A History of Sabi Sand
Many of the owners of the blocks of land that would make up South Africa’s first privately owned nature reserve were “believers in the preservation of wilderness areas” – far-sighted men and women who could look beyond short-term gains. They had the vision to foresee that areas like the Sabi Sand would only increase in importance over time. Ahead of their time, they began putting in place initiatives that would ensure a positive future for the people, wilderness and wildlife of the Sabi Sand.
From the very beginning, there has been an implicit recognition that the sustainable management of the Sabi Sand Nature Reserve requires both a world-class approach to conservation, and lasting partnerships with neighbouring communities. Combining these two vital elements can bring the founders’ dreams to fruition and give their hopes the permanence they deserve.
Lessons learned here in the Sabi Sand Nature Reserve have proven to be equally relevant to other wilderness areas. By sharing our experiences, we can contribute to conservation success stories that extend far beyond the boundaries of the Greater Kruger National Park ecosystem.
Closer to home, a major breakthrough came in 1993 when the final game fences between the Sabi Sand Nature Reserve and the adjacent Kruger National Park were dropped. This restored the cohesiveness of the greater ecosystem, and permitted the free movement of wildlife between these two contiguous areas.
The symbolic importance of this moment was not lost on us: an eloquent testament to the power of working together for the common good, and to the positive change that can be achieved through patience and persistence.