People of the Wilderness: Sharon Haussmann, CEO GKEPF

Our People of the Wilderness series began as a concept that would celebrate conservation and those who have built their lives in and around the world of safari. BHS is synonymous with ecotourism, and that is due to an innate worship of all that is wild, natural, and untamed, and with that, the desire to share this wondrous world with visitors from all over the world. Our African hearts connect with those who share our sentiments and our passion, and over the years exploring, learning, and living in the bush, we have connected with like-minded people who have become our mentors, friends, and colleagues in conservation.

We want to share their messages, which come as unique stories for each of them, but that also represent what so many feel and believe about safari. We are so lucky to know and work with the group of people you will meet over the next couple of weeks, as we showcase their videos here. These are our People of the Wilderness, and we are enriched by each and every one.

First, we met Sharon Haussmann: a woman, an academic, a farmer, a conservationist, and a leader.

Sharon Haussmann had recently been elected as the Chairperson for the Balule Private Nature Reserve after serving on the committee for four years – an incredible accolade that comes with great responsibility, and one which could not have been placed in more capable hands. A great friend of BHS, Sharon recently hosted our team at her family home in the Greater Kruger Park where we were treated to her warm hospitality and got to see this remarkable force of a woman in the place that has made her who she is.

We wanted to chat to Sharon about her history in the Lowveld and her life’s work that has led to her prominent position today. What we got was a resounding understanding of Sharon’s connection to the bushveld, her belief in its preservation and what it takes to protect it. We learned that this woman, who was elected as Female Farmer of the year 2004, is a powerful advocate for community support, a passionate environmentalist, and a person who is making a lasting difference in conservation.

Her famous enthusiasm for hyenas has led to Sharon spending over 3000 hours of observation at den sites in the wild, and ultimately publishing two papers on the species. This is a woman who takes change into her own hands, whether that be helping an individual in need, or committing to chairing a committee for the conservation of part of South Africa’s greatest wilderness area. We are proud to call Sharon a friend, and we look forward to many memorable hours spent in the bush together for years to come.