South Africa’s oldest private nature reserve and global Big Five destination changes its name and updates its iconic waterbuck logo for the first time since 1948
After 74 years as the Sabi Sand Wildtuin, one of the world’s premier wildlife sanctuaries has changed its name to the “Sabi Sand Nature Reserve” and modernised its logo in the first major rebranding programme for the reserve since its founding in 1948.
The Big Five reserve, which borders the Kruger National Park and is home to a collection of internationally-renowned commercial lodges, is particularly famous for its leopard sightings and its pioneering environmental sustainability programmes. Like most South African tourist attractions, however, the Sabi Sand has faced significant challenges from the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic.
“Sabi Sand Wildtuin was at an inflection point due to the devastating impact of COVID-19 on the tourism industry, and the resultant decrease in revenue”, says Oscar Mthimkhulu, Chief Executive Officer for Sabi Sand Nature Reserve.
“The past two years have significantly disrupted every aspect of our lives, but also presented us with a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity for the Sabi Sand to evolve and modernise, not only in our name and visual identity, but also in our community partnerships, environmental management practices, and all our other services to our members and other stakeholders.”
Sabi Sand procured the services of award-winning African brand design agency HKLM, during a time of immense change for the reserve in 2019. However, the brand re-design came to a halt during the COVID-19 hard lock-down in 2020 in South Africa which delayed the launch of the new brand for two and half years. Sabi Sand Nature Reserve finally went public with the new corporate identity in July 2022 during the reserve’s Annual General Meeting.
”The horns in the new waterbuck design represent the Sabi river and Sand river which flow through and sustain the reserve, and the design was inspired by the brand’s original logo and how it has grown to have an iconic place in culture,” explains Mthimkhulu.
“The new logo pays homage to the brand’s heritage with a refined design that’s confident, simple, and modern.”
Another part of the revamp that saw a huge transformation, is Sabi Sand Wildtuin’s old website to the new Sabi Sand Nature Reserve website designed by HKLM. The transformation aims to change the narrative too, illustrating the well-being of both the nature reserve and its neighbouring communities as they are equally important.
Sabi Sand Nature Reserve aims to ensure a positive future for Sabi Sand’s people, wilderness, and wildlife, through its innovative and pioneering conservation, community, and security programmes.
“Design is one of the most essential tools we have for communicating who we are and what we value, and it plays a vital role in communicating what we do and maximising our audience experience,” said Roli Matsabe, Marketing Officer at Sabi Sand Nature Reserve.
Aligned with brand evolution is a change approach to becoming a strategy-driven organisation. This reinforces new thinking to a focused approach to key stakeholder engagement and inclusive participation through the Protected Area Advisory Committee which is constituted by local community participants.
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