Ezemvelo KZNWild | About (2023)

About Ezemvelo KZN Wildlife

Ezemvelo KZN Wildlife’s (Ezemvelo) mandate is derived from the KwaZulu-Natal Nature Conservation Management Act (Act No.9 of 1997), which is to direct the management of nature conservation within the Province including protected areas (PAs). This includes the development and promotion of ecotourism facilities within the PAs.

With its headquarters at Queen Elizabeth Park in Pietermaritzburg, the provincial capital, Ezemvelo manages more than 120 protected areas and is the leader in sustainable biodiversity conservation. It has recently broadened its focus to become more relevant to communities living adjacent to their parks - primarily through job creation and sustainable natural resource harvesting.

Ezemvelo KZN Wildlife - is entrusted with the long-term conservation of the regions rich biodiversity for the people of South Africa. In more than 100 years of formal conservation in the province of KwaZulu-Natal, the various departments and statutory organisations that evolved into today`s KZN Wildlife have received many formal awards and words of praise for the quality of their service to conservation and for the high standard of management of the province's natural resources.

EWorld Class Resorts and Accommodation - Ezemvelo KZN Wildlife Resorts invites you to enjoy the ultimate wildlife experience at our world class resorts. From the heights of the Maloti- Drakensberg Park World Heritage Site, through the tropical savannahs of Zululand where the Big 5 inhabit Hluhluwe Imfolozi Park, and on to the brilliant coral reefs of the Indian Ocean that fringe the lakes and wetlands of the iSimangaliso Wetland Park World Heritage Site.

Our History

Ezemvelo KZN Wildlife is the provincial agency mandated to carry out biodiversity conservation and associated activities in the province of KwaZulu-Natal in the Republic of South Africa. The primary focus of the organisation is biodiversity conservation - the management of more than 120 protected areas which include two World Heritage Sites which are the Maloti-Drakensberg Park World Heritage Site and the Isimangaliso Wetland Park World Heritage Site. The organization also applies provincial nature conservation legislation and its associated regulations. A secondary but nevertheless vital aspect, is the management of one of the largest eco-tourism operation in South Africa. The Ezemvelo KZN Wildlife administration model has been shown to work well whereby the eco-tourism operations provide financial support for conservation operations. These two key elements are backed by various support services divisions which include audit, finance,human resources,projects and IT, amongst others.

The organisation as a whole is the off-spring of a merger between two conservation bodies: the former Natal Parks Board which was formed in 1947 and whose antecedents go back into colonial times; and the former KwaZulu Directorate of Nature Conservation which was formed in 1972 to manage the nature conservation requirements of the "homeland" of KwaZulu. Following the democratic elections in 1994 both organisations negotiated a mutual amalgamation which resulted in the formation of the KwaZulu-Natal Nature Conservation Board with its entire operation conducted as KwaZulu-Natal Conservation Services. al body being Ezemvelo KZN Wildlife. Although the core function is biodiversity conservation, the organization has two other "legs" - these being Commercial Operations and Partnerships. The model on which Ezemvelo KZN Wildlife operates is designed to make the organisation as independent as possible. Although it is a parastatal body receiving a subsidy from the provincial government, it is able to supplement this through its own business operations, generating some 40% of its operating budget. In terms of local economy it has been established that in many instances Ezemvelo is the only employer in certain areas and one salary paid to an employee from a local community can affect between ten and 15 others in a ripple-effect. In this way the organization affects more than 30 000 people in rural areas in a positive economic way.

Biodiversity Conservation

A biodiversity-conservation body should run game reserves, say many people. This is indeed what we do - and more. We are the custodians of the Maloti-Drakensberg Park World Heritage Site, we are the conservation and ecotourism managers in the iSimangaliso Wetland Park, we manage the world famous Hluhluwe-Imfolozi Park genetic home to the southern white rhino and its fantastic story of recovery; we manage Ithala Game Reserve, Weenen Game Reserve and a host of delightful and vital smaller parks and nature reserves. Our District Conservation Officers work amongst communities outside of protected areas ensuring that the conservation legislation of the province is applied and to assist the public with any biodiversity conservation issues they might encounter. Our marine officers act as agents for Marine and Coastal Management, a branch of the national Department of Environment Affairs and apply appropriate marine legislation to protect our dwindling marine resources.

