Rolling wooded mountains cut by deep rocky ravines and majestic gorges make Welgevonden Game Reserve an evocative piece of Africa. Aptly meaning ‘well found’, this is a place of rare and rugged beauty, plentiful wildlife and prolific birdlife.
- Big Five Game Reserve
- Malaria Free Area
- Size of Welgevonden Game Reserve – almost 40 000ha, all of which is available to Makweti’s guests for exploration
- Over 50 different animals & 300 bird species
Welgevonden is home to over 50 different mammals, including the Big Five. There are rare and unusual species too, such as brown hyena, pangolin, aardwolf and aardvark – all best seen at night.
The grassy plains abound with antelope from the largest eland to the diminutive duiker, and cheetah, lion and leopard are always close by. It is the diversity of habitat on the reserve that encourages such a wide range of wildlife as well as over 300 bird species, including rare blue cranes.
At almost 40 000ha in size, Welgevonden Game Reserve lies in the Waterberg plateau, about 250km north of Johannesburg. Here guests enjoy unlimited traversing through the reserve and experience an environment where biodiversity conservation and game viewing are managed in harmony. Welgevonden protects a unique and special environment and the reserve’s management is deeply committed to ongoing conservation research and development.
The evocative wilderness area offers an exclusive, intimate experience of the African bush with only a limited number of guests having access to the reserve at any one time. No private vehicles are permitted, which ensures minimal human impact and the ultimate wilderness experience. Historically, wildlife on the reserve has never been hunted so game viewing is always up close and personal. There is also ancient and delicate Bushman rock art on Welgevonden.
Welgevonden offers the discerning visitor something completely different. This is mountain bush-veld with rivers running through it and sweeping views to far horizons. It’s high altitude, temperate climate and malaria free makes it worth a visit all year round. Welgevonden is certainly one of the finest places to watch wildlife, sense wilderness and touch the spirit of true Africa
VISION FOR WELGEVONDEN
Private game reserves have an opportunity and thus responsibility to make a significant contribution to the protection of the country’s biodiversity. However, given the high capital and operational costs associated with setting up and running a game reserve, the ability for the private sector to deliver on this opportunity is very often dependent upon securing an acceptable financial return in the immediate to short-term.
The most frequent approach to achieve this is through the development of a high-margin, low-volume recreational tourism product, the success of which is generally dependant on the quality of game viewing on offer. Consequently, biodiversity objectives are frequently compromised in order to satisfy short-term game viewing demands, and inappropriate management practices have resulted in severe habitat deterioration in numerous private reserves across the country. This trend has been greatly exacerbated by the increasingly competitive nature of the upper-end game lodge industry, and the apparent conflict between the economy and ecology of ecotourism threatens to undermine its promise as a sustainable land-use practice for private conservation areas. This conflict almost certainly represents the single biggest challenge facing private conservation in South Africa.
Although many of its members are stakeholders in the ecotourism industry, Welgevonden does not rely directly on tourism income for its financial security and this means that the reserve’s strategic planning is not vulnerable to the volatile market conditions that characterize this industry. This fortuitous position provides Welgevonden with an opportunity to take a longer-term approach to ensure the ecological integrity of the reserve going forward and to ensure that the associated tourism product retains its vitality and competitiveness well into the future. Delivery on this opportunity, however, requires a clear management vision for the reserve