• 083-454-8441 | +27 14-736-4090
  • info@bambelela.org.za

About Bambelela

The Bambelela Wildlife Care and Vervet Monkey Rehabilitation Facility is located 20km out of Bela Bela in Limpopo, South Africa. Silke von Eynern, the founder and major benefactor of the facility, originally immigrated to South Africa from Germany in 1990, with her late husband. After his death in 1997 she decided to dedicate her life and savings towards the care and conservation of South African Wildlife and so Bambelela (which means “to hold on” in Zulu) came into being in December 2003.

The original objective was to reintroduce game into the Groot Nylsoog area of the Waterberg. She purchased five Blue Wildebeest, but upon their arrival quickly determined that the animals were only a couple of days old. One died that first night; however, with the advice and assistance of Brian Jones from Moholoholo (“The Very Great One”) Rehab in Hoedspruit, she managed to pull the other four through. Silke had to hand raise these babies and in order to do so had to apply for permits from Nature Conservation Limpopo, and so the process began.

Silke began taking over the care of animals from Moholoholo that were almost ready for release back into the wild and in doing so, recognized her true calling: to help wild animals in need. People from the Waterberg district learned of her work and started to call upon her for help, as did the veterinarians from the region. Bambelela became well known and well regarded as a Rehabilitation Centre and has successfully rehabilitated and released many species of antelope, including Eland, Kudu, Impala, Red Hartebeest, Nyala, Blue Wildebeest, Warthogs, Bush Pigs, Serval Cats, Zebra, Yellow-billed Kites, Black-back Jackals, Porcupines, and many more. Silke even had the pleasure of looking after an orphaned Rhino baby, who is now a sub adult and living free.

Then, by chance, Silke’s heart was touched by a Vervet monkey. It was found abandoned in a cage on a property outside Bela Bela, which was for sale. The owners had already departed, so the estate agent brought the young, female Vervet to Bambelela. A few days later, a neighbour dropped off a younger Vervet. Then, a Vervet baby was taken away from someone in Naboomspruit and she ended up at Bambelela, too.

The spark of interest in Primatology was ignited! Silke began her quest for knowledge about these special creatures, how to hand-raise them, how to build appropriate enclosures or camps for them, how to feed them, and how to prepare them for release back into the wild. She is exceedingly grateful to the late Rita Miljo, founder from C.A.R.E., the Baboon Rehabilitation Centre in Phalaborwa, for her mentorship all along the way.

Silke applied for a Rehabilitation and a Hospitalization License to officially operate as such a Centre. Obtaining the licenses takes a lot of time and isn’t easy, but Bambelela has taken great care to build enclosures according to specifications outlined by other Nature Conservation offices in other Provinces and maintains the standards for cleaning, feeding and caring for wildlife in line with all regulations given to them by Nature Conservation Limpopo. In August 2010 the application was approved by the officials and since then Bambelela has been an official Wildlife Care and Rehabilitation Farm for Vervet Monkeys. The next step is to establish a Vervet Monkey Sanctuary for the Waterberg.

Bambelela is now home to over 300 Vervet monkeys, necessitating a team of FGASA students, field guides and volunteers from around the world to join Silke in her work with these monkeys and all the other wildlife that comes to Bambelela for rehabilitation. They work in close collaboration with Marius du Toit, the veterinarian from Bela Bela. Silke also works very closely with C.A.R.E. and Bambelela functions as an in-between-transfer station for orphaned or injured baboons in the Waterberg area. S ilke transfers the baboons to C.A.R.E as soon as possible, with a transport permit from Nature Conservation’s office in Modimolle.

Bambelela rescues, rehabilitates and releases members of three of our five South African Primate families:

  • The Lesser Bush Baby
  • Chacma Baboon
  • Vervet Monkey

Silke and her incredible team of staff and volunteers concentrate mainly on Vervet monkey rehabilitation, taking in injured and orphaned monkeys, forming troops and finding monkey-friendly game farms to release a rehabilitated troop. To date they have successfully given thirteen troops, a total of almost 300 monkeys, their second chance to live free again after, as a persecuted species, they had lost their freedom due to habitat destruction, illegal shootings by farmers, snares, electrocutions, pet or Muti trade (Muti is the term for traditional medicine in Southern Africa).

The Vervet Monkey [Chlorocebus formerly known as: Cercopethicus aethiops], is one of our biggest ecologists in nature; they are vital for the survival of our environment and, although since April 2005 no longer declared as “Vermin” in the Limpopo Province, their numbers still keep on dwindling rapidly. Our interest as human primates is in constant conflict with the interest of non-human primates such as Vervet Monkeys and Baboons.

The value of free roaming Vervet Monkeys is priceless; they play an important role in creating a balanced, healthy environment for us. The Vervet Monkey Ecologist helps create balance in our environment via:

  • Bird control
  • Insect Control
  • Spreading of Seeds / Germination
  • Invasiability
  • Biotic Interaction
  • Sustainability
  • Pollination of plants
  • Part of the Natural Food Chain

Bambelela wants to conduct research into Vervet Monkeys by observing their behavior patterns in order for a better understanding of their nature. They want to make the public aware of the fact that we humans are destroying this vital species, through littering, offering them food, destroying their natural habitat and mindlessly trapping and killing them.

The children of today, who will be the future of tomorrow, must get involved in Nature Conservation through education and understanding where, why and when the problem began and look at alternative solutions to the few cents for a bullet to kill the primates. People need to learn about primates’ social behavior patterns in order to gain an understanding of these magnificent creatures and thus find solutions that benefit man AND MONKEY.

Since its inception Bambelela has been funded to the tune of 2.5 million Rand by Silke. She has used all her savings for the building and maintenance of the facilities, the running of the center and the caring of wild animals, including their daily expenses of food and medicines.

The only other funding that Bambelela has had is:

  • The income from the accommodation offered to the tourism sector, which consists of three self-catering chalets which sleep up to a total of 16 people per night.
  • The income from the “Guardian Angel Program”, which allows members of the public to virtually adopt Vervet Monkeys and pay for their up keep.
  • Donations from the private sector.

At the moment Bambelela is running at monthly losses of between 10,000 and 20,000 Rand, which is not sustainable. In order to keep monthly expenses to a minimum, Silke has over the years relied on non-paid and non-paying Volunteers to help their with the wildlife care. She has now decided that she must ask volunteers for a monthly contribution towards volunteer accommodation, food, laundry costs etc., in the same way that other centres do. In return she is giving the volunteers an opportunity to study with Bambelela for the FGASA exam, to qualify as a Level 1 Field Guide, with future prospects of finding employment in the tourism or game industry.

Every year Silke hopes to run Bambelela Wildlife Care & Vervet Monkey Rehabilitation Farm as a fully functioning, financially self-sustaining organization – this time, by the end of 2016!

Should anyone wish to help in the work at Bambelela, they can donate as follows:
Banking Details
Bambelela Wildlife Care NPC
Cheque Acc. No 62019253319,
First National Bank,
Bela Bela,
Branch No: 260-347

Tel. +27-14-736-2757

SPAR Centre,
1 Minaar Avenue,
Bela Bela,
South Africa

Since March 2016 we are registered as a not for profit company: Bambelela Wildlife Care NPC, Company No. 2015/271368/08  with Registration No. K201271368.We are currently applying for our PBO number from SARS.

However, Bambelela does fall under DIY-Wild and tax-deductible donations can be made to Bambelela via Charity No: 099-008NPO “Helping Hands for Wildlife NPO”.