Swebeswebe: A Journey of Conservation and Community Engagement
The story of Swebeswebe is one that reflects the passion for nature and the determination to create a haven for wildlife and outdoor enthusiasts.
Ken Maud, a South African with a love for hunting, nurtured a dream of owning a game farm that would cater to his family's appreciation for the outdoors. In 1982, this dream became a reality when he acquired a dilapidated cattle farm of 1,200 hectares in Limpopo, South Africa. This marked the genesis of the Swebeswebe game farm.
Ken's vision was to transform the barren land into a thriving game reserve. With the help a dedicated team led by Lify Molefy, roads were carved out, boreholes drilled for water, and a fence erected.
The farm gradually evolved, with the introduction of a limited amount of game from SWA (Namibia). The development continued with the construction of a new house and a dam, offering new dimensions to the landscape.
The Maria house
The farm expanded in the mid-1980s with the acquisition of neighbouring winter grazing farms, which were allowed to recover from overgrazing. This expansion allowed for increased biodiversity and the discovery of endangered species like the Roan Antelope.
Roan antelope (Hippotragus equinus)
The farm's boundary grew further when adjoining farms were purchased in 1997, creating a vast interconnected expanse, totalling about 22 kilometres of riverine habitat.
Throughout the years, Swebeswebe flourished as a family retreat and a conservation haven. Hunting was permitted to manage game populations, while selective game captures ensured a balanced ecosystem. Involvement with St Mary’s Orphanage brought children closer to nature and forged lasting connections
St Mary's children & Staff 1997
St Mary's children now grown-up
After a period abroad, Ken Maud and his late wife Janice returned to Swebeswebe in 2004. While inquiries from potential investors came, the farm remained steadfast in its purpose.
However, the changing circumstances of their family led to the consolidation and subdivision of the land, facilitating a new chapter in Swebeswebe's legacy by introducing partners. In 2009 Ken had the honour of being recognised as the Game Farmer of the year in Limpopo.
By 2020, Swebeswebe achieved Nature Reserve status, a testament to its dedication to conservation. The property's evolution was marked by ongoing efforts to improve the ecosystem, including reintroducing Roan Antelope and Sable on his farm Hanover next door. He also introduced cattle for strategic grazing.
Ken's life journey intertwined with Swebeswebe's as he reconnected with a school sweetheart, Elizabeth Hunter, leading to their marriage and shared passion for the land. Community work in the Waterberg became a focus, and the farm's continued prosperity allowed for more professional management and partnerships.
Ken is actively involved in the following:
Waterberg Welfare Society, Waterberg Nature Conservancy, Waterberg Tourism, Waterberg Conservation Initiative, Waterberg Community Initiative, Waterberg Greater Areas, The Moepel Conservancy.