Author Archives Vanessa

June 6, 2014

Own A Bush Home in an African Fynbos Paradise with the Big 5 on your Door Step

South African Safari Living at its Best!

Gondwana Game Reserve offers Holiday Homes for Nature Lovers, Beach Goers and Golfers alike

Mossel Bay, Garden Route: Holiday homes that perform double duties are growing in popularity.

Gondwana Game Reserve  is a luxury bush resort in the heart of the Garden Route where owners can not only seek out the ‘Big Five’ amid 27,000 acres of spectacular South African wilderness, but can easily complement their safari holiday with year-round swimming, surfing or golf. What’s more, thanks to favourable exchange rates – currently with a keen 15-plus rand to the pound – Gondwana is currently a British bargain-hunter’s dream.

Located only 30 minutes inland from the coastal town of Mossel Bay, Gondwana is the only game reserve in the Southern Cape with property for sale. Its accessible location in the Garden Route renowned for its beautiful coastline offers multiple lifestyles in one place so that people can maximise the use of their holiday home and make their investment go that bit further. Freehold title plots with 2.5 acres from only ZAR 1 million / £65,000 whilst stylish turnkey thatched lodges – with three bedrooms and a wrap-around verandah for enjoying barbecues and sundowners – are available at only ZAR 3.5 million / £228,000. Gondwana offers its Private Residence owners the ultimate luxury… space to enjoy their natural surroundings with no neighbours in sight from your home.

Gondwana is a place where the Big 5 game (lion, elephant, buffalo, rhino and leopard) roam free but where you can go surfing or golfing a few miles down the road. Gondwana has 27,000 acres of beautiful and what feels like remote African bush, with views that stretch across untouched valleys to the majestic Swartberg, Langeberg, and Outeniqua Mountain Ranges. The beach, however, is less than 30 minutes away. Mossel Bay is a charming town with a number of huge unspoilt beaches, as well as a good range of restaurants and shops for picking up groceries and top private hospitals if needed. Numerous championship seaside golf courses such as Pinnacle Point, Pezula, Oubaai and Fancourt are also within easy reach for a game of golf.  Another big draw of this location is the proximity to cosmopolitan Cape Town and the Cape Winelands which makes for a vibrant city break or wine country weekend.

Lion cubs at Gondwana

Gondwana has 15 stunning residential home sites left for sale. The homes are complemented by an Afro-chic owners’ club house with infinity pool and a luxury boutique lodge with a bush spa and gourmet restaurant. Residents have access to bespoke safari-style services such as game drives with expert field guides, housekeeping, private chefs, babysitting and transfers.

Bush Villa Lounge Area

Getting there

Accessibility and being in the same time zone as the UK is key in making Gondwana an easy choice for time-pressed residents. Fly from London to either Johannesburg or Cape Town (11 hours). Then take a 1-hour inland flight to George Domestic Airport (45 minute transfer to Gondwana). Alternatively it’s an easy four hours’ scenic drive on the N2 / Garden Route from Cape Town.

What you need to know: 

1-hectare free hold title home sites available from R1 million or large land parcels for complete exclusivity within the reserve boundary (free hold title large deeds approximately 250-500 hectares in size) within the reserve boundary are available from R4.5 million. Or for a turnkey solution buy a bush home completed to high standard, plot and plan prices start at R3.5 million for a 3-bedroom lodge. For enquiries please contact the developer Mark Rutherfoord: + 27 44 697 7077 and visit the reserve’s website http://www.gondwanagr.co.za.

For Press enquiries: Beate Pechmann ,PR Consultant, beate@bp-pr.com

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February 4, 2014

Gondwana’s Private Residences featured in the UK Sunday Times

Click here to read article They’re a Game Bunch!

Gondwana Game Reserve recently appeared in the UK Sunday Times. Zoe Dare Hall chats to the owners of Gondwana to learn more about how the private bush estate came about and how you too can own your own piece of safari luxury in South Africa. Gondwana is a once in a lifetime investment in conservation and in your family.  The first of its kind in the Western Cape, Gondwana offers the chance to own a bush home on a 26,000 acre, Big 5, malaria-free game reserve ideally located in the Garden Route.  Only a few private residences remain from the Developer within this 5 star game reserve with world-class facilities on your door step and the ultimate luxury . . . space to enjoy your natural surroundings. Despite the reserve’s great location and accessibility near the charming coastal town of Mossel Bay, it is secluded and remote giving a feeling of being in the middle of nowhere with an awe inspiring landscape.  It shares the areas’ renowned temperate climate, second in the world to Hawaii’s, and is Malaria free, offering prime year round game viewing. Imagine co-existing with herds of wildlife in a vast and beautiful place. . .

