A Wildlife Reserve with pedigree

SanWild was founded by the late Louise Joubert, a prominent conservation activist starting on a small, leased plot of land back in 1998. She saw that the commercialization of wildlife was leading to its callous, often brutal exploitation. This drove her to create today’s vast reserve.

Louise Joubert grew up on a grape farm in Namaqualand, South Africa alongside the Olifants River. As a child, she was fascinated with the local wildlife. Then in 1989, running a successful fund-raising campaign for the Rhino & Elephant Foundation ignited her passion for animal conservation. In fact, seeing the plight of black rhinos is what caused her to leave her career in advertising and move to Limpopo Province to work with wild animals.

Initially, Louise was part of a game capture and relocation company, but she was heartbroken by the young orphaned animals, who were often injured during capture and sometimes even died. She started adopting orphan animals herself.

In 1998 she leased a small plot of land in the bushveld where she established the first SanWild Animal Rehabilitation Centre. In 2000 she founded the SanWild Wildlife Trust, a registered South African non-profit wildlife charity under which the Wildlife Rehabilitation Centre still operates. Soon afterwards, she acquired the first parcel of land that became the basis for today’s SanWild Sanctuary. 


In April 2018, Louise Joubert was tragically killed in a car accident, and in her sudden absence, the Sanctuary went through several years of turmoil. In April 2020, a new Board of Trustees was appointed to restructure and rescue the Sanctuary.

Didi Schoeman is a conservationist and wildlife filmmaker who worked with Louise Joubert on conservation initiatives, and he took over the helm as Chairman. When COVID lockdowns hammered the economy and tourist sector, SanWild used the downtime to consolidate and restructure, putting new employees and management in place.

Today SanWild Sanctuary is once again thriving with a wide range of conservation projects and initiatives that are making a real impact on the ground.

Over the years, SanWild has rescued many cheetahs, lions, elephants, rhinos and other wildlife species, while combatting the effects of severe drought and battling increased poaching.

Overheads for ongoing operations and emergency animal rescues are covered by donations, through limited tourism and an exclusive volunteer program that offers the chance to work alongside SanWild Rangers.

The legacy of Louise Joubert, the late wildlife ambassador and founder of the SanWild Wildlife Sanctuary, serves as a powerful reminder of the impact one person can make on the world.

Despite her tragic passing, her dedication and love for animals continue to inspire and motivate us all. Through her tireless efforts, she created a sanctuary that provides a safe haven for countless rescued and orphaned wildlife.

Her passion and commitment to conservation serve as a beacon of hope for all who believe in the importance of preserving our planet’s precious ecosystems.

We honor her memory by continuing to support and carry on her work, ensuring that her legacy lives on for generations to come.

Let us all be motivated by Louise’s example to make a positive impact in our own lives and communities, just as she did through the SanWild Wildlife Sanctuary.