WATCH | Making ends 'meat': game reserve to sell culled animals to soften Covid-19 blow

20 August 2020 - 14:23 By MultimediaLIVE

With SA's borders closed and flights limited due to the coronavirus crisis, luxury game lodges are struggling to make an income.

For Somkhanda Game Reserve in northern Zululand, selling game meat has helped it make ends meet.

The reserve normally gives away or sells at a low cost meat from animals it culls each year to manage stocks.

But with a loss of up to 90% of its revenue, it is now marketing the meat to bring in R50,000-R100,000 a month.

“The tourism industry has collapsed. There has been no-one coming to visit,” said Roelie Kloppers, CEO at the Wildlands, which co-manages the reserve. “Instead of culling and just giving that meat away or selling it at a very low price locally, we tried to market it,” said Kloppers, adding, “we would rather have the doors open”.

Rising costs from safety procedures such as hand sanitiser stations, temperature checks and protective equipment for staff have added to the reserve's burden since SA imposed a lockdown at the end of March.

“Through the meat sales market we were able to keep the ship afloat,” reserve manager Meiring Prinsloo said.

The AU estimates that African countries lost almost $55bn (about R947bn) in travel and tourism revenues in just three months due to the pandemic.