Adding value to a game lodge / ranches – By Rumpff Krüger

In recent years, more and more farmers struggling to stay profitable have turned to game farming, and the number of wildlife ranches has mushroomed. According to wildlife management authority and author Ron Thomson, there are approximately 10 000 registered private game ranchers in South Africa managing more than 20 million hectares of land.

The following are some of the factors that influence the value of a game ranch:

Classification
Game ranches vary in function, and may include:

Those used for hunting, breeding and live sales;
Those used solely for breeding purposes, including small farms where exotic game are bred in captivity. These are not considered proper game farms because the animals do not live under natural conditions;
Ranches with or without lodges that are used for conservation and ecotourism;
Combinations of the above, including farms and reserves where fences separating them from national or provincial parks have been removed.

Location and access
Buyers and investors from outside the agriculture sector, often driven by non-economic motives such as sentiment or business entertainment, have driven up the values of game  ranches within a two- hour radius of metropoles. The following are important value-adding factors:

Good quality access roads that can accommodate standard passenger vehicles;
Internal roads, including firebreak roads, game-viewing roads and walkways for game retrieval, that are in good condition;
Access by air via a nearby airport or a landing strip on the farm.
A right-of-way servitude over a game farm negatively affects the market value.
Shape, layout and size
The optimal shape for a game ranch is a square, as this enables the optimal utilisation of game. This type of ranch usually has greater value than one that is narrow or has acute corners.
The value is also influenced by the layout; for example, workers’ houses, sheds and similar buildings should remain unseen, away from major internal roads.

Small farms tend to fetch higher prices per hectare than larger farms, and generally focus on different markets. The average game lodge size is roughly 2 100ha (Falkena, 2000).

Natural resources
Veld, water and climate influence a farm’s suitability as a game ranch. Veld diversity is influenced by soil, climate and topography, and thus determines the diversity of naturally occurring wildlife. Natural water sources such as rivers, dams and fountains are always beneficial, and mean that fewer artificial water points are necessary.

Fencing
When the natural movement of game is restricted, a certificate of adequate enclosure is required. This stipulates the type of fencing required, and which game can be kept. To keep game confined out of their natural environment requires a specific permit.

Because the type of fence determines the game species that can be kept, it influences the farm’s value per hectare.
Farm shape and topography also affect the cost of fencing, and hence the farm’s value. While it may cost more to erect fencing around an odd-shaped farm than a square one, the value per hectare of the former is normally lower than that of the latter.

Other improvements
Buildings and other improvements are valued the same way as on any farm:

Class A: These include dwellings and sheds, and are valued separately from the land at depreciated replacement cost.
Class B: Fencing, roads, water reticulation and similar structures, valued as part of the land.
Class S: Specialised improvements such as bomas and lions’ dens are valued separately from the land.

Source: Farm Valuations in Practice (Pienaar, 2013).

The article was found at Farmer’s Weekly

The value of a game lodge

Determining the economic value of game farm tourism

P. VAN DER MERWE, and M. SAAYMAN

Below are two excerpts from the article, for the full article please follow this link –www.koedoe.co.za/index.php/koedoe/article/download/59/59 

Internationally tourism is accepted as one of the world’s fastest-growing industries. The World Tourism Organisation (WTO) indicated that tourist arrivals in 1998 grew by 2.4 % worldwide. The WTO has forecast that the number of people travelling internationally will increase from 613 million in 1997 to 1.6 billion by the year 2020. Ecotourism, which according to the WTO is any form of tourism to an unspoilt nature area, is responsible for 20 % of the world’s total tourism expenditure and is also rated the fastest growing of all tourism sectors. It is also a fact that 80 % of nature conservation in South Africa is taking place on privately owned land such as game farms, and this forms part of ecotourism. The above endorses that ecotourism is an important product for South Africa and a drawcard for international as well as local tourists.

The main objective of this study was to determine the economic value of game farm tourism. This will be done by determining the economic value of each of the four pillars on which game farming is based, namely hunting, ecotourism, breeding rare game species and venison sales. Data collation was done in two ways. Firstly, research was conducted in the form of questionnaires. Game farms were randomly sampled from the database of registered game farms.

The aim of this questionnaire was threefold and determined the economic contribution of game farm tourism to ecotourism. Secondly, a literature study was conducted that included the latest data by PHASA (Professional Hunters Association of South Africa), Nature  conservation and trophy hunting in South Africa.

This paper will argue that game farm tourism makes a significant economic contribution to the economy of South Africa, apart from the substantial economic contribution game farm tourism already makes to conservation. This paper will be organised as follows:
The first section deals with the introduction, which indicates the growth of game farm tourism;
the second section explains the methodology;
the third section discusses the results; and the last section concludes the paper.

Key words: ecotourism, economic contribution, hunting, game farm tourism.

Conclusion
The purpose of this paper was to determine the economic value of game farm tourism. Even though this was the purpose, one cannot but mention also the conservation value of game farm tourism. The latter entails more land for consumptive utilisation, even though some conservationists still cannot perceive the contribution of the consumptive utilisation of game in the form of hunting to both the economy and the tourism industry in South Africa. Something else that also has to be kept in mind is that as a consequence more breeding centres are established throughout South Africa, which has a positive effect in terms of the number of species available.
This paper also showed that even though there are gaps in the statistics of some of the aspects (pillars) of game farm tourism, the latter nevertheless has a significant economic value, as can be seen from the 2000 statistics:

Hunting (trophy and biltong) R568 m
Game sales R180 m
Game products R20 m
Ecotourism R106 m
Total R874 m

Over and above the fact that game farm tourism in South Africa generated approximately R874 m, the 7 000 game farms also employ approximately 63 000 people. In order to grow this sector, this research recommends that game farm owners/managers must, as far as possible, implement all four pillars. The ecotourism component should be exploited and opportunities where tourists can spend more money should be created. This implies, for example, providing recreational activities, restaurants and the selling of curios and services. It is also a recommendation of this paper that more research be done, especially into the value of ecotourism and into biltong hunting needs.