Owning & Running a Game Reserve


Game reserves are an interesting business model to be involved with. Generally speaking these hunting and farm reserves are owned as joint-ventures, with one element supporting the other. The game animals are used to farm for meats, skins, culling and, of course, tourist activities. The culling is mostly combined with the sport of hunting. There are spin off benefits associated with owning a game reserve, notably coming in the form of photography and video.

Finding Suitable Land

Once you have found what you believe to be a suitable volume of land, you will need to make understanding that there is sufficient space available for buildings. Visitor facilities and game operations are just two of the important factors that need to be considered at this point in time. You will also want to have some conversations with the District Municipality to establish that there is adequate road access, power and water at this potential new location.

Parking is a sensible concern too. You will need to ensure that visitors who arrive under their own steam have places to park. In addition, you will also need to consider how tour buses are going to have access and where their parking spot might be.

Key Business Requirements

Here is an outline of some of the most important business considerations:

  • Accommodation
  • Hunting Vehicles
  • Wildlife Management
  • Slaughtering Facility
  • Trophy Processing

When it comes to game reserve accommodation you will need to be thinking about the price point of the guests. Safari lodges are predominantly found in South and East African countries and provide their visitors with an excellent opportunity to rest up after long big game days.

Likely Affiliations

Essentially there are two different organizations that you will be affiliated to:

  • CHASA
  • PHASA

Confederation of Amateur Hunter’s Association (CHASA) is a federation consisting of more than 25 hunting and shooting affiliates. The main goal of CHASA is to represent the hunter in their right to securing the freedom to hunt. Strong leadership and the promotion of sustainable and ethical hunting practices are some of the most relevant factors that continually ensure that CHASA is seen as a hugely relevant organization.

The Professional Hunters Association of South Africa (PHASA) is committed to assist the professional hunter by providing the most relevant information. Their goal is to participate and promote the conservation of South Africa’s natural resources, amongst other things they also aim to develop cooperation and a common fellowship between hunters.

Legal Requirements

As you might expect, there are a great many legislative boxes that must be ticked along the way to opening your own big game reserve. Failing to understand these will likely cause major issues as well as place a huge strain on your finances. Registration, licensing and permits should be close to the top of your “to do list”, as without these your new business is very likely to fail.

A permit will allow either the business owner or professional hunters to work the land as required. Generally, permits of these types are available without cost, but are an important factors that should never be overlooked.

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