The Gumbi community successfully claimed 35,000 ha of land in 2005 through the land reform process. When the Gumbis took ownership of the land, they decided to keep the majority of their land under conservation and create a consolidated game reserve that could be used as an economic engine to drive development in the community. In February 2009, this resulted in the first community owned game reserve to be formally proclaimed as a nature reserve; an incredible commitment to the conservation of natural resources under Inkosi Gumbi’s control.
The Somkhanda Game Reserve also became the first community owned land to become a partner in the WWF/Ezemvelo Black Rhino Range Expansion Programme, and a population of endangered black rhino were introduced in 2007.
Apart from the rhino population, the game reserve has valuable populations of leopard, lion, elephant, buffalo, wild dog, nyala, zebra, giraffe and a variety of typical bushveld game. As a result of these achievements, Somkhanda Game Reserve is promoted as a flagship project for land restitution and transformation in South Africa, as well as an example of conservation-based community development.