Kriegershoek Nature Reserve was born from an old farm of about 3600 hectares, tucked away in the arid Great Karoo, Eastern Cape, South Africa. Since December 2005 it has been a private reserve and serves as a stronghold for the region’s most endangered game species: mountain zebra, black wildebeest, red hartebeest, and gemsbok. The nature reserve is free of malaria and bilharzia, a safe and private environment. The climate is pleasant, 300 km from the damp and fickle climate of the coast, and the Karoo region is said to have the cleanest air in the world.
After the purchase of the farm in 2005 a management plan was drawn up for environmental restoration by Dr. Ken Coetzee, biologist and environmentalist, after consultation with the Provincial Nature Conservation in Graaff-Reinet. For the first few years the veld needed some rest to recover from overgrazing, erosion and neglect. Before reintroducing game, the flora had to recover sufficiently. Also a game fence had to be erected at the external boundaries to get an official license as a reserve (CAE, Certificate Adequate Enclosure). There is an internal fence surrounding the homestead, but no public roads, and no piped municipal water, just clean spring water. Between 350mm and 600 mm rainfall feeds springs and streams seasonally, and this treats us with nature’s best.
The landscape is typical of the Karoo but is distinguished by the mountains which back the plains, with those behind us reaching to about 1500 metres in height. The landscape is unusual and varied and gives an unspoiled and secluded feel. In front of the mansion there is an exquisite view over 25 kilometres of plains towards the town of Aberdeen and further on into the vastness of the Karoo, up to the mountains in the far, far distance.
The reserve is home a variety of game, plants, trees and birds. The 3600 hectares contain an incredible diversity of habitat and are home to an equal wide array of game species. In addition to the endangered species mentioned above, we also reintroduced the African eland, while we inherited from the previous owners kudu, blesbok, springbok, mountain reedbuck, klipspringer, grysbok, duiker, steenbok, aardvark, porcupine, lynx, jackal, mongoose, and large turtles, among others. With our giraffes we added a contentious customer who is seen as non-indigenous in the area, but is allowed its special presence. Among the large birds that are with us are blue cranes, storks, secretary birds, cory bustards and black eagles.
There is a network of dirt-roads available and the absence of large predators makes it the ideal sanctuary for walks and game drives. Kriegershoek Nature Reserve is privileged to offer direct contact with some of South Africa’s rarest animals.