Mokolodi Nature Reserve

Introduction

The Mokolodi Wildlife Foundation was formed in 1991 with the aim of promoting wildlife conservation and environmental education for the children of Botswana. The first project of the Foundation was the creation of the Mokolodi Nature Reserve in 1994 on 30 square km of donated land outside Gaborone, the capital of Botswana. In addition to naturally-occurring animal species such as warthogs, steenbok, kudu and a variety of snakes, several species have been re-introduced e.g. zebra, giraffe, eland, ostrich, hippos and rhinos.

In a short time the Reserve, with the financial and moral support of the local and international business community, has built itself up to be a nationally recognised educational, conservation and tourist facility. The Reserve is now not only home to a diversity of flora and fauna, but also houses one of two wild animal orphanages in Botswana. Mokolodi, through its White Rhino relocation programme, led the re-introduction of White Rhino in the Okavango area (northern part of Botswana). Following this, more white rhino have since been relocated in that area.

It has the country's only Wild Cheetah Transit Station for the relocation of "problem" cheetahs brought in by ranchers, and four young, orphaned African elephants who are being raised as a joint venture with the Serendib Elephant Orphanage.

These and other wildlife and nature conservation projects on the Reserve are utilised in formulating a comprehensive environmental education programme for thousands of school children, from various educational levels, who pass through the Education Centre each year.The Education Centre is equipped with sleeping accommodation and facilities for up to 80 children at a time. Well qualified staff use the "outdoor classroom" to instill a love of nature, and a sense of ownership of Botswana's national treasures in local children. The Grey Water Recycling project, the Permaculture Garden, and the Wild Animal Sanctuary form a part of this programme.

The philosophy behind Mokolodi Nature Reserve is that income from tourism and the sustainable use of wildlife and natural resources is used to subsidise the conservation projects and the environmental education programme. After an initial struggle, this is being achieved, and Mokolodi now covers its recurrent costs, employing over 70 people whereas previously, as a cattle ranch, the land employed only 9 people. The majority of the employees are residents of the neighbouring Mokolodi village. As a result of this intimate relationship with the village, the local community has a strong sense of ownership over the Reserve. The Reserve is actively involved in developing community facilities, while improving the standard of living for all the residents of Mokolodi. The Ditshwene Traditional Dance Troupe, made up of family members of Mokolodi employees, is a self-formed group of youngsters who perform at specific Reserve activities. They are paid for their performances and the money they make is collected and directed towards furthering their education. Mokolodi Nature Reserve is therefore a most interesting project, involving education, conservation, tourism and rural community interaction all in one.

The abundance of wildlife and the peace and tranquility of Mokolodi makes the park an ideal holiday destination for those who want a vacation with a difference. Four chalets located close to a water hole provide a perfect holiday haven.


From Emily Stinson

I am a high student in the U.S. I wanted to let you know that I think what you are doing is absolutely amazing. As of right now, I do not have the resources to be able to cross the world to volunteer at the Mokolodi Nature Reserve, but I do have my heart set on coming to Africa and helping out an a nature reserve in the near future.
Since I am not able to offer my help to your program, I just wanted to let you know that I am offering up my prayers and deep thanks for your organization. Since I have started my research, I have come across many organizations like this, but this one truly touches my heart.
Thanks so much for your efforts to help conserve the animals of Africa. Ya'll are amazing people.
If you could keep in correspondence with me, I would be greatly obliged.