Kruger officials raised their concerns about the escalating rhino crisis in South Africa. The root cause of poaching is high demand from Asia, but also at the core of the problem lie the poverty in Mozambique. Thats why Kabok is doing well as rhino town for poachers.

Kabok is built on rhino poaching

Kabok in Mozambique is a town that is getting wealthy by poaching rhinoKabok is a ‘rhino town’. The hidden village on the western border of Mozambique  is one of the strongholds for rhino poachers. They earn hundreds of  thousands euro’s with the trade in horns of killed rhino’s in South Africa. They are almost  untouchable. Nor the army, nor the police can arrest the gang leaders.

A dirt road leads to Kabok and everybody who is living there can see you coming from miles away. Once this was a desolated village at the South African border in western Mozambique, now it’s booming with new houses along the main road. Wealth built on rhino poaching.

In neighbouring South Africa, these mansions would be called matchboxes. Most are flat-roofed, single storey structures. But what separates these homes from the usual reed houses in Kabok is that they are made from brick. Which is extraordinary for this part of Africa.

The west of Mozambique is incredibly poor and the remnants of the civil war scar the landscape and the psyche of the people. War amputees wander the dirt roads. And weapons from the civil war between Fremlimo en Renamo are everywhere.

The new Kabok has been built on the horns of the hundreds of rhinos slaughtered just kilometers away in Kruger National Park. It is not alone – there are other towns spread along the border that lines Kruger National Park. They are the staging posts for rhino poachers.

rhino killed fot its horn

It’s no wonder that a lot of villages within the provinces of Gaza and Maputo in Mozambique have become havens for poachers. Villages as Chimangue, Machamba, Makandazulo B, Kabok  and Mavodze all show the fruits of their successes, while Massingir is believed to be the centre for up to six syndicates. The poachers operate in teams with a tracker, a shooter and a horn carrier and each crew is paid about thousands of US dollars per kilogram of horn of a rhino.

In South Africa Kabok has a long standing reputation of being a haven for robbers and hijackers who take refuge across the border. And the majority of residents in the Kabok mansions have become middlemen. They now recruit younger men to do their hunting and killing of rhino’s.

The Mozambican government is not taking any action against these poachers nests. For the South Africa autorities its quite difficult to catch these heavily armed gunmen who only have to cross the border for a few miles to kill another rhino.

Mozambican rhino poachers are seen as benefactors by their community: a kind of Robin Hood. The poachers share their wealth with the inhabitants of their village and thus get their protection.

More on rhino poaching and the battle against it, you can find at



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