What Is a Game Reserve?

Game reserve offer tourists the opportunity to view such wildlife as lions.
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  • Written By: B. Koch
  • Edited By: Susan Barwick
  • Last Modified Date: 05 April 2014
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A game reserve is a protected area where animals, especially those considered to be "game," can live. Reserves are free from poachers and human encroachment. These reserves may be state owned or privately owned, and they may be open to tourists or restricted. The majority of game reserves do not allow hunting on their premises, but in some areas hunting is allowed but carefully monitored. Game reserves provide a place for endangered animals to thrive in their natural habitat.

Typically a game reserve is an area of land that is marked as protected from hunters and poachers. These areas are created in order to protect animal species that are typically hunted for food or sport and which are often referred to as "game". Building and construction is also not permitted within reserve boundaries. The creation of these protected areas allows these animals to thrive without the threat of hunting and human encroachment on their habitat.

Although most game reserves prohibit hunting, some do allow it. For example, the Selous Game Reserve in Tanzania permits hunting in specific parts of the park. While hunting is permitted, it is strictly monitored by the government. The revenue from hunting permits is given back to the reserve, and is a significant source of income for the park.


These areas of land may be owned and run by states and countries. Game reserves can also be owned by private individuals, and may be open to public use or preserved for private use. One game reserve in Kenya, the Masai Mara, is owned by the indigenous people known as the Masai.

The majority of game reserves are found on the African continent. Not only are animals protected in these areas, but they also function as tourist attractions. While some parks do not allow visitors, others encourage them. Tourists visit the reserves in order to participate in safaris on which they can view animals such as elephants, lions, and antelope. Tourist resorts and lodges may be set up around the reserve to provide visitors with easy access to the area.

It is not unusual for visitors to come to game reserves to view the resident animals, visit scenic areas, and participate in outdoor activities. Often these areas are located in spots of great natural beauty, which is another draw to these regions. Game reserve owners may also encourage activities such as rock climbing or snorkeling, depending on the area.


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