Dinokeng a ‘Africa in one day’ success story

One of the displays during the Meetings Dinokeng Showcase event last week. Oupa Mokoena / Independent Newspapers

One of the displays during the Meetings Dinokeng Showcase event last week. Oupa Mokoena / Independent Newspapers

Published Mar 18, 2024


More than 20 years ago a unique vision was born - for landowners in Dinokeng, north of Pretoria, to drop their fences and create one game reserve sporting the Big Five. Today, it's an “Africa in one day” success story.

Not only had Dinokeng Game Reserve created thousands of jobs for especially the community of Hammanskraal, where the reserve is located, but it has also placed South Africa on the international map and has been at the forefront of nature conservation.

Since the opening of the reserve in 2011, it has made strides in offering guests Big Five game sightings.

While the Dinokeng Game Reserve has been well established since its inception, there are many more to come, Hartogh Streicher, Dinokeng management association chairman promised.

Last week saw this year’s Meetings Dinokeng Showcase event, which is a trade and networking platform that is meant to create awareness of the tourism trade.

The two-day event was attended by various stakeholders in the tourism industry, lodge owners in the area as well as local residents with an interest in Dinokeng.

A ‘resident’ of Dinokeng Game Reserve taking a stroll. Oupa Mokoena / Independent Newspapers

The game reserve only forms part of a portion of Dinokeng, which encompasses Cullinan, Roodeplaat and other surrounding areas.

During the opening of the event, Streicher commented that nowhere in the world did people dream of starting a Big Five reserve within the boundaries of a major city.

“What we are witnessing here is the proof that what was once regarded as impossible – is now a fact. The Dinokeng Game Reserve exists because of people that had the foresight to start a project, to persevere and to work towards their dream.”

An idea born by the Blue IQ project, was nurtured by Dinokeng Projects and fed by more than 200 landowners to become this beautiful young and “wild child”.

“This child, born from the vision, hope and dreams of a few, today belongs to the village of Hammanskraal, the village of Tshwane,” Streicher said.

He urged people to help nurture and grow Dinokeng Game Reserve into the best reserve it can be.

There are about 80 privately-owned lodges within the about 20 000 hectare area of the game reserve. These lodges employ between 800 and 1000 local staff depending on the season.

Streicher said part of their master plan is that Dinokeng Game Reserve should grow to more than 40 000 hectares.

“This plan must be reached within the next 10 years. If this 13-year-old child can already create a thousand jobs, what can a 20 and 30 year old provide?” Streicher said.

He added that Dinokeng Game Reserve is a one-of-a-kind project that might well become the future of re-wilding urban spaces into protected areas, ensuring that we create more sustainable ecological systems.

Tshwane is the only city in the world hosting a Big Five game reserve within its city boundaries. This gives millions of Gauteng residents the unique opportunity to visit a game reserve within a short drive from almost anywhere in Gauteng.

In a recent study on international visitors, it was noted that the two most noted items on visitors’ itineraries were Table Mountain and the Big Five.

South Africa is renowned for its animals and with the co-operation of landowners and the Department of Economic Development (through Dinokeng Projects), these magnificent animals are now only an hour from Oliver Tambo International Airport and 40 minutes from Pretoria. This enables tourists to start or end their African experience with a glimpse of these unique animals.

The locally born and raised conservation dreams are expanding its wings and it is now also offering an activity hub, situated at one of the oldest lodges in the area, Kwalata.

A “green hop-on-hop off” bus experience where tourists can visit various attractions in the area, have meals at the various restaurants or go on local gin tasting excursions, is one of the latest additions to visiting this game reserve.

The activity hub was opened last week, from where tourists can now not only book excursions within Dinokeng, but also book other outings, such as to Soweto, Cullinan and to the Cradle of HumanKind near Krugersdorp.

Soon to come is "Dinokeng Safari Gin” - crafted by the distillery Ginologist. It stands as a testament to the harmony between nature and craft, embodying the spirit of conservation through every sip.

Crafted with meticulous care, this gin also supports the noble cause of rhino conservation in Dinokeng Game Reserve. Each bottle serves as a beacon of hope for the preservation of endangered species, as the distillers are closely invested in conservation.

The gin will be launched soon and is not yet available for sale.

Pretoria News

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