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May 25, 2015
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Cape Sugar Birds in Abundance

Cape Sugar Bird at Gondwana

Winter is just around the corner and with it brings an explosion of flowers, amongst which is one of Gondwana’s most common protea species, the bearded protea. Along with the flowering Proteas come the Cape Sugarbird, an endemic species to the region. Several Sugarbirds have already made their migration down from the higher altitude areas where […]

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May 18, 2015
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Termites | Interesting Facts

termites

One afternoon during a short, sunny break on a rainy day, the skies became a buzz of life. Millions and millions of small flying insects seemed to have appeared out of the earth and taken flight.  I soon realized this was a very rare occurrence and these earth bending insects were fertile termites seeking to […]

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May 11, 2015
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The Cape Autumn Widow

Cape Autumn Widow

As we spend allot of time in the bush at Gondwana Game Reserve, we do not need a calendar to tell us that Autumn is soon approaching. Nature speaks to us in many ways! One of the ways it communicates is through the recent influx of the Cape Autumn Widow. This Butterfly is only found at […]

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May 8, 2015
Comments Off on In the Spirit of Mothers Day, We Honour Our Mammoth Mothers of the Wild

In the Spirit of Mothers Day, We Honour Our Mammoth Mothers of the Wild

mom and baby elephant Gondwana

Elephants are dedicated and caring mothers to their calves and provide emotional and physical support for three to five years, and may only wean in their tenth year of life or until a sibling is born. Mothers and daughters remain together for their entire lives. Family groups consist of an older matriarch, her daughters and […]

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April 28, 2015
Comments Off on Hippo’s Take Charge by Lizaan Claasen

Hippo’s Take Charge by Lizaan Claasen

Hippo At Gondwana

Hippo bulls are usually extremely territorial which leads to aggression. This aggression is not only relevant towards other hippo bulls but also to other animals, especially predators as we noticed one afternoon at Gondwana Game Reserve. One afternoon near the end of a game drive we followed a male lion to a near by watering […]

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April 20, 2015

The Nonchalant Caracal – Rangers Diary

Near the end of our morning game drive on Gondwana Game Reserve, en-route back to breakfast at Kwena Lodge, I decided to make a small detour. Just then in the middle of the road we found a beautiful young, male caracal, walking very elegantly and relaxed. He paid no attention to us allowing us to follow and admire him for quite a distance.

While we were discussing the impressiveness of this feline member and just as I mentioned how lions should envy this little predator for being a far superior hunter, the young cat leaped into action. He pounced over the road into a nearby helicrysum stand, scurrying around for a fraction of a second and stopped. Turning around he revealed his prize, a nice big fat gerbil pinned in his jaws.

It was surprising to see him start feeding right in front of us, not concerned at all about our presence. A good couple of minutes went by, allowing us to admire this amazing species who are usually very shy and nocturnal hunters by nature. They are capable of taking down prey about three times their size and can jump three meters into the air to catch a bird in mid flight.

When he was done with his breakfast, he stood up, walked five meters away and lay down just staring at us. The resemblance to a domestic cat lifestyle was uncanny; it lay looking at us, distant and content after the meal, conserving its energy. This was truly a once in a lifetime sighting. By Field Guide, PG Coetzee

Caracal at Gondwanacaracal GondwanaCaracal and gerbil GondwanaCaracal feeding

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March 12, 2015

Conservation in the Western Cape: Preserving wildlife, protecting vegetation and uplifting the local community

 Situated in South Africa’s Garden Route, Gondwana Game Reserve is more than just host to a beautiful 5-star lodge. Set over 11 000 hectares, the property also takes great pride in placing focus on nature conservation.  The reserve is now home to the non-profit organisation, The Gondwana Conservation Foundation (GCF), upholding four fundamental pillars: The Protection of Endangered Wildlife, The Protection of Endangered Vegetation, Community Upliftment and Environmental Education.

With over 10 000 guests from around the world engaging at Gondwana, these important conversations become part of the safari experience and are spread through visitors’ powerful word of mouth.

Black Rhino Gondwana Game Reserve

Black Rhino

Protection of Endangered Wildlife:

The GCF places focus on the relocation and long term sustainability of the endangered rhino species, cheetah, bontebok and Cape Mountain zebra.  Through the provision of habitat and prey species, precise and consistent monitoring of the animals, extensive research and implementation and training of anti-poaching units, the foundation seeks to cover all angles of protecting these precious creatures.  Their flagship project, Rainbow Rhino Project initiative is specifically aimed at combating rhino-poaching on the reserve through skills and technology development.

The project has a 10 year plan of introducing 165 individual rhino into reserves across Africa and 108 trained anti-poaching soldiers. Through the use of a state of the art anti-poaching training facility and utilizing various technologies to enhance anti-poaching methods, the project ensures that rhino calves will be born into a safe environment.  Within this period it is estimated that over 550 rhino will be protected through the foundation’s trained soldiers.
 