No biodiversity agency can operate without scientific input and Ezemvelo is no exception. Teams of ecologists, both in the protected areas and in regional offices, and our head office, are responsible for providing a scientific basis for management operations through applied research, for applying the requirements of national legislation regarding Environmental Impact Assessments, Integrated Management Plans and much more.

Biodiversity conservation includes conservation of the air we breathe and the water we drink. All life on this planet relies on these two elements. Without either there can be no life. It is thus a vital role of any conservation agency to draw the attention of the people of the world to the need for measures to protect both air and water. At present man is responsible for massive air and water pollution. Proper biodiversity conservation ensures that ecosystems goods and services are available to mankind. These include water, fuel, natural resources for creating housing, household goods and clothing, food and traditional medicines. In KZN alone such natural goods and services are valued at about R151 million. It is estimated that 6 million people in this province alone use traditional remedies – a trade worth R350 million annually and rising. A huge amount of raw material for the creation of natural remedies also makes its way from KZN to the markets in Gauteng and other parts of the country. The value of these natural goods and services pose the question of potential cost to government to replace them should they fail. What would the cost to the State be to provide piped water, reticulated sewerage, housing built of commercially available material, provision of fuel such as paraffin or the provision of electricity to rural areas? To manage and protect this vast natural investment Ezemvelo KZN Wildlife receives a subsidy of R350 million per annum.

Biodiversity conservation also provides the attraction of protected natural areas that draw tourists not only locally but from all over the world. The vast majority of tourists to South Africa are drawn by the allure of the game reserves – but they also pay for accommodation and service en route. In this way the effect of our game reserves is spread throughout the country

Eco - Tourism

Ezemvelo manages one of the largest eco-tourism operations in South Africa. We offer 2 500 beds per night in a wide range of different accommodation types, and we offer camping accommodation to over 10 000 people per night. Diversity is a key word in describing our operations - be it conservation or eco-tourism. Our overnight visitor facilities range from a cave in the Maloti-DrakensbergPark through open campsites, self catering rondavels, chalets, safari tents, to cottages and luxury lodges. Certain of the larger resorts - Didima, Giant’s Castle and Hilltop in the Hluhluwe-Imfolozi Park and Ntshondwe in Ithala Game Reserve also offer a restaurant. This diversity offers something to suit all pockets.

Depending on the sort of wildlife experience our visitors want they can choose from a variety of facilities in one of the 65 protected areas that offer overnight accommodation. Not all of our more than 120 protected areas offer accommodation as some are quite small. Ezemvelo KZN Wildlife offers many unique and wonderful experiences for its visitors - these include guided walks, overnight Wilderness Trails in Imfolozi, access to ancient San rock-art, close-up encounters with crocodiles at the St Lucia Crocodile Centre, peace and solitude in the Drakensberg, unparalleled scenery and vistas and superb game viewing from the comfort of your own car or in a guided open vehicle tour.


We have dedicated Community Conservation Officers and their staff who work amongst rural communities assisting and teaching good biodiversity conservation practice and a lot more. A levy on each tourist paying to enter a protected area provides funding for community projects which are financed through the carefully administered Community Levy Fund. An active Projects Section negotiates funding from major national and international sources. This too is tightly managed. An exciting new initiative is the Ezemvelo KZN Wildlife Biodiversity Stewardship programme in which we enter into partnerships with private landowners in order to protect valuable biodiversity assets that occur on that private land. To date five new nature reserves have been created under the Stewardship Programme. Another active partnership programme is the WWF Black Rhino Range Expansion Project which seeks to spread the endangered black rhino to selected groupings of appropriate private land in KZN. To date five conservancies of about 20 000ha have been formed and have been stocked with founder populations of this iconic animal.

Protected Areas

For administrative reasons Ezemvelo KZN Wildlife recognizes two regions – these being the West and East Regions.

