Allowing viewing of 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 destination from Gaborone or Francistown.
Just 20 km from the historically significant village of Serowe, KRS is highly accessible for travellers. 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.
Established in 1989 due to growing concern over the then escalating prevalence of rhino poaching in Botswana, KRS is home to endangered black and white rhino. Once abundant in Botswana, these peaceful giants were on the brink of local extinction in the early 1980s, despite being granted protected status since 1922.
Led by the Bangwato Paramount Chief, 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 a haven to reproduce and gain numbers. The KRS reintroduced the first four white rhinos into the Chobe National Park’s sanctuary in 1992. Eight more rhinos came from the North West National Parks in South Africa. The highly endangered black rhino was reintroduced in 2002.
The gamble paid off, and both species are doing well, under the watchful eye of sanctuary staff and the Botswana Defence Force (BDF), who constantly patrol the sanctuary perimeter.
To date, KRS has 35 white rhino and serves as a source for their reintroduction 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!