Adaptation: The Key to Survival
By Katie Wolf @KatieWolfOutdoors
In 1987, Barry Burchell purchased Hebron, the first piece of land to the now 75,000 acre Burchell Game Reserve, home of Frontier Safaris. Originally a stock ranch, Barry needed to remove the internal fences to make the property open and suitable for game animals. After officially moving onto his ranch, Barry began building Masada Lodge, the heart of the game reserve. Here, clients and guides gather to share stories by a roaring fire, indulge in a home cooked meal, and create friendships that will last a lifetime. Frontier Safaris is where memories are made and adventure begins.
In 1995, Barry’s vision for Frontier Safaris extended past the borders of South Africa. He purchased the 36,000 acre property now known as Frontier Safaris North Namibian ranch. In addition to the north, Barry also holds ownership of his childhood ranch in south Namibia. This property makes up the 96,000 acre Frontier Safaris South Namibian ranch. It is here where clients can hunt the Burchell Oryx, also known as the Golden Oryx. Frontier Safaris is a family business. Barry’s sons followed in their father’s footsteps and became professional hunters. Once guided by Barry himself, Fred, Scot, and Kian now guide clients who wish to hunt with Frontier Safaris. Frontier Safaris is not only the home of the Burchells, but over the years has become a home to kudu, gemsbok, vast herds of wildebeest, the tiny duiker, and all together over thirty different species that roam freely within the 75,000 acre reserve.
To make planning a safari easier on clients, Frontier Safaris offers select package deals containing some of the most prized plains game in Africa. For example, for just under $6000, clients can dine and lodge for seven days and hunt up to ten animals including kudu, gemsbok, impala, and more. Frontier Safaris goal is to provide clients with an unforgettable African safari. However, in March 2020, Barry realized no one would be getting to experience the magic of Frontier Safaris for quite some time. In reaction to COVID-19, borders were closed and South Africa was put on complete lockdown. With no foreign clients allowed in the country, there would be no hunting. As time went on, Barry realized animals would soon need to be culled to keep herds at a manageable number. While some South Africans came to hunt for meat, most of the animals culled went to feeding both the workers and local villagers. “Fortunately we haven’t had to retrench any staff,” said Barry, “this is the first time in my whole life, the first time in thirty years that we haven’t had any income from hunting.”
Barry decided to take the new found time with no hunters to improve his game reserve. Many days were spent mending fences, culling animals, and improving the lodge. Barry had one project in mind he was excited to finish. After being handicapped in 2014 due to an unfortunate accident, Barry understands the struggles of traveling while in a wheelchair. Barry has added a wheelchair accessible room for clients who are handicapped but still wish to hunt with Frontier Safaris. “Our room is very practical, it will be very easy for a person in a wheelchair,” said Barry, “I designed the room myself as to what would work for me.”
South Africa has recently opened their borders for international travelers requiring a simple negative COVID-19 test prior to entering the country. While almost fully booked for 2021, Barry encourages clients to book quickly in order to obtain the remaining openings. Frontier Safaris welcomes all who wish to experience an African safari and is excited to start hunting again.