West Region

The core of this region is the 260 000ha Maloti-Drakensberg Park World Heritage Site. This is one of 27 World Heritage Sites to be inscribed for both natural and cultural attributes. The natural aspect recognizes the outstanding scenic beauty of the Park, a unique aspect being that it is a scarp range. The cultural aspect recognizes the unique San rock-art which is such a feature of the Park which is in effect a massive outdoor art gallery housing some 40 000 rock-art images in an estimated 600 different sites. One of these is the Game Passs helter near Kamberg which is recognized as the "Rosetta Stone" of San rock-art in that it holds the key to interpreting the meaning of much rock-art symbolism. The Park is one of the major water-producing areas of South Africa with rivers rising within its boundaries feeding all the major urban and rural areas of KZN. In addition, through the Tugela-Vaal System, water from the Drakensberg is diverted to Gauteng. 12 different game of nature reserves and State Forest areas were amalgamated into the Park which now forms a continuous and rich mosaic of protected areas. A great many small nature reserves lie within this region, all of which hold some unique attraction for the visitor.

EAST Region

Zululand traditionally is big game Country and this region holds the famous Hluhluwe-iMfolozi Park– genetic home of every white rhino population in the world, Ndumo Game Reserve, Tembe Elephant Park(currently home to an elephant with the largest tusks in South Africa) and diverse Ithala Game Reserve. Many other smaller protected areas can be found within this region.

Coastal Region

The gem in this region is the iSimangaliso Wetland Park World Heritage Site. This park is managed by the Wetland Authority but Ezemvelo manages the ecotourism operations as well as biodiversity conservation on an agency basis within the Park. Other protected areas falling within this region are (amongst others) the Umlalazi Nature Reserve at Mtunzini, the Beachwood Mangrove and Stainbank Nature Reserves in Durban as well as Mpenjati and Oribi Gorge Nature Reserves to the south of Durban.

A visit to the Ezemvelo website confirms that Ezemvelo is an extremely multi-facetted and diverse organization just as the protected areas and the various species in them are diverse. The various protected areas in the KZN parks system are well worth a visit and it is seemly to keep in mind the hidden benefits of maintaining these parks for the benefit of the present and future generations


“To ensure effective conservation and sustainable use of KwaZulu Natal’s biodiversity in collaboration with stakeholders for the benefit of present and future generations”


“To be a world renowned leader in the field of biodiversity conservation”

Core Values

Passion – We shall be passionate in what we do.
Respect – We shall perform our duties in a professional, ethical manner.
Trust – We shall act transparently, with integrity and honesty in all we do.
Innovation– We shall embrace a culture of learning, adaptation and creativity at all times.
Excellence – We shall strive to apply best practices to achieve the highest quality and standards at all times.

Ezemvelo KZN Wildlife Board

The KwaZulu-Natal Nature Conservation Board - “the Board” - is a Schedule 3C public entity reporting to the KZN Department of Economic Development, Tourism and Environmental Affairs. The Board is the Accounting Authority.

The mandate of the Board is derived from the KwaZulu–Natal Conservation Management Act (No. 9 of 1997) read in conjunction with the Public Finance Management Act (No. 1 of 1999)

The same act created the KwaZulu–Natal Nature Conservation Service - “the Service” - which is the infrastructural entity required to support the Board members in carrying out their mandate. For trading and branding purposes the name Ezemvelo KZN Wildlife (Ezemvelo) was registered as a trademark, and has become the brand name of the organization.

Board Members

  • Ms Lydia Johnson (Chairperson)
  • Iain C Ewing (Deputy Chairperson)
  • Inkosi Mxolisi Buhlebezwe Wilson Xolo
  • Andrew Robert Muir
  • Siyabonga Mkhize
  • Olivia Symcox
  • Njabulo Maxwell Mtolo>
  • Nomdeni Xolile Banda
  • Tallman Lindizwe Sibiya
  • Logie Naidoo
  • Zethu Qunta/li>

    In line with its statutory mandate the board is responsible for:

    The management of nature conservation within the Province of KwaZulu – Natal both inside and outside the protected areas and;
    The development and promotion of ecotourism facilities within the protected areas.

