The Johannesburg girls embarked on an incredible conservation adventure in September 2023. First stop en route to the project was to visit the Black Mambas, the first all-female anti-poaching unit in the world, in Balule Game Reserve. The objectives of the Black Mamba project are not only the protection of wildlife through boots on the ground but also through being a role model in their communities. These 23 young rangers and 7 Environmental Monitors want their communities to understand that the benefits are greater through conservation rather than poaching, addressing the social and moral decay that is a product of the poaching within their communities. They are concerned for their children’s sake as the false economy has brought loose morals and narcotics into their communities. These fantastic ladies were wanting sports bras which we were happy to provide along with some toiletries.
Our next adventure was unknown to most of our group and we headed into the Kruger Park for some leisure time and spent the night at Sable Dam in a hide. An amazing evening out in the Kruger Park with incredible views of Sable Dam, the sunset and a herd of elephants drifting by.
From here our true purpose of the visit began and we headed towards Hoedspruit where we were to be based for three nights in Tshukudu Bush Camp. It was from here that we headed out with the camp’s operational team, a wildlife vet and a helicopter. A 20-year-old white rhino bull was identified and darted from the helicopter. Swift operations ensured that the rhino was quickly blindfolded, had ear muffs placed on him and was escorted into a trailer for transfer to a nearby reserve. An incredible experience to be involved with and the reason he was being moved was to ensure genetic diversity. He was related in some way to each female cow living on the reserve. He was now off to his new home to broaden the gene pool and once the right area was located he was released and within minutes was happily grazing in his new home.
The second rhino was not as easy to move as he had not previously been located by the new reserve but the Tshukudu team was soon in action and the 9-year-oldbull was located and darted. He was quickly relocated to his new home but did not move out of the trailer as he was merrily snoring and had to be gently woken in his new surroundings Once up and awake he was soon comfortable in the area and we hope will be meeting some of the females shortly.
This was an experience of a lifetime for all the girls. To be hands-on in such an incredible project is not easy to describe but we can say it was a very emotional day and certainly fitted the profile of being an exciting adventure that we did for love. A special word of thanks to Craig from Wildest Kruger Safaris for making this happen and to all those who supported our fundraisers to ensure the entire relocation project was covered by Adventures for Love.
Whilst fund raising for this project, we were made aware of a young boy who lived in the Skukuza village who was selected for the Lowveld cricket team without having any cricket gear or much experience. He clearly has much talent and the Skukuza cricket club has taken him under their wing. They appealed for cricket gear and our AFL supporters were incredible in donating equipment and funds which we sincerely hope will help these young children to learn more about cricket and reach success.
A week of true success in the conservation world!
“Give a little, Change a life” took on new meaning in this week.