herd of gemsbuck along karoo ridge

The Conservancy

"We are the custodians of the biodiversity of the land"

Our Karoo Story

A Passion for Conservation

The inspiration for Karoo Ridge Conservancy came in 2014 when we stumbled across 2,500 hectares of beautiful Karoo landscape with enormous potential. Since then we have worked tirelessly to build what you see here today and now cover an area of 10,000 hectares.

The lands that make up Karoo Ridge Conservancy were once several smaller farms. The original area was called Laughing Waters, perhaps because of the numerous springs and fertile veld that typified the land at that time. 

During the Anglo-Boer war, an English soldier who was stationed nearby fell in love with the beauty and majesty of the area and in the early 1900’s after the war had ended, he came back to the Karoo and purchased the farm. At that time the land supported ostriches, sheep and cattle. Since then windmills, homesteads, barns and cottages have been built and the veld fenced to contain stock. 

The Conservancy is an owner-run enterprise headed by Pete and Helen Wenham whose passion for conservation, expertise and experience lie at the heart of this project. With genuine nature conservation our passion, and “farming for biodiversity” the mechanism, the natural resources and diverse inhabitants are managed as sustainably and responsibly as possible whilst incorporating the farming aspect. The vision is to reclaim the landscape, biodiversity and wildlife of the Karoo for future generations. Learn more about their work here.

Our Philosophy

· Restore · Protect · Conserve ·

Only two hundred years ago the mountains and plains of the Karoo teemed with wildlife. The region was host to some of the largest wildlife migrations in all Africa: the Trekbokke were so great in number that predators could not keep pace with the moving herds of antelope and were trampled underfoot..

“It was hardly possible to put one’s foot down in that vast extent of country without treading on the spoor of springbok, and the Karoo bushes were torn and broken by their sharp hooves. …Trekbokke are the most wonderful occurrence in a wonderful country… Yet it is probable that the days of the very large treks are past and that such a sight as we saw in 1896 will never be seen again.”
Cronwright-Schreiner in (‘The Conservationists and the Killers’ John Pringle) 

“To leave the world a bit better, whether by a healthy child, a garden patch, or a redeemed social condition; to know that even one life has breathed easier because you have lived – that is to have succeeded.”
Ralph Waldo Emerson

Today it is almost impossible to imagine abundant wildlife living here naturally. A century of ostrich, sheep and cattle farming has decimated this landscape. Yet the Karoo remains one of the most ecologically diverse semi-desert areas in the world. Our ambition is to restore this incredible eco-system to secure the land and it’s wildlife for future generations.

We are the custodians of the biodiversity of the land: in the modern world, we have to find ways for the land to support the people who have settled here. We run a working farm and guest lodge, managing our natural resources alongside scientific conservation principles.

Karoo Ridge’s  natural beauty has been described by visitors as “unique in the world”. In today’s fast paced world this is a destination for “recharging the mind and soul”. 

karoo landscape mountains bush

Our Team

The Karoo Ridge Conservancy team is led by Pete and Helen Wenham who have over 25 years of experience between them in biodiversity research, resource and reserve management, game capture, animal husbandry, veld and animal monitoring, lecturing, guiding and lodge management.

We employ a team of local staff whose contribution and deep commitment to the development of the conservancy is invaluable. Their knowledge of Karoo farming practices, stockmanship, craftsmanship and tracking skills are a true asset. Most of the staff live on the conservancy with their families who help us manage the lodge and guest experience.

Working alongside our dedicated team of local staff are Dave and Debby Hall. who have a genuine love for the outdoors and a passion for conservation. .Nature Conservation students and interns come to assist with our work. You can see some of their achievements here.

Our Work and Projects

leopard tortoise monitoring helen

Conservation Projects

Learn more about the work we do to protect the Karoo

Nyala in karoo bush

Karoo Ridge Blog

Day-to-day life on the farm