    In addition to the above, the Board is also guided by the recommendation of the King Report on Corporate Governance.

    The duties and objectives of the board are:

  • To provide strategic leadership;

  • To monitor the operational performance of management;

  • To protect the organisation’s financial position;

  • To ensure that the organization adheres to high standards of ethics and corporate behaviour;

  • To review and adopt the appropriate risk management and regulatory compliance policies;

  • To set policies, standards and objectives and ensure implementation by the Executive Management Committee.

  • We hope to gain a lot of expertise and experience from them and their valued inputs to the operations of Ezemvelo KZN Wildlife.
  • Executive Committee (EXCO)

    The Executive Committee (EXCO), under the leadership of the Chief Executive Officer, consists of the Managing executive Human Resources,General Manager: Strategy,Managing Executive-Ecotourism Services , Managing Executive-Biodiversity Conservation,Managing Executive-Corporate Support Services, Managing Executive-Internal Audit and the Chief Financial Officer. It is through EXCO that the business of the Board is driven. EXCO develops strategy, refines it and delivers in a way to ensure implementation and achievement of business plans. EXCO ensures best practice implementation throughout the organisation and supports the board by;

  • Leading the business clusters of the organization in accordance with organizational strategy and objectives;

  • Establishing, coordinating and maintaining clear directives in terms of strategy, standards, guidelines, policies and procedures; Ensuring attainment of business plans, performance targets and monitoring and evaluation of deliverables;

  • Exercising appropriate governance principles and quality assurance activities to identify and mitigate operational risk;

  • Ensuring effective integration, consultation and communication of inputs across business units, business partners and service providers.

  • The EXCO is structured in clusters as follows, The Administration Cluster, Biodiversity Conservation Cluster, Eco-Tourism Cluster and Corporate Support Service Cluster.

    Administration Cluster

    Administration includes operations that report directly to the Chief Executive Officer, in consultation with the Accounting Authority (Ezemvelo Board) and the Executive Committee, administration ensures efficient implementation of the visionary framework and the achievement of the strategic plan and goals.

    Biodiversity Conservation Cluster

    The Biodiversity Conservation Cluster is responsible for : Biodiversity Management and Scientific Services. It ensures that implementation of conservation activities takes place within the framework of the organisational strategy, legislative prescripts and international conventions.

    Eco-Tourism Cluster

    The Eco-Tourism Cluster raises revenue and generates profits by leveraging ecotourism strengths without compromising either environmental integrity or the biodiversity responsibility of the organisation. The cluster generates revenue from accommodation at the camps, concessions, guest activities in protected areas, resale of facilities, natural resource trade and permits. This Cluster is also responsible for business development which includes marketing and advertising, public/private partnerships and socio-economic contributions in the form of leases, joint ventures, outsourcing and collection of community levy funds.

    Corporate Support Services Cluster

    The Corporate Services Cluster provides the support function to the core business units. This cluster comprises of Human Resources, Technical Services, Information Technology and Legal Services. These functions are performed according to the cluster service model which are based on the Total Quality Management system.

    Ezemvelo Strategy

    These are the Strategic Objectives which were reviewed and adopted by the Ezemvelo Board for 2015 – 2020. These objective are aligned with the Republic of South Africa government priorities.

  • To conserve indigenous biodiversity in KwaZulu - Natal both within and outside of protected areas.

  • To be a sustainable, well resourced and capacitated biodiversity conservation and ecotourism organisation

  • To foster the value of biodiversity conservation with stakeholders

  • To be efficient, effective and compliant organisation with good governance

  • To effectively promote the mandate of the organisation to stakeholders

  • Strategic Plan 2015 - 2020 CLICK HERE
    Annual Performance Plan CLICK HERE
    Ezemvelo’s Annual Performance Plan for the 2016/17 financial year. CLICK HERE
    Ezemvelo’s Annual Performance Plan for the 2017/18 financial year CLICK HERE
    Ezemvelo’s Annual Performance Plan for the 2018/19 financial year CLICK HERE

    The Law

    National Environmental Management: Biodiversity Act, No. 10 of 2004
    National Environmental Management: Protected Areas Act, No. 57 0f 2004
    Ordinance 15 of 1974
    Access to Information Manual

    These documents are in PDF format and you require 'Adobe Acrobat Reader' to open them. These documents it may take a couple of minutes download they are 2megs each.

