About the ZRR Foundation

“Committed to the conservation of endangered species whilst establishing, maintaining and supporting partnerships with neighbouring communities”

The Manyoni Private Game Reserve

Based in the heart of Zululand, lies the Manyoni Private Game Reserve (MPGR), the largest privately owned reserve in Kwazulu-Natal.  This 23,000 hectare reserve is the product of 17 dedicated landowners who dropped their fences in 2004 to create one protected area for our wildlife.  The long term vision of the MPGR was to increase the conservation footprint and to re-introduce species that historically occurred in the area.

The MPGR has been rewarded for its efforts and great work in conservation, it received the site of conservation significance award in 2005 and in 2009 it was declared a Nature Reserve under the Protected Areas act 57 of 2003, a significant achievement.   Being home to over 70 mammal species, including the big 5, an exceptional bird life and diverse fauna, sustaining and improving conservation within the MPGR is of great importance to the reserve.(“A protected area is a clearly defined geographical space, recognised, dedicated and managed, through legal or other effective means, to achieve the long term conservation of nature with associated ecosystem services and cultural values.” –Dudley, N. (ed.) (2008) Guidelines for Appling Protected Areas Management Categories. IUCN: Gland, Switzerland. p.8-9.)

 Conservation Efforts

Zululand was the birthplace of the great warrior King Shaka and is known historically for its rich cultural heritage as well as its abundance of wildlife.

It was here in Zululand’s iMfolozi national park in 1961 that DR Ian Cedric Player began a ground-breaking conservation movement, Operation Rhino, which brought the White Rhino population back from the brink of extinction. It is now estimated that there are over 17000 Southern white rhinos worldwide,-phenomenal growth from the estimated initial count of437 animals, much of this success is attributable to Dr Player and his team’s continuous efforts.

Dr Palyer

Magquba Ntombela & Dr Ian Player

“A new generation of people who care for rhinos, wildlife and wilderness are now taking over the baton”   -Dr Ian Player

Dr Player speaks on the Manyoni Private Game Reserve;“The Zululand Rhino Private Nature Reserve (Now known as Manyoni Private Game Reserve) is a magnificent example of what can be achieved by private citizens.  It is of enormous importance that there are areas outside the game reserves and national parks where rhino are protected as they are in the Zululand Rhino Reserve.

I congratulate the ZRR on forming a foundation to raise funds to bring other endangered species into the Rhino Reserve.  I applaud too the foundation’s determination to assist local Zulu communities, because they are in the front line in the conservation struggle. Local communities are critically important and without their support all conservation efforts face a precarious future.”

The MPGR is home to a significant population of endangered black rhino & threatened white rhino.  The 21st century brings with it another surge in rhino poaching and the demand for Rhino horn, with the demand set to increase  Governments and Non-Governmental organisations alike are working hard on awareness & anti-poaching strategies and programmes in an attempt to reverse this trend.  The situation has become so grave that an ever-increasing number of privately owned game reserves are disposing of their rhino, as they considered too much of a risk.  Protected, ecologically suitable habitat is crucial, and we are dedicated to conserving the rhinos population within the MPGR and despite the overwhelming security costs (over 60% of our annual budget)  we aim to remain at the forefront of Rhino conservation in Southern Africa.

While the rhino is the MPGR’s flagship species, we are also home to other endangered and threatened species. Since its initiation in 2004 the MPGR has successfully reintroduced black rhino, elephant, cheetah, lion and most recently Wild dog in 2015.

Black rhino dart                Lion Dart

Notching the ear of a Black Rhino is done          Removing the collar of the male lion            to help differentiate between animals and          introduced into the reserve in 2012.          assist our monitors in tracking the animals     Re-introduced animals are collard to movement.                                                          monitor their movement and behaviour.

Humanitarian Efforts

“Local communities have to be invested in and benefit from rhino conservation and management. Poor, vulnerable and uninformed communities living near rhino conservation areas are easily penetrated by poachers and illicit trade syndicates. Thus, more needs to be done to make these communities full-fledged partners in, and beneficiaries of, rhino conservation.”  – Minister Edna Molewa, Department of Environmental Affairs South Africa

Life is challenging in local rural communities.  Schools are understaffed and lack adequate funding, as a result, many children grow up with poor quality education.  Clean water is a rare commodity in rural communities which can negatively impact health and make subsistence farming difficult. Employment in rural areas is scarce and pay is often very low. South Africa is rife with poverty, over 50% of our population lives on less than a dollar a day.

Where there is hunger, a lack of education and poverty, we cannot expect communities to back the conservation efforts of  the ZRR.  In the wise words of Nelson Mandela, “If you don’t have sustainable development around these (wildlife) parks, then people will have no interest in them, and the parks will not survive.”

Working closely with our regional wildlife department (Ezemvelo KZN Wildlife) and having the full support of CEO Dr. Bandile Mkhize, we are pleased to be initiating our project “ African Conservation ”.  The project aims to identify, with the help of local tribal leaders and conservationists, suitable land for community game reserves.  These reserves will be stocked by our foundation and other willing parties, and managed with the help of dedicated conservationists and community members.  With these reserves we aim to further expand our conservation effort, whilst uplifting our neighbouring communities, both financially and by providing training and employment opportunities.

Community Labour

Staff from the neighbouring Sekane community who work in reserve, receiving donations of linen, blankets and clothes.

Our Philosophy

We recognise that conservation is more about people and their views, than merely establishing game parks.   The ZULULAND RHINO RESERVE FOUNDATION is continuously working to empower local communities through assistance in education and by forging mutually beneficial partnerships in specific conservation initiatives.  We believe that empowerment, upliftment, and education will reinforce the value of wildlife and conservation.

Mbuzeli Chreche


Some of the children at the Mbuzeli crèche which the ZRRF and Leopard Mountain raised funds to build in 2007. 


The ZULULAND RHINO RESERVE FOUNDATION was set up with the aims of conservation, combating poaching, and establishing and maintaining a strong, mutually beneficial partnership with our neighbouring communities

Current and future projects of the foundation

  •  Continued support & running of the Mbuzeli Crèche, this crèche takes care of 50 children below the age of 5, the ZRRF assist with food supplies,  donations & general maintenance
  • The rebuilding of Sekane community creche, Unhejane Creche. Supported with monthly food supplies, donations and general maintenance.
  • The building & running of 3 crèches in our remaining neighbouring communities
  • The continued assistance to local schools, to date we have installed JoJo tanks, upgraded facilities and planted trees in the Manyoni school.  We plan to do this in all our local community schools,
  • The continued support of the on-going conservation efforts of the MPGR.
  • The incorporation of local community land into the MPGR, with the community as financial beneficiaries.
  • The establishment of reliable water sources and electricity in the neighbouring communities
  • Implementation and assistance of various agricultural initiatives & education
  • Adult education and training, in various fields including wild life management functions

Please assist us in attaining our goal and become part of this important conservation and humanitarian effort.

For further details on the foundation email us on foundation@zululandrhinoreserve.co.za