Charleston APU & Training Camp Updates

Update 1 – 7th March 2016

February 29th , 2016 saw saw the start of construction of the Charleston APU & Training camp on Gondwana Game Reserve. A suitable location has been chosen which allows for good visibility over high risk areas of the reserve as well as great access and fast response times to any situations which may occur.

The site has been cleared of vegetation and many willing hands assisted Reserve owner Mark Rutherfoord and Reserve Manager Joe Erasmus pegging what will become the premier APU and training facility in the Western Cape.

All of this only because of the generous donation of funds by the Charleston Family and we know that this facility will contribute enormously to the security efforts of the entire region and make a significant difference to the conservation of wildlife on and around the Gondwana Game Reserve. Look out for ongoing updates as Camp Charleston takes shape.




Update 2 – 14 March 2016

Curious elephants are already wandering through the site of the new APU Camp, checking up on progress no doubt so to ensure the safety of all involved. The premier fence is first priority and work started on erecting the fence on Tuesday , 8 March.

The camp boundary is demarcated and the fencing poles cemented into the ground.

Whilst the fence is being erected by one team, a secondary team is digging up a storm, preparing the ground for the wooden decks and platforms. ” Could we have chosen an area with more rocks? ” was the ironic remark I received from Daniel , our site foreman. At Least we know Camp Charleston will be built on a firm foundation.

The Roof structure of the tent is used as a jig to determine the exact size and orientation of the necessary supports and where the decking needs to be. This crew knows what they are doing and have experience in building with wood and canvas.

See those clouds in the background? They may have kept the temperatures down but the humidity was high and the rain arrived the following day.



Update 3 – 11th April 2016

The Easter celebrations have come and gone and work continues on growing Camp Charleston. The perimeter is established and secured and the fences are erected.

The gate has been constructed and has been sent into town for galvanising. It should be ready for pick up shortly and once here, erected without delay.

More holes!!! Has the camp been invaded by demented moles or perhaps sumo wrestlers on pogo sticks?? I jest, fortunately it is only the groundwork for the support structure of the numerous structures planned for the camp. There are the tents to be built for accommodation, tents for ablution facilities, tents for food prep and recreation and the most important tent of all…the lecture hall. More progress reports to follow! Watch this space.


Update 4 – 12 June 2016

Camp Charleston is slowly taking shape as the holes dug over the previous weeks sprout poles and uprights to support the tents and decks to come Above are the poles, patiently waiting to be planted and the main kitchen/lounge area with the primary load bearing poles in place.  As the cement cures here, the team moves onto the smaller sleeping tents.  Below are the uprights and deck supports for two of these smaller sleeping tents.

Our days are shorter now that winter is here and the cold wet weather is upon us. Daniel, our site foreman is forever asking me to come through and photograph him and his team at work so clearly I will have to oblige and get that “action” shot.

All the best from me, Jono Berry, and everyone working on Camp Charleston!!




Update 6 – 24th November 2016

The end of the year is approaching and we are excited by the near completion of Camp Charleston on Gondwana Game Reserve. And the pressure is on to finish as training courses are already being lined up for early 2017. This excites us as it is testament to the Need for a facility like this in the region. Here are some photos to whet the appetite!

Now this is something to be proud of!! The Kitchen/Rec room tent awaiting the finishing touches and connection to water and power but structurally great and aesthetically very pleasing. Well done Construction Crew!! Below is the same tent overlooking 4 of the accommodation tents.


Above is a photo showing the prospective student’s accomodation and the adjacent lecture hall. No traffic here to keep you out of class!


Even the Abultion Block is classy! Each tent corresponding to their private ablution facility. Here is the septic system ready for installation.


There is a growing acknowledgement within conservation circles that Camp Charleston can truly become a bastion of education and community upliftment within the region. Our job remains to ensure world class commitment to this project and achieve world class results benefiting so many.The Grand Opening is surely around the corner now and I cannot wait to see Camp Charleston continue to develop and produce the next generation of conservationists.
~ Jonothan Berry

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