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November 1, 2012

A Day in the Life of a Gondwana Horse

From the horses’ mouth…

If Gondwana’s horses could talk they would be able to write books full of stories. Our Shire horses have the best of both worlds: the wild horse herd experience that allow them to roam free and fight for their place in the hierarchy. They also have the luxury of being fed and groomed on a daily basis in their own personal stall.  Not to mention the regular visits from the ferrier for a manicure and pedicure. Talk about a stress-free life.

Although these particularly large horses seem intimidating at first, these gentle giants, as Shire’s are known, are more than happy to take a rider along the trails that wander throughout the 1000 hectare protected area with our endangered species.

Their lifestyle is so appealing that they even convinced a zebra to joint their herd. For a couple of months a plains Zebra, given the name Frank, joined the horse herd while the rest of his family went along their way. He would walk with them and come in for food in the morning and at night. He was not so keen on being groomed or ridden; he left that to his adopted family.

Our horses will soon be embarking on a 6 week holiday when they receive their African Horse Sickness injections. For that period it will be all play and no work.

Sounds like the good life to me.

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November 1, 2012

Whats in Bloom!

The spring flowers are out in carpets of oranges, yellows, purples and reds. As species such as the conspicuous Proteas become latent by the passing of winter, we are greeted by a fresh array of blooming plants. The increase in time of day has stimulated various plant species to flower and reproduce. The new season has encouraged rapid growth from underground rootstocks, and more so the geophytes. Renosterveld is well known for its bulb species that are ever so prevalent on Gondwanas’ lower lying areas.

Conspicuous species erupting with new life amongst the dormant Fynbos include the striking yellow wart stemmed pin cushions (Leucospermum cuneiforme). The first description of this species was made in the early 1600s by a botanist named Oldenland on an expedition through the present day Gondwana on route to the Attakwaskloof. The rugged Outeniqua & Langeberg mountains posed a challenge for early settlers who wished to move from the coastal regions into the hinterland. Early navigators such as Oldenland would have to traverse the hazardous trek through the Attakwaskloof, which was originally a thoroughfare for herds of elephants.

Yellow Pin Cushion

Other flowering species includes the candelabra lily (Brunsvigia josephinae.) This notable species is  known to have certain medicinal uses. It is believed that the dry bulb tunics can be used as a wound dressing. This species also has strong cultural value as It is known that young Xhosa men use the tunics as plasters after circumcision.

Gondwana Candelabra lilly

Candelabra Lily

The Babiana (Babiana ambigua) are also in full bloom.  Babiana is derived from Dutch word “baviaantjie” or Afrikaans “bobiaantjie” for small baboon as it believed that they feed on the corms.

Babiana_ambigua gondwana

Babiana Ambigua

The Dolls Rose (Hermania pinnata) has started to flower. This species is often concealed by more dominant species. The common name Doll’s Rose (Poprosie in Afrikaans) for the genus refers to the way the petals are twisted so the flower resembles a miniature rose.

gondwana Dolls rose

Dolls Rose

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November 1, 2012

Gondwana Wins GIFTTS Award!!

Press release

Date: 30th October 2012

Gondwana is recognized for its Conservation and Green Initiatives

In Delhi, India, Gondwana was selected among hundreds of applicants in the Preferred Hotel Group (PHG) to be the honouree in the category of Conservation Well Being in the hotel group’s GIFTTS Awards. GIFTTS (Great Initiatives for Today’s (Tomorrow’s) Society is one of Preferred Hotel Group’s most important programs, serving as a global platform to celebrate the great works of its member hotels in community service, philanthropy, and environmental well-being which entails green, sustainability-focused and/or energy-usage initiatives.

Gondwana was acknowledged for its “Gondwana Goes Greener” program, which includes the implementation of solar power, new communal staff transport,  an enhanced recycling program, establishment of a wormery for compost and organic gardens, as well as the reserve’s ongoing conservation efforts for endangered flora and fauna species.

The “Gondwana Goes Greener” Project:

Solar Energy

Gondwana has replaced all of its electric geysers with solar assisted geysers in their staff village which houses 75 people.  This has had a significant impact on the reserve’s electricity consumption and the team is busy investigating how to roll it out across the lodge and the private residences.

Communal Transport

To lessen our carbon footprint, Gondwana has acquired a fuel efficient mini-bus that picks up all the staff and transports them throughout the reserve throughout the day and night.  This has reduced CO2 emissions and decreased the amount of traffic on the reserve.

Recycling & Wormery

The reserve has implemented a recycling program where organic and inorganic materials are separated. Inorganic materials are recycled and organic materials are used in the vermiculture project. All organic waste is given to the red wriggler worms that assist in the decomposition of the materials into nutrient rich compost. The compost is then diluted and used in the lodge and staff organic vegetable gardens as well as a newly developing plant nursery.   Gondwana’s indigenous tree nursery is underway where all plants that are propagated are indigenous to the region.  Staff are sourced from the surrounding communities to run the project. Once the trees are large enough, they will be transplanted to areas on the reserve where previous land use has altered the landscape. This project in return promotes habitat improvement for fauna, recovery of the veld, job creation, and wise waste management.  Private Residents on the reserve will be able to purchase the trees for planting around their bush home.

