the logo of Koru Camp
Peter Eastwood Founder of Koru Camp

Turning passion into action – the story of our founder, Peter Eastwood

From a successful New Zealand entrepreneur to a forward-thinking conservationist in the far reaches of South Africa, Peter Eastwood’s story is one of compassion, determination and personal transformation. To the many wonderful supporters and beneficiaries of Koru Camp, Peter is a kind and gentle soul with a funny accent and a permanent smile in his eyes. He is the founder of Koru Camp and the driving force that keeps us moving forward and pushing boundaries in search of more ways to help and connect our rural communities with nature. But how did he get here? And, where does his vision for Koru Camp go next? We chatted with Peter to unravel the mysteries behind our affable Kiwi.

Hi Peter! Tell us about your background – what did you do before Koru Camp?

As an entrepreneur, I was fortunate to build up a home brewing supply and manufacturing company. However, after selling the company in 2018 and retiring shortly after, I am delighted to be finally following my passion.

You have clearly developed a strong connection to South Africa. Where did this come from?

I fell in love with South Africa through the words of Wilbur Smith, although my love of rugby was also a big drawcard! I have always felt a strong pull to the continent which has only grown stronger the more time I spend here.

Conservation is the foundation of your work. How did your interest in this area come about?

I first got interested in conservation in 2007 in response to the rhino poaching crisis. I was in iMfolozi in KZN when I heard about the poaching of rhinos in the park. It was devastating to learn that such a magnificent creature was at risk of extinction by human actions and I felt compelled to help. Through the then Section Ranger Lawrence Munro, as well as Sheelagh Antrobus at Project Rhino, we raised funds from my existing suppliers and customers as well as from organising overland camping trips.  All the money raised was then used to directly support conservation projects on the ground. 

What inspired you to evolve from raising funds for other projects to developing the Koru Camp concept?

While working with Project Rhino, my good friend Kingsley Holgate introduced Rhino Art and that opened my eyes to the huge need for quality conservation education. That grew to the understanding that an immersive education experience could really ignite a love and passion of the wilderness. Ultimately, people have the power to save – or destroy – our wild places. Thus, we cannot ignore people when it comes to conservation. The only way we can truly safeguard our wildlife for the long-term is by instilling love and understanding in the communities surrounding our reserves. How do we do that? By including them and letting them experience and enjoy nature for themselves!

Currently, you are busy upgrading the existing Koru Camp. What is your vision for the future of the organisation?

I would love to see multiple camps throughout Sub-Saharan Africa. Our vision is 24 camps at least. The need for these camps is huge and they have a profound effect on those that get the opportunity to attend. It is my dream to reach as many people as possible and create real, measurable change.

Life has changed a lot for you since 2018! What is your favourite thing about your new vocation?

Anytime I am in camp observing the happiness and awe that I see on the children’s faces is such a special moment. However, talking with the Grannies – learning their stories and seeing how much our camps mean to them –  is extra special and something very close to my heart.

If we could all make one change towards supporting conservation, what do you think that should be?

I would bring quality environmental education into the school curriculum.

Lastly, you are a proud advocate of a vegan lifestyle and instrumental in Koru Camp’s meat-conscious approach. Can you tell us a little more about that?

Of course. I started eating plant-based when I understood that you can thrive on a plant-based diet whilst significantly reducing the pressures that animal agriculture puts on the environment. As an avid traveller and owner of an international company, my carbon footprint was a real worry for me. Going plant-based was something concrete I could do to reduce that. Soon afterwards, I noticed a huge improvement in my health and also started to understand the terrible life that domestic animals had. Ultimately, it begged the question, should we be saving rhinos on one hand and killing animals for food unnecessarily on the other? For me, the answer was clear. 

Thank you, Peter. Without you and your unwavering belief in making the world a better place for all of us, Koru Camp would, quite literally, not be here. Your passion and dedication to both conservation and our rural communities is truly incomparable and the entire Koru team is so immensely proud to work alongside you in making that vision a reality. 

Share the Post:

Related Posts

Become a change maker

Sign up for the Koru Camp newsletter to stay updated on our latest activities, hear inspiring stories from the bushveld, and learn how you can contribute to our mission of conservation and sustainability.