Bush Villa Lounge at Gondwana Game Reserve

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December 10, 2013

Happy Trails

The newly established Quagga Hiking Trail is now open to guests to meander and explore the fynbos clad valleys in the 1200 hectare predator free area of Gondwana Game Reserve. Hikers can now amble on foot and see the many treasures on the reserve with points of interest signposted. The trail traverses an area rich in biodiversity that is largely inaccessible to even 4×4 vehicles, while providing the nature lover with the opportunity to marvel at the abundance of indigenous flora while keeping an eye out for rare and endangered animals such as the Cape Mountain Zebra. The trail has been named after the Cape Mountain Zebra that is informally referred to as the Berg Quagga by the local people.  The name quagga is derived from the zebra’s call, which sounds like “kwa-ha-ha.

The 2.5km circular trail is open to all ages and can easily be completed within 45minutes. The walk starts from the Milkwood Valley ridge before descending into a valley where the trail strolls and straddles a non-perennial stream that attracts various indigenous bird and mammal species.

hiking info Gondwana

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December 10, 2013

Gondwana Joins Africa Live App

Africa Live helps you find and share real-time African animal sightings on your phone or tablet as well as generate data for conservation.The live safari sightings map shows you what animals are near you right now and allows you to easily and immediately share your sightings with people around the world. It is a must-have for any African safari, and now Gondwana Game Reserve has been added to its sightings map.

Africa live App can be downloaded FREE on android devices via google play and on apple devices via the Apple iStore. Offline maps including the Gondwana Game Reserve map can be purchased within the app by clicking offline maps.  Gondwana’s rangers will be posting sightings regularly so you can stay in the loop on the location and time of sighting.

EACH TIME YOU POST A SIGHTING

– The location, species, activity, time, date and photos are saved electronically and shared with the conservation bodies such as Endangered Wildlife Trust.
– Over 11 000 unique sightings have been recorded so far.

– This Historical data is recorded and can be viewed on the Historical sightings map. This data provides insights into animal distributions, population    densities as well as range and migration patterns.

– Rhino sightings do not appear. The app can be used to report signs of poaching.

For more information please check out the Africa Live  website for more details.

We look forward to seeing your posts.

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December 10, 2013

A Cracker of a year for Wildlife

As 2013 comes to a close, we are able to look back on the past year with smiles on our faces, love in our hearts and a little mud on our hiking boots…The year began with a BANG as we welcomed our third buffalo calf into the Gondwana herd, just after our first elephant calf was born on Christmas Day 2012, not to be outdone by three more lion cubs born in March and another ellie calf in June!   We were more than ecstatic to welcome a number of new “wild members” to our existing family with the introduction of 164 animals throughout the year! Gondwana became home to a large herd of Blue Wildebeest, 5 Giraffe, Waterbuck and a flock of Ostrich (Lets not forget our new resident hippo “Marley”)

As the reserve flourishes with new furry citizens, somewhere in the bushes lurks a one eyed, plump little bush pig called Fat Amy. 2013 was not only a great year for new introductions but animal rehabilitation as well. In March of this year we welcomed the ever famous and always loved Thandora who was rehabilitated back into the wild and released in May. Other rehabilitations which occurred on GGR included a caracal, aptly named Ayoka, meaning  little arrow as well as the release of the bush pig always loves a belly scratch, Fat Amy. We can be proud of our little and big furry friends this year for all their contributions to the reserve’s growing biodiversity.  We would like to thank each and every person who has been part of Gondwana’s story this year contributing to the success of the reserve.

lion cubs at Gondwana

Elephant calf born on Gondwana

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October 25, 2013

Gondwana Game Reserve’s chef sees the bigger picture

AMADUMBE SOUP

True to country life, Gondwana Game Reserve’s recently-appointed chef, Christo Nortier, believes in fresh, natural food; and in supporting local, organic farmers – those practicing sustainable agriculture.

