Conservation Contribution

Every Samara guest helps further our conservation vision through the conservation contribution, which directly funds the following projects through Samara's registered public benefit organisation, The Friends of Samara Charitable Trust (930033637).

Rhino & elephant anti-poaching

Your contribution helps to pay for the costs of protecting our rhinos and elephants from the poachers and criminal syndicates that drive the illegal trade in rhino horn and ivory. In 2010, Samara lost a rhino to poaching – not only was her horn hacked off her face but the perpetrators also tore her toenails off to get every last ounce of keratin. Since then, we are proud that not one single rhino has been poached on the reserve, but the threat is ever-present and increasingly sophisticated. We partner with neighbours to fund an Anti-Poaching Unit complete with K9 unit and rapid response team to keep our wildlife safe.

Indicative cost: R500,000 for annual rhino security 

Cheetah conservation

Samara works with the Endangered Wildlife Trust to ensure that the highly endangered cheetah – Africa’s most threatened Big Cat – is given the best chance of survival. As one of South Africa’s most successful cheetah reserves, with high birth and survival rates, Samara contributes to the cheetah meta-population programme by monitoring, researching and periodically translocating cheetahs. This helps to ensure the genetic and demographic integrity of the species and the surplus of cheetah at Samara has led to the establishment of new populations across the country.

Indicative cost: R25,000 for cheetah translocation

Vuyani Safe Haven

Vuyani Safe Haven is a shelter for orphaned and abused children who have been removed from their parents by the courts or social services in Graaff-Reinet. Samara has supported Vuyani since 2010, fundraising for school fees, encouraging our guests to Pack for a Purpose, organising environmental away-days on the reserve and hosting the children’s annual Christmas party. The latter is undoubtedly the highlight of the year for the Vuyani kids, many of whom have never received a Christmas present before.

Indicative cost: R30,000 for annual Christmas party

Ecological restoration with Spekboom

Several hundred years ago, anyone attempting to navigate Samara’s north-facing mountain slopes would have met with impenetrable thickets of Spekboom, an arid-adapted succulent plant that is particularly effective at binding the soil and extracting carbon dioxide from the atmosphere. However, generations of overgrazing have reduced this forest to mere patches. As part of Samara’s rewilding journey, we have undertaken to rehabilitate many of the ancient thickets with a focus on degraded areas vulnerable to soil erosion. This ecological restoration has many benefits, from improving soil quality and water retention to providing habitat for endangered species.

Indicative cost: R6,500 per hectare of Spekboom restoration

Heritage Day Cup

Launched in 2018, Samara’s Heritage Day Cup is an annual sports tournament for the youth of Graaff-Reinet. Spearheaded by Samara assistant manager Anneley Gradwell, its aim is to inspire and motivate young men and women in the local community to help them to overcome the challenges of unemployment and gender-based violence. In 2019 the event included 630 youth playing football and netball, with a grand final awarding the winners prizes including trophies, sports equipment and a braai in Camdeboo National Park.

Indicative cost: R60,000 per event, excluding sponsorship

Climate change adaptation

As global temperature increases interact with historical weather patterns, local climatic conditions in semi-arid areas like the Karoo are visibly changing – and fast. Your contribution enables us to keep up to date with this ‘new normal’, by funding research, commissioning studies and implementing adaptation programmes. In 2019, for instance, we were able to commission a report on the watersheds and water supplies of our valley, for the benefit of the entire catchment area.

And more…

Your conservation contribution also helps us to fund research costs, veterinary fees, ad hoc expenses like helicopter call-outs, fence integrity and maintenance, ongoing wildlife monitoring and wildlife reintroductions, such as our historic lion reintroduction in 2019.

Frequently asked questions

How much is the conservation contribution?

  • The conservation contribution is R300 per person per night
  • South African citizens benefit from a 50% concession, bringing the rate to R150 per person per night
  • The conservation contribution only applies to guests aged 8 and above

Do other reserves charge a conservation contribution?

  • Yes, most reserves, whether public or private, charge a conservation levy of some sort to fund projects similar to the ones outlined above. As a private reserve, Samara does not receive any government assistance and therefore relies on visitors to help fund these projects.

Why is the conservation contribution not included in the rack rate?

  • The conservation contribution is separated from the rack rate to ensure that 100% of proceeds go to the projects outlined above without being subject to any commission and/or other reductions e.g. accommodation specials.

When is the conservation contribution payable?

  • The conservation contribution is payable upfront with your accommodation. Reservations will add the contribution to your invoice.
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