Affording the opportunity to see both black and white rhino – as well as an abundance of other wildlife species – the Khama Rhino Sanctuary (KRS) is a delightful stopover for tourists travelling by road to Botswana’s northern reserves, or an ideal weekend getaway for Gaborone or Francistown visitors or residents.
A mere 20 kms from the historically important village of Serowe, the accessibility of KRS is also a draw. This community tourism project, managed and staffed by local village residents, offers game drives, birding, bush walks, and arts and crafts shopping. It also has an education centre where many young children from all over Botswana come for environmental education, as well as a fun time in the bush.
KRS was established in 1989 due to growing concern over the then escalating rhino poaching situation in Botswana. Both black and white rhino – once abundant in Botswana – were during the early 1980s on the brink of local extinction, despite their having been granted protected status as far back as 1922.
Led by the Bangwato paramount Chief, the then Lt. Gen. Seretse Khama Ian Khama, and other conservationists, the people of Serowe conceived the idea to form a sanctuary to protect the remaining rhinos in Botswana, and hopefully give them safe haven to reproduce and gain numbers.
The first four white rhinos were reintroduced into the sanctuary from the Chobe National Park in 1992. Eight more rhinos came from the North West National Parks in South Africa.
The highly endangered black rhino was re-introduced in 2002.
The gamble paid off , and both species are doing well, under the watchful eye of sanctuary staff as well as the Botswana Defence Force (BDF), who assist with the constant patrolling of the sanctuary’s borders.
To date, KRS has 35 white rhino, and is serving as a source for their re-introduction back to the Moremi Game Reserve, the Makgadikgadi, the Northern Tuli Game Reserve, and elsewhere. And – much to the credit of KRS staff – the male and female black rhinos have mated, and the sanctuary’s first baby black rhino was born in 2008!