German philanthropist invests R500m in KZN game reserve lodge

german philanthropist invests r500m in kzn game reserve lodge

German efficiency continues to meet South African passion and ubuntu through the new lodge at Babanango Game Reserve.

Perched high on a crest overlooking more than 22,000ha of picturesque topography, Zulu Rock Lodge was officially opened on 18 November as a new addition to the African Heritage Conservancy (AHC) portfolio. 

‘Conservation that brings everyone into the conversation’  Guide Xolani Mhlongo in his outdoor ‘office’ at the reserve. Image: Adrian Rorvik

The story of Babanango Game Reserve, one of the province’s youngest reserves, is one of conservation that brings everyone into the conversation. 

Given its location in the lands where great Zulu kings once ruled, there is an unmistakable respect for tradition, with the local chiefs playing a full role in discussions around the development. 

Community leaders, amaKhosi, as well as municipal managers from both Zululand and Ulundi districts, attended the launch to give the project their blessing. 

Zululand district municipality deputy mayor Mavis Kunene at the opening of the lodge. Image: Supplied

The massive development is fuelled by the support of German philanthropist Hellmuth Weisser and his wife, Barbara; directed by the creativity of AHC COO Jeff van Staden; and driven by a local community directly benefitting from the creation of more than 140 jobs.

Rehabilitation of these magnificent hills in a previously neglected corner of KwaZulu-Natal is under way, while also providing employment stimulus to the surrounding communities. 

“We must say a massive thank you to Hellmuth and to Barbara for what they have done for this community,” Zululand district municipality deputy mayor Mavis Kunene said. 

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