The annual Honorary Ranger (Ranger Support Services) Sunset Serenades were held in the Kruger National Park's (KNP) Letaba Rest camp in 2010. The first Serenade was held from September 8 to 12 with the second from September 29 to October 3.
These functions welcomed back old friends and long time supporters of the Sunset Serenade as well as Mazda Wildlife, as main sponsors of the first function. Guests to each of the functions were whisked away to designated sites within the section in the camp's open game viewing vehicles.
At each site they were greeted with spectacular views of the KNP bushveld as well as refreshments like wine and amarula, sponsored by Amarula Lapa. The guests enjoyed classical music concerts, specially compiled for each evening, performed by six musicians from the Johannesburg Philharmonic Orchestra, all of whom are considered experts in their chosen genre.
The music included pieces from well-known composers such as Bach, Handel, Mozart and Strauss. The guests were truly spoilt with the natural sunsets forming a spectacular backdrop to the concerts. The Sunset Serenade is a fundraising event for the Ranger Support Services division of the Honorary Rangers (HR). Funds raised in this manner are channeled back into the South African National Parks rangers' corps.
This year saw the launch of the "own the night" campaign in which the Ranger Support Services are seeking to provide much needed night vision equipment as well as a helicopter with night flight equipment to help fight the upsurge in rhino poaching that is plaguing South Africa at present.
All funds received from this event will go into buying this equipment. It takes many sponsors and organizers to make an event like this a success. One of the main sponsors to the first event, Mazda Wildlife Fund, came on board as sponsors a few years ago and their dedication and involvement continues to grow.
Mazda Wildlife presented John Turner, chairperson of the Ranger Support Services, with a cheque of R100 000 for the HR in support of their endeavors within SANParks as well as donating a brand new 4x4 bakkie to the cause for future fundraising efforts.
Desert Wolf followed with the sponsorship of a camping trailer described as a 'town house on wheels' to the value of R250 000. Both functions received sponsorship from Distell in the form of Amarula product for the guests as well items for gifts and raffling.
The second function saw the donation of an oil painting from well known artist Maré Bruwer which was sold at a nail biting silent auction, all funds going towards anti-poaching in SANParks. Thanks must be conveyed for this function to all the sponsors, Mazda Wildlife Fund; Amarula; Aquartz, RR Travel, Classic FM, Tabard and Memorex.
Thanks are also given to the management and staff of the Letaba Rest Camp and people and conservation department, the regional ranger Nxanatseni South.
The section rangers of the Letaba, Phalaborwa and Kingfisherspruit, for their assistance in other aspects of the function, the Letaba field rangers who ensured the safety of the guests at the concerts site. And lastly to the HR who work tirelessly for the benefit