Caleo Foundation is a small not for profit conservation organisation established in Switzerland with inflamed passion for nature, wildlife, art and medical research. Lead by our mission and conservation ethics to protect, restore and sustain wildlife and flora resources.


Caleo Foundation Switzerland

 “I met a very dynamic Carmen for the first time in 2001, two years after the death of her beloved husband, Dr. Dr. Leopold Philipp Ellinger. Leopold was heir to an old Spanish sugar fortune, and Carmen was adamant that their wealth should serve a good cause. On her birthday in 2004, Carmen founded the non-profit CALEO Foundation – its name a combination of both their first names. Its sole, but wide-reaching purpose: the protection of nature and wildlife, and the promotion of art.”

Juerg Greter, Member of the CALEO Foundation Board CALEO Foundation


In 2009, Carmen came to South Africa for the first time and immediately fell in love with its wildlife, nature and landscape. Keenly interested in research and development work in South Africa, not only did she find a home in Africa for herself, but she established a purpose for the CALEO Foundation honouring her beloved late husband.


In 2012, the board of the CALEO Foundation (South Africa) resolved to establish an external company to focus on the protection of threatened ecosystems and endangered wildlife. It purchased Sanbona Wildlife Reserve in the Klein Karoo region of the Western Cape as well as a concession in the southern area of the Kruger National Park in Mpumalanga called Jock Safari Lodge.


Together they reflect Dr. Carmen Elvira Ellinger-Mühleder’s and the foundation’s, desire to protect threatened ecosystems and endangered wildlife. Determined to share them with others, today both Sanbona Wildlife Reserve and Jock Safari Lodge are places to visit for the quintessential African wildlife experiences they offer, the former in an arid, fragile landscape of rare beauty, the latter in a region rich with animals, birds and other creatures.


Dr. Leopold & Carmen Ellinger Foundation

In 1999, following Dr. Dr. Leopold Philipp Ellinger’s death from heart disease, his estate established a foundation for research into cardiovascular illness. Since then, it has supported fat stem cell research at Tulane University, New Orleans, and the Proscan Project into cancer research at the Paul Scherrer Institute, Switzerland. Currently the foundation works with the University of Cape Town on a student programme in collaboration with the Universities of Santiago (Chile) and California (Berkeley), and with California’s Stanford University.


Caleo Foundation South Africa

In South Africa, the CALEO Foundation is custodian of both Sanbona Wildlife Reserve in the Western Cape, not far from Cape Town, and Jock Safari Lodge in the KNP. The sole aim of the foundation is to preserve and protect nature and wilderness areas whilst providing guests with the opportunity to experience and appreciate nature in its purest form without leaving a negative impact.


Purchase of Sanbona Wildlife Reserve

In October 2015, Sanbona Wildlife Reserve became the property of the CALEO Foundation. Diverse and unique, this vast reserve’s top priority today is to manage conservation sensitively while preserving and refining the area’s ecological, commercial and social integrity. In line with its conservation ethics, and its mission to restore and sustain endangered wildlife and flora for the benefit of future generations, one of the CALEO Foundation’s projects involves reintroducing wildlife that were eradicated from the region centuries ago. Species known to have roamed freely have been reintroduced and, today, both Cape mountain zebras and rhinos are being returned to the protected Klein Karoo habitat enclosed within the perimeter of Sanbona Wildlife Reserve.


Purchase of the concession of Jock Safari Lodge

The purchase in 2016 of Jock Safari Lodge was also in line with the CALEO Foundation’s conservation ethics to protect, restore and sustain wildlife and flora resources, and the unique habitats in which they flourish so that future generations will be able to enjoy them. A priority, the fight against the scourge of rhino poaching, led the foundation to purchase monitoring vehicles. Working closely with SANParks, the team at Jock Safari Lodge also focus on protecting fragile, unique ecosystems in and around the concession.