BY Nikki Bolton

Kariega is a family-owned and operated private game reserve set in 10,000 hectares of pristine African wilderness incorporating the picturesque Kariega and Bushmans rivers. The reserve is conveniently located 10 minutes from Kenton-on-Sea and 80 mintues from Port Elizabeth at the end of South Africa’s Garden Route.

The malaria-free wilderness area is home to the Big 5, as well as hippo, giraffe, multiple species of antelope and an abundance of birdlife. Guests can stay in five lodges and enjoy a variety of land and water-based activities.

Conservation and community programmes are driven by the Kariega Foundation and include an active conservation volunteer programme. The Kariega Field Guide College will launch in 2018.

“As a family owned and operated reserve we are proud to sponsor and

support the conservation awareness efforts of Wayne and the Bolton family.

We too believe that the responsibility to conserve our natural heritage

is in the hands of all people and all generations,”

says co-owner Graeme Rushmere.

Family owned and operated and fully support the #jointcustody message

that the responsibility of our natural heritage is in the hands of all generations.

Visit Kariega's website to find out more...


Highlights of Kariega:
Story of survival of Thandi from poaching in March 2012 and birth of two calves. Highlight how her story inspired ordinary people from around the world to get involved to conserve, protect and spread awareness about the plight of rhino.

How the conservation vision of Kariega’s founder, Colin Rushmere, has been continued by his children and grandchildren and all those in the broader Kariega family.

One of the most accomplished Eastern Cape conservation success stories, including  combining more than 15 farms and re-introducing rhino, elephant, lion and other wildlife.


 “As conservationists and living on a game reserve,

it is an honour to be part of the OLLI expedition. 

United in the fight against rhino poaching!”
Jo Haesslich
Ranger and Kariega Foundation Coordinator

Heading towards Kariega from Kwandwe...


As an ordinary family, planning an expedition like the OLLI Frontier Rhino Ride has its challenges.  While you are intent on your noble goals of spreading awareness, raising funds for conservation, motivating people to step up and get involved and uniting our parks in the spirit of #JointCustody, you still need to get your team from NMB to the Mozambique border over a month.  You never want your goals to become confused with focusing on the personal needs of the team but the reality is that without finances an expedition cannot be accomplished and your goals cannot be achieved.  When we started preparing for the OLLI Frontier Rhino Ride we leapt into the planning without spending too much time approaching team sponsors.  This came back to bite us as the time to depart approached at an alarming rate and bar our own personal income, we had no additional resources for fuel, accommodation and food for a team over a month.  Without a family participating you undermine your message which is that it doesn’t matter what your age, you can make a difference. 

Our family as a unit represents the greater OLLI family which has grown to include many partners and it is significant to us that one of these partners, being Kariega Game Reserve, also represents a family, that being the Rushmere family.  Without the support of Kariega and Lalibela Game Reserve we would not have been able to embark on the Olli Frontier Rhino Ride with confidence knowing that we had the necessary financial support.

What also struck us was that as much as we wanted to support and draw attention to these wonderful game reserves and highlight their conservation efforts and commitment to preserving our natural heritage, they were invested in our cause, shared our vision and were intent on supporting our initiative.  We were blown away by their generosity and encouraged and emboldened by their support.


Prior to leaving on the expedition we had the opportunity to visit Kariega and spend time with Lindy Bruce (nee Rushmere) and Jo Haesslich who introduced us to Thandi, the “incredible poaching survivor and international ambassador for rhino conservation”. Anyone who has experienced a game drive knows never to have expectations and we headed out into Kariega hoping for a sighting but certainly not expecting the wonderful opportunity we had to see her up close to the vehicle along with her offspring Thembi and Colin. Colin named in memory of the founder of Kariega, Colin Rushmere who sadly passed just days before the rhino was born but whose legacy lives on.
How amazing to have personally witnessed this resilient creatures proud and sure bearing. A proud and protective mother, her scarred face a shocking reminder of what man has inflicted on her but also testimony to her personal determination to survive and thrive and man’s determination to, as far as possible, make right what was stolen from her. 

It meant a great deal to the OLLI Team, especially given where we were, that we had the privilege of spending time with Dr Will Fowlds, who in 2012 was called out to Kariega to tend to Thandi’s well-being after the poaching incident. Through ground breaking surgery to repair her face, this magnificent animal defied the odds and is able to live a normal life in the wild. What a wonderful testimony to the power we have to live at peace, to be the guardians of our natural heritage.


On the 4th July, after cycling back along the same route he had cycled the day before from Kwandwe, over the Ecca Pass and past Grahamstown, Wayne headed for Kariega.  Here he was met by an enthusiastic group of staff, volunteers and guests.  Jo Haesslich, Co-ordinator of the Kariega Foundation which is a fund dedicated to the rehabilitation and care of rhino and it funds various anti-poaching initiatives, placed the next ring onto Olli’s horn, while Field Guide Jason Friend signed the Scroll of Unity in Conservation, both symbolic steps which are repeated at each of the game reserves connected along the Frontier Ride’s route, connecting each of the parks in the spirit of #JointCustody.

From Kariega the Olli Team headed out towards Kenton and to Sibuya, a park that shares this beautiful landscape with Kariega.

 July 04, 2017
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Diary of the parks
Nikki Bolton

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