What is a Wilderness Concession?
Zoned wilderness areas are very few and far between. The most important factor is that they are not developed with road networks and have no off road driving – making them completely wild and unspoilt – a pristine wilderness area may not even have an aircraft fly over it; we are however a primitive wilderness area which allows for only very well managed and supervised recreational use and very strict conservation ethics.
The animals in these areas are not habituated and there is no damage to nature. These areas are zoned in such a way either because they are fragile environments, contain rare species or simply because they are good grazing areas for game and so are the obvious choice to protect biodiversity for future generations. In our case it’s all three. It’s an excellent game grazing area, has sodic patches which make it fragile in terms of erosion, and have all of the following rare species seen intermittently:
- BLACK RHINO
- SABLE ANTELOPE (one of the biggest remaining herds in Kruger – if not the biggest, is seen drinking from time to time at our Sleep Outs waterhole)
- AARDVARK – rarely seen, but living on the eastern edge of our concession.
- GROUND HORNBILL nesting site
- YELLOW BILLED OX PECKER – we are used as a research site for this bird which is very rarely found in the southern part of the Kruger Park (they were originally considered extinct in 1920) – a real gem for birders.
We are able to drive on the boundaries of the concession, as well as one road that bisects the concession. All other driving takes place on Kruger Roads with a road network of 170km that we may use even after hours.
This gives us the advantage of having a much wider area to traverse as we are not confined to the concession area at night, and even the opportunity to revisit kill sites where predators are feeding after hours when the public are back in their camps.
Kruger National Park Private Concession
In 1999, South African National Parks offered seven restricted areas in the Kruger to public tender as private concession areas. A number of criteria were used in selecting these areas, the main ones being that the areas would not interfere with the present game viewing experience enjoyed by the visitors to the park and that they would be on the periphery of the Kruger.
A lengthy and rigorous bidding process followed and in 2001 we were awarded the Mutlumuvi Concession, where we now operate Rhino Walking Safaris (Plains Camp) and Rhino Post Safari Lodge.
Strict environmental considerations were recognised and special care was taken and continues to be taken throughout the operation of the concession.
Plains Camp opened in December 2002. It is from Plains Camp that we operate the Rhino Walking Safaris with the Sleepouts as an additional (pre-booked) activity. Rhino Post Safari Lodge, focusing on game drives opened in 2003.