We’re striving to conserve the biodiversity, ecological integrity, landscape characteristics and cultural resources of Kaingo Game Reserve for future generations. As custodians of nature for the next generation we have an opportunity and thus responsibility to make a significant contribution to the protection of the Waterberg.

Kaingo Conservation Goals




We have adopted a holistic approach, laying the groundwork for long-term ecological and economic viability, and creating a model of conservation supported by ecotourism.

Kaingo represents an opportunity to explore not just a landscape, but a new model of conservation. Kaingo’ s solid conservation ethic coupled with a very limited lodge footprint sets it apart from high traffic reserves where there is an ever-increasing conflict between conservation and economic objectives.

The high capital and operational costs associated with setting up and running a game reserve in most cases hampers the private sector to deliver on the opportunity of being real custodians of nature. This due to the dependence upon securing an acceptable financial return in the immediate to short-term. Similarly, a budget and capacity constrained public sector is playing an ever-smaller nature custodian role.

The most frequent approach to achieve a private sector return is through the development of a high-margin, low-volume recreational tourism product, the success of which is generally dependant on the quality of game viewing on offer. Similarly, in government owned reserves the need for increased concession income results in a high density of luxury lodge operators on the same reserve. Consequently, biodiversity objectives are frequently compromised in order to satisfy short-term game viewing demands, especially as it relates to the Big Five. Inappropriate management practices to support the unnaturally high game viewing demands have resulted in severe habitat deterioration in numerous reserves, across the country. This trend has been greatly exacerbated by the increasingly competitive nature of the game lodge industry, and the apparent conflict between the economy and ecology of ecotourism threatens to undermine its promise as a sustainable land-use practice for private conservation areas.

This conflict almost certainly represents the single biggest challenge facing conservation in South Africa. Additionally, the challenges faced in managing the ever-growing number of elephants have resulted in severe habitat deterioration in numerous reserves, across the country.

Kaingo is a labour of love for the family, who took responsibility for this remarkable reserve in 2010. As a benefactor of its owner’s conservation objective Kaingo does not rely directly on tourism income for its financial security, and this means that the reserve’s strategic planning is not vulnerable to the volatile market conditions that characterize this industry. This fortuitous position provides Kaingo with an opportunity to take a longer-term approach to ensure the ecological integrity of the reserve going forward and to ensure that the associated tourism product retains its vitality and competitiveness well into the future. Delivery on this opportunity, however, requires a clear conservation centric management approach for the reserve.

Kaingo is proudly a ‘conservation first’ reserve where we employ ethical management practices and sound conservation principles. To balance the ecological integrity of the large natural landscape that encompasses all eco types that the Waterberg offer, the wellbeing of the animals throughout the year, and still to be able to offer a well-balanced and natural eco-experience for our visitors, the reserves’ wildlife stocking rate is carefully monitored and sustained in a natural way.

Kaingo is a 16 400 hectare (41 000 acre) private game reserve in the Waterberg District, of the Limpopo Province of South Africa. A pleasant 2.5-hour drive from Johannesburg, makes Kaingo one of the most accessible premier malaria free big game reserves in the country. It is a declared protected area with Critical Biodiversity 1 classification and a core area of the Waterberg Biosphere Reserve, which was officially declared by UNESCO in 2001. 


As a declared Nature Reserve with the primary objective of Natural Resource Conservation the Reserve is run along pure, sustainable management and development principles, with an exceptionally low development and tourist footprint. Kaingo Reserve Foundation, a non-profit public benefit organisation is the appointed management authority of the reserve.  


The Mokolo River, meaning “deep and silent” or “large flow” in the Tswana language, threads its way along its’ thirteen-kilometre route through the reserve. The mighty river has left behind massive cliffs, sandy beaches, natural causeways, potholes and waterfalls, all surrounded by breath-taking beauty. The Reserve offers large unspoilt wilderness areas with rolling wooded mountains cut by deep rocky ravines. Here you can experience the best of the Waterberg in its original state, an evocative piece of Africa. Kaingo aptly meaning ‘place of the leopard’, is a place of rare and rugged wilderness beauty, abundant wildlife and prolific birdlife.


Kaingo is home to over 50 different mammals, including the Big Five. It is home to several endangered and rare species too, such as Cheetah, Tessebe, Brown hyena and Pangolin. Several nocturnal species can best be seen at night including Aardvark, Serval, Bush baby and African wild cat.


The grassy plains and savanna abound with animals such as giraffe, zebra, wildebeest, and impala. It is the diversity of habitat on the reserve that encourages such a wide range of wildlife as well as over 250 bird species, including rare species such as African finfoot and Narina trogon.


Kaingo protects a unique and special environment and the reserve’s owners, and management is deeply committed to conservation and research. It is one of the few reserves where the full tourism income goes towards positive conservation. Every visiting guest directly supports the reserve’s primary objective of conservation.


Rich in human history there is also an array of rock art sites on Kaingo. With hundreds of images spread across 15 sites, Kaingo offers the biggest variety of rock art and archaeological finds dating to the Stone Age.


Kaingo offers the discerning visitor something completely different and the best of the Waterberg. This is mountain bush-veld with rivers running through it and sweeping views to far horizons. The reserve’s varying seasonal beauty, temperate climate and malaria free status makes it worth a visit all year round. Kaingo is certainly one of the finest places to participate in conservation, watch wildlife, experience the best of the Waterberg wilderness and touch the spirit of true Africa.


The Kaingo ecotourism model recognises that the people of the Waterberg are an integral part of the ecosystem, and crucial to solving the conservation challenges we all face. Supporting a viable ecotourism business lets us create upskilling and employment opportunities for people from our closest settlements and provide them with meaningful careers.