Black Mamba Anti-poaching Unit

The Black Mambas Anti-Poaching Unit was founded in 2013 by Transfrontier Africa NPC to protect the Olifants West Region of Balule Nature Reserve.

Black Mamba APU

The MAMBAS describe themselves as sisters, mothers, future mothers-in-law, and teachers. Their mission is to "make the Greater Kruger National Park the most difficult, undesirable and risky area to poach," and to "develop a proud, sympathetic and patriotic community on their borders, making the people allies to the park.

Within the first year of operation the Black Mambas were invited to expand into other regions and now protect all boundaries of the 62,000ha Balule Nature Reserve, part of the Greater Kruger Area in South Africa. They are a very special group of dedicated and brave African women. They preserve wildlife, particularly rhinos and are on fulltime patrol these days. These ladies are fighting - unarmed- the evils of poaching and protecting their wildlife heritage day and night.

The teams work to the concept of the “Broken Window” philosophy, striving to make the area of influence the most undesirable, most difficult and least profitable place to poach any species. With a passion for wildlife and rhino conservation, these women are the voice in the community through their conservation work. The objectives of the Black Mamba project are not only the protection of rhinos through boots on the ground but also through being a role model in their communities. These 23 young rangers and 7 Environmental Monitors want their communities to understand that the benefits are greater through rhino conservation rather than poaching, addressing the social and moral decay that is a product of the rhino poaching within their communities. They are concerned for their children’s sake as the false economy has brought loose morals and narcotics into their communities.

It is a very critical time for our world and while South Africa is still in lockdown Wildlife conservation and patrols are more important than ever. The Balule Reserve depends on these ranger teams to be fully active even in Corona times. As the flow of tourism dollars ceased and people struggle for food, wildlife poaching is on the increase. People are hungry and put out snares for "bush" meat to feed their families.

The Champions of the Earth award is the United Nations highest environmental honour recognizing visionary people and organisations all over the world that exemplify leadership and advocate action on sustainable development, climate change and a life of dignity for all.The Black Mamba Anti-Poaching Unit was announced as one of the winners of the United Nation's top environmental accolade. With this award, in the Inspiration and Action category, UNEP is recognizing the rapid and impressive impact the Black Mamba unit has made in combating poaching and the courage required to accomplish it. This is not the only award they have won, the list goes on!

The Black Mambas anti-poaching strategy includes ‘visual policing’ through daily boundary patrols which are conducted on foot during first light and by vehicle at last light. Observation and listening posts are stationed in critical areas such as known entry and exit points or popular rhino waterholes for signs of poisoning. Disruptive patrols are performed within areas of high rhino density to thwart any attempts to poach rhino in our area. Road Blocks involve searching know and unknown vehicles for any illegal or suspicious items. Building sites and staff compounds within the reserve are searched regularly to gather intelligence and ensure all reserve rules are being adhered to and regular sweeps are conducted throughout the Reserve and neighbouring Tribal lands in search of snares.

Please contact us to plan your dream safari to South Africa and stay in the Balule Reserve to support these amazing women.