Ezemvelo KZN Wildlife (Ezemvelo) is the provincial agency mandated to carry out biodiversity conservation and associated activities in the province of KwaZulu-Natal. The primary focus of the organization is biodiversity conservation – the management of 110 protected areas, as well the overseeing of provincial nature conservation legislation and its associated regulations. A secondary, but nevertheless vital aspect is the management of what is the largest eco-tourism operation in South Africa.
Their core business rests on three pillars which are conservation, partnerships and ecotourism. These encompass an extremely wide range of deliverables.
Conservation is their primary focus, and they strive to ensure effective conservation and sustainable use of KwaZulu-Natal’s biodiversity in collaboration with stakeholders for the benefit of present and future generations. It is their goal to elevate Ezemvelo to a point where they can be placed amongst world leaders in the field of biodiversity conservation.
A biodiversity- conservation body should run nature reserves, say many people. This is indeed what they do – and more. They 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. We are the conservation and ecotourism managers in the iSimangaliso Wetland Park and also manage the world famous Hluhluwe-Imfolozi Park, the genetic home to the southern white rhino and its fantastic story of recovery. In addition we manage Ithala Game Reserve, Weenen Game Reserve and a host of delightful and vital smaller parks and nature reserves.
Our ecotourism operations is one of the largest in South Africa, with a unique history. We launched the first Wilderness trail in Imfolozi in 1959, and the first hiking trails in the Drakensberg in the 1900’s. We offer 2 500 beds per night in a wide range of different accommodation types, and they offer camping accommodation to over 10 000 people per night. Diversity is a key word in describing their operations – be it conservation or eco-tourism. Our 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 resorts (Didima, Giant’s Castle and Hilltop in the Hluhluwe – Imfolozi Park and Ntshondwe in Ithala Game Reserve) also offer restaurant services.