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The Kudu Awards

The Birth of the Kudu Awards

South African National Parks (SANParks) envisions making the National Parks system the pride and joy of all South Africans and the world, through developing and managing a system of national parks that represents the biodiversity, landscapes, and associated heritage assets of South Africa for the sustainable use and benefit of all.

In the process of attaining this vision, SANParks is supported by a contingent of employees who display their passion and dedication to conservation and to providing the visitors to the National Parks with an unforgettably rich experience of the African wilderness.

At the same time, SANParks recognizes that conservation will never be a responsibility of just one organization or person. There are many individuals and groups who are not directly associated with the national parks systems, who continue to contribute significantly to conservation and environmental protection and education.

In 2003, an opportunity was presented through the launching of the book ‘South African National Parks – A Celebration Commemorating the Fifth World Parks Congress, when SANParks thought of creating an opportunity for recognizing and rewarding excellence in conservation by external stakeholders, and so the Kudu Award was born.

The external Kudu Award is coupled with the internal Chief Executive’s Award, which is presented to employees of SANParks who have been identified as having shown dedication beyond duty towards the vision of SANParks.

The Kudu Awards is a concept that has been developed in order for the management of South African National Parks to say thank you to external and internal stakeholders for their contributions and efforts in making SANParks a better organisation.

The process of conceptualizing and implementing the Kudu Awards was arduous but it culminated in the first awards ceremony taking place in 2005 at Gallagher Estate in Midrand.

From then, the Kudu Awards has become the premium event on the SANParks calendar and is growing, year after year.

The Trophy


The trophy was designed by Phil Minaar and has since been crafted by him every year for the Kudu Awards.

The trophy of a kudu head which is bestowed upon every winner of the Kudu Award is something that we hope will be coveted by all - only six of these awards will be given out.

Why the “Kudu”?

The external award is called the ‘Kudu Award’, in line with SANParks’ logo of the kudu kop in the shape of a male kudu. The kudu in its natural habitat is a stately and majestic animal that presents itself with pride and elegance. The kudu also has a strength belied by its demeanor. It is the only known animal that can jump up to three meters in height, spontaneously. It has also been hunted as a trophy because of its magnificence.

The award is meant to be a thing of pride just as many a people have often exclaimed about the majestic and proud bearing of the actual kudu.

Presenting the SANParks Kudu trophy speaks to the pride with which the organization views the contributions of the recipients and is held in high esteem by the recipients.

The male kudus use their beautiful spiral horns to claim dominance. They will lock horns and wrestle until the weaker of the two gives up. With the Kudu Awards, SANParks has eliminated the requirement of locking horns and butting heads in the hopes of winning a Kudu trophy. One just has to display a deep love for the Earth and its creatures and a dedicated practical contribution towards conservation.

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