site zip: AF ZA A002  PROVINCE: Cape - Northern, Western, Eastern | Gauteng, KwaZulu-Natal, Mpumalanga, North West, Limpopo

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Samara Private Game Reserve
Tracker Skills Training at Samara

Samara Private Game Reserve is situated in the malaria-free Great Karoo of the Eastern Cape, on the vast plains of the Camdeboo. Samara Private Game Reserve has made it their mission to ensure the regeneration of the lands of the Eastern Cape’s Great Karoo and have been able to proudly reintroduce many endangered species.

Made up of 11 farms, Samara forms an essential part of the area’s heritage and as such, plays an important role within the local community. Not only are 90% of the staff from Graaff-Reinet and surrounds, but children from previously disadvantaged backgrounds are invited on a regular basis, to explore Samara. In association with the mayor of Graaff-Reinet, Daantjies Jafta, educational visits are arranged for local schools, during which time the children experience the magic of the wilderness and learn about South Africa’s growing eco-tourism industry.

Tracking in the Karoo has been a traditional method of locating animals, birds and reptiles for many years.  Originating from the time of the Khoisan, tracking was used to follow and locate the animals, primarily as a source of food for themselves.  Although the hunt was not always successful, the tracking method wasThus the need for trained and qualified trackers came about.

The SA College of Tourism Tracker Academy is a partnership between the SACT, Samara and renowned Senior Tracker, Alex van den Heever. Alex holds the highest qualification for a guide in South Africa, one of only 18 Senior Trackers. His passion in tracking has given him the unbelievable opportunity of tracking jaguars in the Amazon jungle, bears in California and the black-mane lions of Botswana.

The person leading and training the trackers at Samara is Master Tracker, Karel “Pokkie” Benadie. Master Tracker status is higher than that of Senior Tracker and there are only 2 in South Africa thus making Pokkie Benadie is an exceptional tracker. Pokkie has highly developed veld and tracking skills and has had a thesis published on the Black Rhino. A rare individual with extraordinary talent, ex the Karoo National Park is also an expert on medicinal plants.

The programme at Samara endeavours to contribute significantly to the preservation of indigenous knowledge in South Africa by creating passionate African naturalists. Samara’s aim is to empower the custodians of Africa’s wilderness to preserve the continents last remaining wild areas.

The aim of the Tracker Academy is to go beyond the ‘identify and follow’ to a greater understanding of the wild-life eco-systems.  

Cheetah Conservation at Samara
Samara’s magic lies not only in its vast, diverse landscape or vibrant history of the Plains of Camdeboo, but in a challenging programme of wildlife reintroduction and protection for endangered species. As part of their land restoration dream, Sarah and Mark have reintroduced the springbok, blesbok, black wildebeest, eland, oryx, rhino and giraffe that once roamed the area.

The Cheetah is the world's fastest land mammal, which needs a large area of land to survive and the Samara Private Game reserve has taken great strides to alleviate the dwindling habitats and species integration through a pro-active Cheetah rehabilitation project.

The Samara Private Game Reserve made conservation history with the introduction of Sibella in 2003, the first back in the area after 125 years. Sibella’s life nearly ended at the hands of hunters, but she was fortunate enough to be rescued and underwent life-saving surgery and rehabilitation at the De Wildt Cheetah and Wildlife Trust. Released into Samara together with two males, Sibella has proved herself to be a capable hunter and has to date successfully reared 18 cubs. As such, she epitomizes the spirit of Samara as she plays a vital role in the rejuvenation of a once endangered existence.

For more information, visit, send us your questions or telephone +1 27 (0)49 891 0558



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