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Matabeleland South Province, Zimbabwe

Shangani Holistic is pioneering a holistic management style to sustainably manage cattle, wildlife and people together. Shangani Holistic seeks to positively impact the livestock industry in Shangani, across Zimbabwe and beyond.

About 1.5 hours’ drive from Bulawayo, the ranch is situated in a gently undulating landscape of open savannah consisting mostly of grassed bushland with patches of Miombo woodland. The Shangani River runs along the eastern boundary. This area is steeped in history and bore witness to Bonko, the 1890 Battle of Shangani, between the Ndebele and British settlers encroaching onto land occupied by the Shona, Kalanga, Rozwe and Ndebele peoples.

Shangani Holistic is guided by the philosophy that wildlife is integral to the value of the ranching operation and should be managed as part of an integrated system. The ranch operates under the holistic management philosophy which incorporates the interplay of ecological, social and economic requirements and benefits that are crucial to maintain balance in this landscape.

The removal of internal paddock fences has seen benefit to both wildlife and cattle due to improved grazing regimes. In winter months the ranch becomes home to up to 300 male elephants migrating from their home ranges in the northwest of the country. Since 2012, the ranch has invested in indigenous cattle breeds, particularly Ndebele Nguni cattle. Wildlife is managed consumptively, and all wildlife on the ranch is given equal protection from poaching.


In alignment with the Oppenheimer creed, active engagement and community empowerment are central components of research and management at Shangani Holistic. The main goal is to manage the ranch in a way that creates benefit from wildlife to local communities. Shangani Holistic works with surrounding communities to understand the needs of small-scale pastoralists and to introduce holistic management practices.

Research undertaken at the ranch should have application in the lives of surrounding small-holder farmers and be shared so that all benefit from the evidence-based management models developed. The ranch hosts a research centre, open to visiting researchers.

Current research includes integrative holistic approaches to wildlife and game farm management, bush encroachment, poisonous plants, conservation technology, the development of climate-positive beef and wildlife corridors (particularly vulture and elephant).


Landscape: Open savanna

Key research areas: Holistic management, climate-positive beef, conservation tech.

Researcher accommodation: On-site for up to 28 researchers across seven rooms and three tents.

Lab facilities: Microscope and reagents available for scat analysis and serosurveillance.

Contact: Peter Makumbe,

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