At Koru Camp we believe that the heart of conservation education lies in creating educational opportunities that result in meaningful access to the Bushveld, developing a connection to and love of the wilderness. And inspiring the belief in young people and their surrounding communities that these wild spaces should be preserved, protected, and celebrated.
Many of the communities living adjacent to the Greater Kruger have not been able to access the park for generations. Initially, this was due ‘to’ the Native Settlement Act of 1952 – where Coloured and Black people were forced into settlement areas, and 3.5 million Black people had to abandon their ancestral homes, with no compensation. Many of these areas were located within what is now known as Kruger National Park. During this era in South African history, protected areas such as these were only accessible to White visitors. The Black population were bussed in to work in the camps, but were not allowed to explore the ‘park’ as tourists.
Today things are different. South Africa is now a democracy and the Native Settlement Act of 1952 has been abolished. While this is an improvement, there are still many factors that limit the number of South Africans entering the park. The main reasons are the cost of park entrance fees, lack of access to transportation for a self-drive game drive, and the high cost of private game drives which are being marketed to international tourists.
We bring local children and community members into the park. At Koru Camp we believe that every South African should be able to visit the Greater Kruger and witness the beauty of nature and the wildlife that is an important part of their heritage, especially those who live right on the park’s doorstep. The project aims to unlock the wilderness for communities from the rural areas surrounding the Greater Kruger area, and allow them to experience something not they, nor their parents or grandparents, could experience before.