The Absa Kirkwood Wildlife Conference and Festival in South Africa promotes wildlife conservation and attracts tens of thousands of visitors.
From Peter Myles, tourism specialist and IUCN WCPA member
The Kirkwood Wildlife Festival started from humble beginning in 2002 with a budget of R2000 and the backing of the local Round Table. Its theme was based on conservation and the natural biodiversity of the fertile Sundays River Valley, which is also an established game mecca in South Africa. By 2010, the festival ranked amongst the top six festivals in the country.
Visitors and artists alike credit the festival as being one of the best in South Africa with good organization, and a safe environment set against the picturesque backdrop of the Rietberg mountain. The festival also hosts the second-largest game auction in the country and boasts a catalogue of prime game for ardent buyers.
The Kirkwood Wildlife Festival is one of South Africa’s premier showcases for promoting wildlife conservation. In 2010, some 38,000 people attended the festival at which the annual Kirkwood Wildlife auction generated a turnover of R11.8 million. A buffalo cow and her heifer calf from the Addo Elephant National Park went for the highest price at R500 000. This is a tribute to the quality of the animals that were put on auction by the Addo Elephant National Park, as well as National Parks and other top breeders. The festival donates over R50 000 every year to community based projects. The various projects can be visited on the festival website.
For more information, contact Jenni Honsbein, Festival Director, email: email@example.com