The soft sound of elephant footfalls will once more echo through the sandy lands of the Karoo. A family group of elephants has been translocated from the Kruger National Park to Kuzuko, a contractual area of Addo Elephant National Park. Kuzuko, ‘place of glory’, is a 14,500 hectare reserve on the northern boundary of Addo. This is the first time in 150 years that elephants have roamed the area. The breeding herd will soon be joined by two adult bulls from Addo to increase the genetic diversity.
Kuzuko and South African National Parks (Sanparks) have signed a 100-year partnership contract. Sanparks will supply Kuzuko with game and in return they receive a percentage of the tourism turnover. They have already introduced black rhino, eland, gemsbok, Cape mountain zebra, springbok, black wildebeest and red hartebeest to the area. Cheetah and wild dog will also be reintroduced. Kuzuko has three vegetation types, 850 plant species and 350 bird varieties.
The fences between the reserve and Addo will be removed in the near future. Kuzuko is a public-private partnership, funded by foreign direct investment, intended to create employment in a severely depressed area where unemployment rates are between 50-80 percent. A 48-bed lodge is due to be opened next year, and will be managed and marketed by Legacy Hotels and Resorts International.