    Nature Conservation Law In KwaZulu-Natal

    The KwaZulu-Natal Nature Conservation Board is established as a juristic entity in terms of the KwaZulu-Natal Nature Conservation Management Act,(Act 9 of 1997) and has as its primary functions the management of nature conservation, not only within the protected areas but within the Province of KwaZulu-Natal. The Board is also charged to direct the development and promotion of ecotourism facilities within the protected areas.

    The KwaZulu-Natal Nature Conservation Service (KZN Wildlife) is likewise established in terms of the above Act and essentially comprises the staff compliment of the Nature Conservation authority in KwaZulu-Natal. KZN Wildlife therefore carries out the day to day operation of the nature conservation in KwaZulu-Natal and as such is accountable to the Board. The above Act is essentially enabling Legislation creating the legal structures necessary to carry out the above mentioned functions.

    Although the KwaZulu-Natal Nature Conservation Amendment Act, which prescribes the law relating to the protection of flora and fauna, has been passed, until such time as regulations necessary to supplement the Amendment Act are finalised the Amendment Act will not be enacted and the law enforcement provisions are still dealt with by the remaining sections of the Natal Nature Conservation Ordinance 15 of 1974 and the KwaZulu Nature Conservation Act, 1992. Once the Amendment Act is put into operation the above mentioned Ordinance and the KwaZulu Nature Conservation Act, 1992 will be entirely repealed.

    The Amendment Act schedules specially protected indigenous animals and plants and provides certain legal protections for the scheduled species so as to assist Conservation officials in the protection of Biodiversity. It also deals with professional hunting and non indigenous species and sets out a system of permitting for certain activities. The Amendment Act also designates the powers of KZN Wildlife officials and provides for the appointment of Honourary Officers who provide their services free of charge. The Amendment Act also specifies categories of protected areas and provides a mechanism for the proclamation and de-proclamation of protected areas.

    Apart from the above law enforcement provisions KZN Wildlife is also affiliated to CITES and as such grants permits for the export and import of CITES listed species to and from the Province.

    MEC Speeches

    MEC - Nomusa Dube Ncube


    BUDGET POLICY SPEECH 2019 - 2020

    Do you know of any foul play in Ezemvelo

    In an effort to stamp out unethical behaviour, Ezemvelo has secured the services of Whistle Blowers (Pty) Ltd, an independent information gathering company, whom employees of Ezemvelo, its suppliers and customers, can report unethical behaviour, without fear of victimisation.

    We would like to remind you that whistleblowers have a right to remain anonymous. We NEVER divulge the identity of a whistleblowers, even if their identity is know to us due a trust relationship developing between our operators and whistleblowers.

    Reports can be submitted by fax, email, SMS or online from our website www. Whistleblowing.co.za. However, the most favoured whistleblowing mechanism is our call centre, manned by multilingual operators, trained to gather information and compile reports.

    Ezemvelo has also shown a determination to provide for a safe reporting whistleblowing mechanism, suppliers and customers by insisting that all reports are dealt with at the highest level. Reports are forwarded to designated individuals within the company for investigation.

    Furthermore, the Protected Disclosures Act, Act 26 of 2000, makes provision of employees to report unlawful or irregular conduct by employers and fellow employees, while providing for protection of employees who blow the whistle on such unethical behaviour.

    How to blow the whistle

    Dial the Ezemvelo dedicated toll free number:

    Dial the Ezemvelo dedicated toll free number:

    Ezemvelo KZNWild | About (1)

    Provide the operator with as many details as possible regarding the unethical behaviour or issue you are reporting:

    Ezemvelo KZNWild | About (2)

    The operator will provide you with a reference number, which you will need to recall for future follow-up calls.

