About Us

The Reserve was established in 2002 when a total of 17 sheep farms were purchased for conservation purposes. The reserve spans both sides of the Gariep (Orange) River with more than 38km of riverfront and consist of 100,000 acres or 30,000 hectares. It is situated halfway between Philippolis and Colesberg, two small towns in the upper Karoo region of South Africa.

For at least a century these farms had been used primarily for sheep stock farming with many areas suffering from severe overgrazing. While it is hard to find a true wilderness area in modern South Africa with man's influence evident everywhere, the clock is slowly turning back and nature is responding well to its former glory.


The Reserve

The Game

Previously, many of the indigenous game species were non-existent due to competition with domestic animals for grazing. Many species were then re-introduced and there are now impressive numbers on the reserve due to these conservation efforts (i.e. over 400 Eland, 350 Kudu, 250 Gemsbuck, 250 Red Hartebeest, 200 Blue Wildebeest, 100 Black Wildebeest, 45 Zebra, 300 Mountain Reedbuck, 3,000 Springbuck, and 1,500 Blesbuck, as well as, several smaller species like Steenbuck and Duiker).


The reserve was established as a platform to conserve and restore endangered species, as well as develop effective biodiversity and conservation strategies. The reserve contains protected species in electrically fenced bomas as well as free-ranging species such as two free ranging male cheetahs to see how they will adapt to the area as part of a meta-population breeding program. They have fared exceptionally well and a female cheetah will soon be introduced to start the breeding program. All of Big Water Safari profits go to support of these conservation efforts.

The Team

A small and dedicated team manages Big Water Safaris.

Heinrich Funck (Professional Hunter and General Reserve General Manager)

Hein grew up on a ranch and started hunting at a very early age. His love for hunting led him to start a wildlife/human conflict business and he later turned professional hunter after completing his PH Course in March 1999. He has guided many hunters during the past 16 years. He was appointed Reserve General Manager in June 2009.

Thinus Steyn (Professional Hunter and Assistant Reserve Manager)

Although he started hunting at an early age, Thinus Steyn started his professional hunting career in January 2000 when he joined a safari company in the Eastern Cape province as a permanent employee. During November of 2000 he attended a professional hunters course at Spring Valley PH School and qualified as a professional hunter. Thinus has guided hunts in the Eastern Cape, Limpopo and the Free State

Marietjie Funck - (Catering)

Marietjie has been married to Hein for the past 25 years and is in charge of catering. She grew up as a farm girl and her home cooking, South-African style, will surpass your highest expectations. Her motto is to always send you back with a few pounds gained.

Sanet Steyn - (Catering)

Sanet has been married to Thinus for the past 27 years. She managed the hunting lodge in the Eastern Cape, South Africa where Thinus worked as a professional hunter. She and Thinus also developed and managed a Guest House in Mossel Bay and a game farm in Naboomspruit.