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Providing tourists with an exciting alternative to the campsites and traditional bush camp, Erin Tented Camp was opened on 13 May 2015. The camp is situated on Erin Game Ranch, south of the Ae!Hai Kalahari Heritage Park in Kgalagadi Transfrontier Park.
Representatives from South African National Parks (SANParks), Rotary International and Peace Parks Foundation joined the ‡Khomani San community members for the opening event. Mr Oupa-Jan Pietersen of the Bushman Council welcomed the attendees and warmly thanked the donors who had helped realise Erin Tented Camp.
The camp was constructed and furnished thanks to funding from Rotary Deutschland Gemeindienst and the German Federal Ministry of Economic Cooperation and Development, with Peace Parks Foundation as implementing partner. It consists of six safari tents with wooden decks, ablution blocks and a central kitchen.
As part of the 2002 land settlement agreement reached between the ‡Khomani San and Mier communities, the government of South Africa and SANParks, it was agreed that SANParks would translocate game to one of the ‡Khomani San properties to create a game ranch south of the heritage park. Altogether 722 animals were translocated, including blue wildebeest, hartebeest, springbok and gemsbok.
Peace Parks Foundation helped the ‡Khomani San to identify a site for a tented camp on the game ranch and prepared a concept layout of the camp. The camp was completed during 2014.
The game ranch has become an important source of income for the communities thanks to sustainable resource use. Wildlife Ranching South Africa has been instrumental in the success, as a result of extensive training of community members at the GhoenasKraal training facility, as well as their contributions of wildlife, equipment, and closing in the cold storage area.
The Heritage Park
In May 2002 the ‡Khomani San and Mier communities reached a historic land settlement agreement with the government of South Africa and SANParks, which restored a large tract of land to the communities that had once roamed or farmed this area. Named the !Ae!Hai Kalahari Heritage Park Agreement, its outcome resulted in the transfer of ownership of 50 000 hectares of land within the boundaries of Kgalagadi Transfrontier Park from SANParks to the two communities.
The heritage park is managed by a joint management board comprising representatives of the ‡Khomani San and Mier communities and SANParks. The heritage park aims to preserve the cultural and traditional knowledge of these indigenous communities, while improving their opportunities to earn a livelihood. One of the key objectives of the community is to expose Bushman children, youths and adults to the traditional lifestyles of their ancestors. This is realised through the implementation of traditional veld schools held at camps in the heritage park.
The heritage park also boasts a fully catered luxury lodge, !Xaus, owned by the two communities.
Erin Camp bookings via the Bushman Council
Mr Fred Padmaker
Ms Luce Steenkamp