“Balance in life, nature and food is difficult to maintain yet worth the effort,” he says. “I want Gondwana to be a positive force in the lives of the people who become involved in it; and to delight Gondwanas’ discerning guests with delicious cuisine made from high quality local ingredients.”

Christo plans to make community awareness a key component of his efforts. His first step is to bridge the knowledge gap between the local food producers and the local consumers of food. “I aim to help establish a meaningful community connection,” he adds. “One of the best ways for sustainable farming to be understood by the neighbouring community is for education to take place. Giving local farmers new distribution channels for food and information are Gondwana’s fervent contributions to this developing process.”

With accolades worth bragging about – including working for Jamie Oliver, as well as Jamie’s mentor and friend, Gennaro Contaldo, “where I grew in leaps and bounds as operation chef” – Christo promises to amaze visitors to Gondwana Private Game Reserve with irresistible, tantalising treats.

”I like to pay homage to the great dishes and styles of cooking that have evolved since the beginning of time and to put my own little spin on them,” says the man who also helped with the opening of Jamie’s Italian, Dubai and eight other outlets in the UK.

The recipe I wish to share is an innovative example of putting an African spin on a traditional European dish by using amadumbe (yams) and biltong.

Amadumbe Soup

Moving from very simple ideas, to more of a fine dining sensation, I illustrate the unique quality and adaptability of amadumbe by creating this creamy amadumbe soup. With the addition of a velvety smooth spicy biltong ice cream, sliced biltong, crispy leeks and garlic chips this dish is a texture explosion. It’s one of my favourites. (Alternatively, you could use biltong-flavoured cream rather than ice cream. Both will do, but the extreme temperature difference makes this soup extraordinary.)

Yields: 2/4 portions

Ingredients:

Biltong  & Thyme Ice Cream

Yields: 300 ml

3 g salted Butter

3 ml sunflower Oil

45g White Onions, sliced

5 g Coriander Powder

3 g Whole Peppercorns

150 g Biltong, sliced

500 ml Cream

5 Egg Yolks

5 ml Golden Syrup

Salt to taste

*Leeks

1 Leek, finely sliced in 5cm slices and deep fried until crispy

*Biltong

20 g Biltong, sliced thinly

*Parsley Oil

Yields: about 100 ml

125 ml fresh Parsley

100 ml Sunflower Oil

*Garlic Chips

4 Garlic Cloves, finely sliced with a potato peeler

Full Cream milk for poaching

Sunflower Oil for frying

*Soup

Yields: about 400ml

25 g salted Butter

8 ml Sunflower Oil

80 g White Onions, sliced

250 g Amadumbi’s

125 g Potatoes

500 ml Water

Method:

Ice Cream

1) Heat a pan; add butter and oil – sauté onions and garlic, add spices and then biltong.  Finish with cream; bring to the boil for two minutes.  Turn this off and cover with plastic to infuse for 10 minutes and develop the flavour

2) Beat the egg yolks and glucose until light and fluffy

3) Blend well and strain the cream mixture, heat slightly and add to egg yolk mixture slowly

4) Cool and then churn in an ice cream machine.  If an ice cream machine is not available place chilled mixture into freezer.  Whisk every 30 minutes until frozen to allow for a light and fluffy ice cream

 Parsley Oil

5) Liquidize parsley with sunflower oil together and strain, set aside

 Garlic Chips

6) Poach the garlic chips in milk three times changing the milk every time.  This will prevent the garlic from going bitter on frying.  Remove from milk and place onto paper towelling

7) Fry garlic chips very slowly in warmish oil to allow even cooking and set aside on paper towelling

 Soup

8 ) Heat a heavy based pot; add butter, oil and then onions.  Caramelise very well.  Add peeled and chopped amadumbis and potatoes, sauté and then cover with the water amount

9) Lightly simmer until potatoes are cooked, liquidise and strain

10) Add an additional 500 ml water, or so, on service when heating to get this soup to the correct consistency.  This soup must be seasoned very well

On serving

11) Pour a portion of soup within a soup bowl, top with a smallish ball of ice cream.  Top with finely sliced biltong, garlic chips and crispy leeks and a drizzle of parley oil

Apart from meals to tickle taste buds, the award-winning, five-star, 11 000-hectare private game reserve on the Cape’s Garden Route is the only fynbos reserve in the world with free-roaming Big Five game.

