SNAMImage Source: AIRBUS

Wings of Conservation: Airbus H125 Safeguards SA Wildlife


David Simelane, the chief pilot of SANParks, South African National Parks, orchestrates Airbus H125 helicopters' ballet to protect biodiversity in Kruger National Park. With aerial prowess, the fleet aids anti-poaching efforts and conducts wildlife census, ensuring the sanctuary's vitality. Simelane details the H125's versatility, from combatting poaching to medical missions. This avian guardian not only soars against adversity but becomes a lifeline in critical situations, solidifying its indispensable role in safeguarding South Africa's natural treasures.


In the vast expanse of Kruger National Park, where nature's symphony unfolds, Airbus H125 helicopters choreograph a unique ballet, safeguarding South Africa's wildlife under the vigilant command of Chief Pilot David Simelane from SANParks, the custodian of these natural wonders.

With a fleet soon to expand to four, the H125 helicopters and their dedicated team of 11, including four skilled pilots, play a pivotal role in preserving the park's biodiversity. Simelane, a maestro in the skies, orchestrates aerial maneuvers that transcend conventional roles, ensuring the safety of Kruger National Park's inhabitants.

"Why does the H125 make sense for SANPARKS?" - Simelane elucidates the H125's agility, spacious interiors, robust power, and versatility, seamlessly transitioning from a utility craft to a VIP transport. The ease of piloting adds a feather to its cap, making it an ideal choice for SANParks' expansive responsibilities.

In the relentless battle against poaching, Simelane reflects on the past decade's challenges and triumphs. The H125, with its 500 hours of flying between August and September, becomes a stalwart in anti-poaching missions. Flying low, it scrutinizes the park, ensuring rhino and elephant populations remain intact. The helicopter's role extends beyond surveillance; it becomes a savior, rescuing an orphaned rhino and swiftly transporting a doctor to a ranger trampled by a buffalo.

"Do you often use the helicopter for medical and veterinary missions?" - Simelane unveils the H125's role as SANParks' versatile workhorse. From de-horning rhinos to urgent medical interventions, the helicopter's adaptability shines. With doors slid back and a vet onboard, it becomes a lifeline in critical situations, showcasing its significance beyond the skies.

"How does the H125’s performance support the operations?" - The unforgiving environment demands a uniform fleet for consistency. The H125's performance shines in this challenging terrain, overcoming density altitude challenges and excelling in extreme conditions. Its ability to fly with doors open aids census activities, providing a panoramic view crucial for wildlife monitoring.

As Simelane navigates the H125 through the skies, the helicopter's impact reverberates. From combatting poaching to medical and veterinary missions, it emerges as a guardian angel, ensuring the continuity of life within Kruger National Park's boundaries.


In the heart of Kruger National Park, where the rhythms of nature echo, the Airbus H125 emerges not just as a machine but as a guardian of South Africa's natural heritage. Under the skilled hands of Chief Pilot David Simelane, it weaves through the skies, protecting biodiversity, combating poaching, and extending a lifeline in critical moments. The H125's versatility transforms it into an indispensable ally in SANParks' mission to preserve and nurture the splendor of Kruger National Park. As it soars against challenges, the H125 becomes the winged sentinel, ensuring that the symphony of South African wildlife continues to play for generations to come.

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