    Your identity will be kept a secret!

    Please assist Ezemvelo in our endeavour to eliminate any dishonest and unethical practices

    Ezemvelo KZNWild | About (3)


    Ezemvelo is sensitive to the needs of people with disabilities and in all of its recent developments has designed certain of its facilities so that they are accessible to all users. The needs of people with disabilities has not always been well catered for and many of the older Ezemvelo camps are not suitable for people in wheelchairs because of the terrain and consequent multiple levels of building. Despite this, alterations have been made where ever possible and details are listed under vital information.

    Facilities for people with disabilities have been included in the new camps at Ithala and Hluhluwe and both Ntshondwe and Hilltop have special facilities and access to the main buildings and a range of accommodation units. There is also a special cottage in the camp at Midmar which is fully equiped for people with disabilities.

    The Resorts like the Giants Castle were extensively up graded and a unit with a full range of facilities for people with disabilities was added to the camp. There is also wheelchair access to the restaurant and bar.The new Didima Camp at Cathedral Peak has designed facilities for people with disabilities in the main buildings as well as in a range of accommodation units.

    Corporate Social Responsibility

    Ezemvelo is very sensitive to the local communities which are neighbouring protected areas, this is based on the simple rationale that nature conservation takes place within these communities and nowhere else. With the addition of the rural development mandate this has made us to further strengthen our involvement in local communities. We have for many years implemented local community forums as a very important point of contact for ensuring that we advance our core business.

    The nature conservation policy and strategy has involved the development of interactions and partnerships through which Ezemvelo and communities engage in co-defining and realizing nature conservation value and opportunities.Over the past 10 years, community conservation programmes have expanded exponentially, with conservation managers and local communities initiating and supporting an enormous variety of programmes, involving resource use, community development, biodiversity education and tourism partnerships. South Africa's transition to democracy and the removal of the imbalances of the past has given further impetus to programmes which concern parks and people. In particular, a primary thrust of government policy is to democratize the state and society, and involve people in decisions which affect their everyday lives. The development of a new law establishing Ezemvelo KZN Wildlife in 1997 offered an opportunity to strengthen the relationships between parks and people as such the concept of statutory Local Boards for protected areas was introduced.

    The Local Boards are appointed by the Minister of Economic Development,Tourism and Environmental Affairs after a public participation process, the objectives of the Local Boards are to promote local decision making regarding the management of nature conservation and heritage resources within protected areas as well as to promote the integration of the activities of the protected area into that of the surrounding area. The powers of these forums are prescribed by the policies, norms and standards determined by the KwaZulu - Natal Nature Conservation Board which is responsible for biodiversity conservation throughout KwaZulu - Natal within and outside protected areas.

    Another important aspect of the Local Boards is to influence decision making through their powers to compile and monitor the implementation of management plans for protected areas. These management plans must amongst other things promote the development needs of the people living in or adjacent to the protected areas, regularly liaise on behalf of the communities on issues pertaining to land reform with the department of rural development and land affairs, promote educational programmes, and determine local policies including resource management and zonation, the development of ecotourism and scientific research.

    Community Levy Fund Programme, established in 1998 with the overall aim of strengthening community participation in Ezemvelo programmes as well as adding value to the communities living adjacent to the protected areas by giving them benefit directly from tourism activities. When visitors come to our establishments they pay a portion of their spending to a community levy which is collected to fund community driven initiatives. Over the years this fund has grown and funded a number of community initiatives which range from building additional classrooms at needy schools, to the establishment of crèches, construction of community halls, economic generation initiatives on behalf of the communities. The most recent being the Nselweni Bush Camp which is located at Hluhluwe- Imfolozi Park wholly belonging to 10 traditional authorities living adjacent to the Hluhluwe-Imfolozi Park.

    The Local Boards play an important role in ensuring that the community needs are best addressed through this programme. They hold public participation meetings which help facilitate the applications process to access these funds and liaise with relevant communities to ensure that the end result is agreed to by the communities concerned. The introduction of these forums will undoubtedly contribute to greater social equity and sustainability for protected areas.

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