In September, 2002, Ed Clark, the President of the Wildlife Center of Virginia, was a speaker at a wildlife conference in Johannesburg, South Africa. While there, a Virginia Game Warden introduced Ed to Joe Viljoen, a South African who has created a large nature reserve there. Ed spent three incredible days at 'Chazen', Joe's nature reserve and lodge. As a result of that visit, Joe donated a 10-day photo safari to the WCV's Fall 2002 Benefit Auction, where I was the lucky person who 'won' it. My wife and I went in March 2003. It was an extraordinary experience, and it was obvious such a unique opportunity should be made available to as many others as possible.
The WCV created these safaris and is sponsoring them, in cooperation with Joe, in order to make them available to those of us interested in viewing African wildlife in its natural surroundings, while we enjoy viewing in comfort and safety. Result :-) 14-day safaris — 12 days with Joe in SA, plus 1 over, 1 back. We at WCV have now produced 40+ very successful safaris, , plus we have added two new safari itineraries – ‘Botswana/Zimbabwe’, and the ‘Ultimate’.
Joe Viljoen, and his two sons, Micha and Zen, are native South Africans and absolutely delightful. His Nature Reserve, "Chazen", is named after his two sons. Joe is one of the top trackers in South Africa, having an incredible knowledge of wildlife and their behavior, and he can interact with them in such a way that we are allowed exceptionally close viewing, even though they are all living naturally and in the wild.
More than 30 years ago Joe invested his winnings in 20,000 acres (32 sq. miles!) of land that is now Chazen. It was a sheep and cattle farm that had been stripped completely of grass with attendant erosion. Joe began a major renewal program to get the grasses back, and has admirably used environmentally-sensitive techniques to recover the land. He added grass seed to the feed for his various antelope species so they spread the seeds along with the fertilizer. He controls any wildlife tick infestations by moving his small herd of cattle around various sections of the reserve (cattle attract ticks like magnets) then the cattle are dipped in environmentally-safe tick dip. As a result of these and other clever techniques, the land is now supporting magnificent herds of wildlife.
News: Wheelchair Accessibility now Available
The Wildlife Center of Virginia has proudly announced its African Safari program provides Wheelchair Accessibility to those requiring such facilities and assistance. This new capability is a very exciting addition to our already incredible safari program. I know of no other safari organization that is providing such a well-needed and deserving opportunity.
PO Box 1401
Waynesboro VA 22980
2 New Additions!
Safaris to Botswana and Zimbabwe, plus an ‘Ultimate’ Wildlife Safari
KZN – Kwa-Zulu Natal: Our original safaris, and still our solid basic safari, takes us through the Drackensberg Mountains into Kwa-Zulu Natal (KZN) province – ‘Zululand’ – to wonderful nature reserves, the Indian Ocean coast, a Zulu village visit, major wetlands with crocs and hippos, and crafts markets.
B/Z – Botswana/Zimbabwe: We are now producing very successful safaris into Botswana and Zimbabwe, and in particular to the Chobe National Park, located in north-eastern Botswana. We see hundreds of species of birds, and one of the largest variety of animals including elephant, giraffe, zebra, buffalo, hyena, lion, leopard, cheetah, and a variety of antelope. We include a visit to Victoria Falls - one of the Seven Natural Wonders of the World, 3-times larger than Niagara Falls, and located on the Zambezi River near the border between Botswana and Zimbabwe. And there is a possibility of viewing the Falls from a helicopter.
Ultimate: We have added a brand new, very exciting itinerary we are calling the “Ultimate” wildlife safari – a Total Immersion in Wildlife! Day and night, we do game drives, up close, watching the animals do what they do. This occurs in an exclusive private reserve - Sabi Sands Nature Reserve - near Kruger N.P., while enjoying luxurious accommodations. See details under ‘Itineraries’.