Protection of Endangered Vegetation:

Gondwana Game Reserve is also home to one of the most critically endangered vegetation types on earth, fynbos. Forming part of The Cape Floristic Kingdom, fynbos is endemic to the Southern Cape of South Africa.  The GCF works towards the rehabilitation and promotion of biodiversity of the fynbos ecosystem. Achieved through specialised teams executing erosion control, removing alien vegetation, ensuring sustainable fire management and promoting water conservation within wetland systems, the programme is actively preserving one of the most unique environments in the world.  Currently the foundation is involved in one of the largest privately driven land rehabilitation programs within the Southern Cape. There are over 60 local individuals that have been employed within the program with the majority of the contracts estimated to extend over a six year period. 

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October 9, 2014

Gondwana introduces 800 new animals including an additional family herd of 5 elephant!

Garden Route, South Africa: South Africa’s biggest reserve in the Southern Cape, the 11,000 hectare Gondwana Game Reserve has kicked off the summer season with a bang with many exciting wildlife introductions taking place recently. Herds of Eland and Gemsbok have already arrived as well as hundreds of Blue Wildebeest, Springbok, Red Hartebeest and Waterbuck who also recently set hoof on the reserve. Several exciting large game releases are also on the horizon including a pod of hippo, and a new female cheetah, which is a critically endangered species. The new mammoth herbivores, including 2 adult female elephants and their 3 young, are settling in nicely and have met up briefly with the reserve’s resident herd of elephant.  And not to be out done, Gondwana’s pride of lion welcome two new cubs which were recently seen on game drive for the first time since their mother was denning.  These introductions have taken the reserve’s wildlife population to the highest density it has ever been and further cement Gondwana’s reputation as the leading Big 5 safari experience in the Western Cape.

Gondwana Game Reserve is the only free roaming Big 5 wildlife reserve in the Southern Cape.  Expert field guides reveal African wildlife to guests on game drives set in a spectacular Cape Fynbos environment surrounded by the Outeniqua Mountains. Conservation and sustainable management of the indigenous flora and fauna is a key objective. Gondwana supports some of the most critically endangered vegetation types in the world. These areas would have been under intensive threat if under an alternative land use. Green rolling hills and undulating valleys are blanketed in colourful fynbos, adding special interest to a Big Five Safari experience.

In addition to sustainable land management, proactive conservation efforts at Gondwana include a sustainable honey production programme as well as an Endangered Species Protection Programme. The reserve has invested in the reintroduction of species that have been on the verge of extinction including the endangered desert black rhinoceros, bontebok, cheetah and Cape Mountain Zebra, providing a truly unique safari experience and exhilarating wildlife encounters.  The vastness of the reserve, coupled with the area’s Mediterranean climate and terrain, make the land well suited to multiple species of game which are frequently seen by the game lodge guests. Book your stay to experience the breathtaking wildlife family of Gondwana Game Reserve first hand.

Elephant introduction Gondwana

Lucy Rutherfoord assisting with elephant release

elephant release on Gondwana

New Elephant herd taking in their new surroundings

red hartebeest release Gondwana

red hartebeest being released

red hartebeest after release

Home Sweet Home for Red Hartebeest

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August 12, 2014

Gondwana Celebrates World Elephant Day

Gondwana celebrates World Elephant Day today and recognizes the impact it’s herd has had on the Southern Cape.  Its elephant herd was established from 4 adult individuals who came from some form of confinement or limited space and needed to be released into a larger area allowing them to roam free, forage and interact naturally.  Gondwana has provided a sanctuary for these “orphaned” elephants for the last 7 years.  The successful release and rehabilitation process of these two adult males and female elephants has lead to the first two wild elephant calves being born in the Southern Cape in the last 200 years.  This now fully established breeding herd provides critical information for elephant conservation in the Western Cape of South Africa including habitat utilization and social dynamics.  With a greater understanding now of elephant in a Fynbos environment, Gondwana is excited to be introducing an additional herd this winter to join these iconic pioneers.

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June 22, 2014

Gondwana nominated for Conde Nast Readers’ Choice award.

“Thank you for nominating Gondwana for this fantastic award which puts the power in the guests hands!  For more than 25 years, Condé Nast Traveler’s Readers’ Choice Awards have produced the most trusted and comprehensive listings of your favorite hotels, resorts, cities, islands, airlines, and cruise lines. This year Conde Nast is eager to hear even more. Did you travel with family or friends, or were you on a business trip? To whom would you recommend your experiences, and was your trip worth the cost?  Results will be published in November.

Gondwana would appreciate your support in evaluating your experience with us on the Conde Nast website.The Readers Choice Awards are quite extensive, so you will need to be patient to get to Gondwana.  You need to start by clicking Africa, then South Africa and then Cape Town and/or Knysna.  You will then be asked general questions about these cities.  At this stage the questionnaire will ask you about hotels you stayed in and provide a list of nominated hotels for South Africa.  You can just select Kwena Lodge, Gondwana Game Reserve which is listed towards the end of the SA hotel list in the Western Cape section or also tick other hotels in SA you would like to rate.  You will then be asked questions about your experience.  After this they will ask you about flights, cruises, ski vacations, etc and you can select N/A if you do not want to rate any of these.  Thank you in advance for your time and support. http://www.cntraveler.com/vote/readers-choice-survey-2014

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