For all reservation enquiries please contact Gondwana Game Reserve by email at reservations@gondwanagr.co.za or by telephone on +27 (0)21 424 5430.

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October 7, 2013

Big Bird in Africa

GGR secretary bird

A large and distinctive bird of prey, the secretary bird is said to take its name from the elongated distinguishing feathers on the back of its neck. These spatula shaped feathers are believed to give the secretary bird the appearance of an old-fashioned secretary who would carry quill-pens tucked behind the ears. More recently, scientists believe that the name is derived from the Arabic word “saar-et-tair”, which translates directly to hunter and flight which may have been mistranslated through the ages.

Secretary Birds usually pair for life and are faithful to their nest site. The nest is normally an untidy bunch of twigs placed in a fork of a tree. The nest will grow over time as more kindling is added.  Secretary birds raise two, occasionally three young on a diet of small mammals and reptiles. The secretary bird is an opportunistic feeder , prey includes hares, mongoose, snakes, lizards, amphibians, freshwater crabs, and birds up to the size of guinea fowl, as well as their eggs.

In South Africa, there is a considerable concern about the conservation status of the species. There has been a substantial reduction in population size and have vanished from several areas. The most likely reason behind this is the loss of suitable habitat, and power line collisions.

Gondwana Game Reserve hosts several breeding pairs that stalk through the long grass.  By setting land aside for conservation purposes, the protection of a dwindling secretary bird population is fostered.

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September 30, 2013

The Elusive Cape Leopard

Elusive and mysterious, this shadow-walking predator is just one of the species which reside on Gondwana Game Reserve. occupy a home range of between 120-250km2 and despite what many believe, Cape Leopards do not only prowl caves but rather find appropriate areas to rest as they move. Preying upon dassies, small antelope and mice, the Cape Leopard rarely includes group-living animals in their diet as they usually hunt alone.

With less than 1000 Cape Leopards remaining in the wild, Gondwana Conservation efforts are heavily underway. Regarded as a “problem-animal” (a damage causing animal) on farms within the Cape, the Cape Leopard is being largely hunted out due to their instinctual killing of livestock. With Conservation efforts being poured into the protection of these majestic predators, farmers and conservation groups are slowly but surely starting to find a common ground between the removal of these animals on livestock farms and moving them to reserves such as Gondwana Game Reserve.  In an attempt to catch a glimpse of this obscure predator as well as learn about their movements, behaviour and breeding, Gondwana’s wildlife team members as well as guides have started a monitoring project around these animals. Placing stealth cameras in areas which could possibly be home to Cape Leopards such as caves and rocky mountain slopes, caves alike are being scouted for spoor and scat as well as any indicators that they may have passed by. Previous attempts in monitoring  and tracking the Cape Leopard on Gondwana have resulted in findings of prey carcasses hanging in trees, spoor and scat.

Having been unsuccessful in our treasure hunt for a clear photograph of this mysterious predator thus far, efforts are still in the foundation phase. Until then…the hunt shall continue..

Written by Taylor Hawkins

Cape Leopard

Image: source

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September 26, 2013

Endangered Bontebok

One of the rarest antelope species in Southern Africa has found sanctuary on the plains of Gondwana Game Reserve. The handsome bontebok antelope naturally occur only in a little stretch along the southern coast of South Africa namely the Cape Floristic Region. Bontebok were hunted so extensively in the early 1800s by colonists that only 22 individuals remained. Overhunted and unprotected, the Van Breda, Van Bijl and Albertyn families of the Bredasdorp district enclosed their farms with stock fences to protect the dwindling population. Fortunately,  bontebok are poor jumpers and unlike antelope such as kudu and eland, scaling a 1.5m fence is too much effort.  By the huge conservation efforts of these three families, bontebok have been re-established in several conservation areas including Gondwana, and the current national population is well over 3000 individuals.

The Bontebok name is derived from the striking coat colouring which originates from the Dutch settlers that colonised the Southern Cape in the early 1600s.  The Bontebok has a rich coffee coloured coat with a purplish tinge. The face , rear and belly seem as if they have been dipped in a smooth white chocolate.

Gondwana currently hosts a small but growing population of these endangered animals and every birth marks a  significant contribution to conserving a species that we nearly lost.

Read more about our Gondwana’s Conservation efforts here

Gondwana Bontebok

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