in a more substantial
way to provincial growth and development - and
where possible - reinvest to sustain biodiversity
A biodiversity-conservation body should run nature reserves. This is indeed what Ezemvelo does, and more.
Ezemvelo are the custodians of the uKhahlamba-Drakensberg
Park World Heritage Site, which accounts for approximately 25% of South Africa’s water and adds value worth
billions of Rands to the South African economy.
Without biodiversity conservation, this positive spin
off in water provision would not have been achieved
for the benefit of economic growth and basic water provision
to the population of South Africa.
Ezemvelo is the conservation and ecotourism manager in the iSimangaliso Wetland Park World Heritage Site, managing the world-famous
Hluhluwe-Imfolozi Park genetic home to the southern
white rhino and its fantastic story of recovery; Ezemvelo
manages Ithala Game Reserve, Weenen Game Reserve and
a host of delightful and vital smaller parks and nature
|District Conservation Officers
Ezemvelo's District Conservation Officers work amongst
communities outside of protected areas ensuring
that the conservation legislations of the province
Marine officers act as agents for the national
Marine and Coastal Management, a branch of the
national Department of Environment Affairs and
Tourism and apply appropriate marine legislation
to protect South Africa's dwindling marine resources.
No biodiversity agency can operate without scientific
input, and Ezemvelo is no exception. Teams of ecologists -
both in the protected areas and in regional
and head office - are responsible for providing a scientific basis for management operations through
applied research, for applying the requirements
of national legislation regarding Environmental
Impact Assessments, Integrated Management Plans
and much more.
Ezemvelo has a proud and dedicated community of Conservation
Officers and staff who work amongst
rural communities assisting and teaching good
nature conservation practices and a lot more.
Partnerships are key elements and critical to our deliverables
as directed by our core business objectives, in order
for us to effectively manage biodiversity conservation
in the province, we need to do it in collaboration
with relevant stakeholders.
Ezemvelo has a large stakeholder profile that assists
the organisation in effectively delivering on its mandate. This includes local communities; the
business sector; non-governmental organisations and
The basic rationale for the formation of partnerships
with these stakeholders is to ensure that Ezemvelo effectively
applies biodiversity conservation principles in a collective
way rather than on its own.
The benefits of conservation partnerships
has given an opportunity through key national and
provincial government initiatives under the guiding
framework of the Expanded Public Works Programme through
the following sub programmes:
for the Coast,
for Water and
All the above are geared toward the sustainable management
of the environment. These partnership initiatives
have promoted (to a large extent) socio–economic
growth and job creation amongst the mostly jobless
In the past 5 years, through these partnership initiatives, Ezemvelo has been able to invest about R250 million,
which created about 8 000 temporary job opportunities
and numerous permanent jobs.
Ezemvelo has a number of partnership initiatives with private
organisations, which are involved in biodiversity conservation.
with the Mazda Wildlife Fund, Worldwide Fund for
Nature (WWF), Wildlands Conservation Trust, Sasol,
Botanical Society of South Africa, Lesotho, Swaziland,
Mozambique, and Endangered Wildlife Trust to mention
These partnerships have worked very well for the organisation and
have provided many positive spinoffs related to conservation.
Ezemvelo plans on engaging with more partners to ensure that it has the best levels of biodiversity
conservation in KwaZulu-Natal.
Ezemvelo's ecotourism operations are some of the largest in South
Africa, with a unique history of having launched the
first Wilderness trail in Imfolozi in 1959 and the
first hiking trails in the Drakensberg in the 1900s.
Ezemvelo offers 2 500 beds per night in a wide range of different
accommodation types and offers camping accommodation
to over 10 000 people per night.
Diversity is a key word in describing Ezevemlo's operations
- be it conservation or ecotourism.
The overnight visitor facilities range from a cave in
the uKhahlamba-Drakensberg Park through open campsites,
self-catering rondavels, chalets, safari tents, to cottages
and luxury lodges. Certain of the larger camps - Didima,
Giant’s Castle and Hilltop in the Hluhluwe-Imfolozi
Park and Ntshondwe in Ithala Game Reserve - also offer
Ezemvelo offers many unique and wonderful experiences
for its visitors - these include guided walks,
overnight Wilderness Trails in Imfolozi, access
to ancient San rock-art, close encounters with
crocodiles at the St Lucia Crocodile Centre, peace
and solitude in the Drakensberg, unparalleled
scenery and vistas with superb game viewing from
the comfort of your car or in a guided open
Ezemvelo offers many different wildlife experiences. Visitors can therefore choose from a variety of
facilities in one of the 65 protected areas that
offer overnight accommodation.
Not all of the 110 protected areas offer accommodation
as some are quite small.
Building for the Better
Starting in 2010, Ezemvelo began major refurbishments
and upgrades of their facilities to be on par with
the hospitality industry thereby affording Ezemvelo
an opportunity to showcase the diversity in its
Thus far, Ezemvelo has achieved 3-star grading at a
number of its facilities.
Further to this, it has secured funding from
the provincial government to upgrade its road
infrastructure to ensure adequate access to its
facilities – many of which lie in remote
Ezemvelo's reservations' system has been
overhauled to accomodate real-time online bookings from visitors worldwide.
|Ezemvelo has a great
deal of detailed information for the public in
the form of reports, brochures, booklets and pamphlets.
A great deal of information about Ezemvelo, its
protected areas, activities, projects and facilities
is available on the website www.kznwildlife.com