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Ezemvelo KZN Wildlife 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 resource harvesting.

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 conservation activities.

Biodiversity-conservation body
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 reserves.

District Conservation Officers
Ezemvelo's District Conservation Officers work amongst communities outside of protected areas ensuring that the conservation legislations of the province is applied.

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.
Conservation Officers

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 government departments. 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.

Partnership Benefits
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:

Working for Waste,
Working for Tourism,
Working for the Coast,
People and Parks,
Working for Water and
Working for Wetlands,

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 communities.

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.

Private Partnerships
Ezemvelo has a number of partnership initiatives with private organisations, which are involved in biodiversity conservation.

Ezemvelo works 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 the few.

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.

Ecotourism operations
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 restaurant services.

Ezemvelo Map

Unique Experiences
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 vehicle tour.

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 operations.

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 areas.

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
Ezemvelo KZN Wildlife website

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