Save the Waterberg Rhino

Project LocationWaterberg, South Africa
Endangered SpeciesBlack and white rhino
Land Area Protected14500 km2
Local People Employed1 (plus 5 voluntary steering committee volunteers)

Save the Waterberg Rhino

The Waterberg area is approximately 1.7 million hectares within the Limpopo province in South Africa and is home to the second largest concentration of rhino outside of the Kruger National Park, supporting a herd of over 2000 black and white rhinos. With more than 10% of South Africa’s rhino in the Waterberg and the national parks under serious attack by poachers, their rhino population is vital to the survival of the species.

Save the Waterberg Rhino was started in November 2012 with one mission; to help raise awareness and support the war against rhino poaching. Save the Waterberg Rhino enjoys a close working relationship with many recognised role players, their opinion and experience proving invaluable when identifying projects and allocating funds.

Supporting rhino owners, private reserves, South African National Parks and general security in the biosphere is a primary objective and as such, the majority of the charity’s resources is channelled in this direction. The project also creates local and international awareness and ensures social upliftement through rhino security and tourism, facilitates training in anti-poaching and rhino conservation and lastly, supports environmental education relating to rhino protection and conservation.

Secuirty and Awareness
The Charity is a registered NGO and PBO, dependent on funding and donations from the public. The charity’s members spend in excess of R80 million (over $6 million) a year on running their reserves and with nearly half of that being spent on rhino security and anti-poaching, the cost of securing these magnificent animals is astronomical. The Charity aims to help manage this cost.

Local anti-poaching and security groups are supported with information, equipment, training and logistical support. To raise awareness the charity hosts open days and workshops, and distributes materials throughout the Waterberg. Local lodges are visited in order to engage international visitors and a signage awareness campaign is installed along all main routes in and out of the Waterberg. A total of about 50 signs have been erected to date.

Social Upliftment

Through training and short courses local people have been empowered to find employment in anti-poaching, conservation and tourism. The charity’s members and supporters employ a few thousand people and continue to educate and improve lives and livelihoods.


Having trained 30 anti-poaching rangers in 2013-2014, Save the Waterberg Rhino is now in the process of training a second group of 40 rhino monitors to be deployed in the Waterberg area. The charity has also sponsored close combat training courses as well as trauma first aid courses for rangers and anti-poaching groups. A rhino hotline is also provided and rhino owners are educated regarding rhino protection and standard operating procedures.

Environmental Education

Through their Biosphere interns, the charity has launched an environmental club in the local township to share its vision with the youth. Local children are sponsored to visit reserves in the Waterberg and see rhinos in the wild. This is a life changing experience, and group by group they are enlisting more rhino warriors to help conserve these animals for future generations.

A Waterberg Biosphere Project

Shortly after the project was founded it was decided that Save the Waterberg Rhino would officially become a project of the Waterberg Biosphere Reserve (WBR). The aims and objectives of Save the Waterberg Rhino aligns with the aims and objectives of WBR; endangered species conservation, awareness, education and social upliftment.


Tusk Support

Tusk has been supporting this project since 2013.

Notes from the field
The Waterberg habitat is suitable for both white and black rhino and historically is an important place for the recovery of both species. It is therefore critical that rhinos remain within this area and not seen as a liability by private land owners who would rather sell their rhino than face full costs of keeping them alive.
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