Fynbos Conservation

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. The reserve bi-annually monitors veld condition to determine the state of the Fynbos. Much of the transformed areas have started to recover by wise veld management which includes the ongoing eradication of alien Wattle trees which helps to re-establish wetlands and natural vegetation.  The reserve now hosts an annual “Throttle the Wattle” effort whereby staff and private residence owners tackle an area infested with wattle.

Bees pollinate flowers and thus play a vital role in the persistence of Fynbos. Gondwana has recognised this and has invested in a sustainable honey production programme. This project ensures the availability of quality natural raw honey without compromising bee populations. Gondwana has promoted the training of individuals from surrounding communities in the art of bee keeping.  This programme is more than just sustainable harvesting, as it encourages the conservation of a threatened ecosystem.

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.  Gondwana has committed to and engaged with interested parties to contribute to these species’ conservation and provide a meaningful population within South Africa´s meta-population. Staff continually monitor these species in the field to gauge their performance.

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October 16, 2012


It seems as though love is in the air at Gondwana Game Reserve.

Two lion were spotted mating in the car park at Lehele Lodge.

Shortly before, The lions had caught an Eland a few meters from the reserve and wildlife offices. The lion  pride have made monitoring relatively easy this week but rather difficult to get access into the office!

Just another eventful day working at Gondwana!

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October 16, 2012

Long Crested Eagle

Long Crested Eagle spotted on Gondwana today!

This beautiful creature is way out of its distribution range, must have been attracted to the reserve by our beautiful Fynbos 🙂

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October 11, 2012

Secretary Birds!

A Beautiful pair of Secretary Birds seen at Gondwana.

Secretary birds are Large birds of prey and are recognized by their eagle type body and their long crane like  legs. However, when in flight this bird looks more like a crane than a bird of prey.

Female and Male secretary birds are distinguished by the male having longer head plumes and tail feathers. Adults have red faces where younger birds are yellow in colour.

Unlike other birds of prey, Secretary birds catch their prey on foot. They feed on small animals and arthropods.

Secretary birds are recognized in Africa for their striking appearance and their ability to rid areas of pests and snakes.

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September 20, 2012

Gondwana Game Reserve,wins “South Africa’s Leading Nature Experience”


“Winning a World Travel Award (WTA) is the highest commendation in the travel and tourism industry and this triumph serves as a testament to your hard work and commitment to excellence over the last 12 months,” said Graham E Cooke, chairman and founder of the World Travel Awards, to Mark Rutherford, owner of Gondwana Game Reserve.

Gondwana – a five-star game reserve on the Western Cape’s Garden Route and the only Fynbos nature reserve that also prides itself on being home to the free roaming Big Five – won the judges’ vote as South Africa’s Leading Nature Experience for 2012.

We have made a concerted effort to develop and promote Gondwana’s complete nature experience beyond the wildlife and game drive experience”, says Mark Rutherfoord.  “The reserve’s 1000 hectare protected area gives us a fantastic facility to get up close and personal with nature whether on horseback, on foot or on a bike.  We are continually developing our trails network with points of interest for the whole family.  We bring the Fynbos into all points of contact with the guest – through the housekeeping, the interior design, the cuisine, and the Junior Ranger Program.  We are truly fortunate the reserve is situated in a Fynbos biome and feel honoured we can help protect the critically endangered Cape Floral Kingdom.”

The reserve is an easy four-hour drive from Cape Town and only 45 minutes from George Airport. This wealth of wildlife and diversity of colourful Fynbos vegetation makes Gondwana Game Reserve a nature lover’s paradise. Relaxation and luxury while enjoying all the wonders of South Africa’s wildlife and spectacular landscape is what the Gondwana experience is all about. Not to mention the numerous nature activities on offer including exhilarating game drives, horse safaris, mountain biking, birding endemic species such as the Cape Sugar bird and Orange breasted sunbird, and the fun Junior Ranger Program which sees kids learning and loving nature!

Once on the property, guests appreciate not just the gourmet meals, but the pristine natural setting. The Outeniqua and Langeberg mountain ranges to the north provide a spectacular backdrop for the colourful Fynbos-blanketed landscape. Guests often say you can hear the silence

Wide open spaces offer food for body, mind and soul.

For Reservation inquiries please contact the reserve by email at or by telephone on +27 (0) 021 4245430.

For all media inquiries, please contact Nicky Arthur at Nicky Arthur PR by email at or by telephone at +27 21 424 0384

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September 7, 2012

Family school holiday safari special


Gondwana’s Fynbos Spring Special is Ideal for the Upcoming School Holidays!

Sunshine, fun and a blooming special is how Gondwana Game Reserve is celebrating Spring just in time for the school holidays.
With the winter quickly turning to spring, visitors to the Garden Route’s only Fynbos reserve that also boasts the Big Five will see the wonderful colours of a seasonal shift amidst a breath-taking landscape.
For only R1950 per person per night and R650 per child aged between 4 and 12), guests to the reserve will enjoy luxury accommodation, gourmet breakfast, high tea and dinner. They will also have two exhilarating game drives per day in the 11,000 hectare reserve with snacks and drinks included. If that is not enough, this special entitles each guest to a R100 Africology spa voucher to really get that pampered feeling going.
This Five Star reserve is big on kids as well and offers a fantastic Junior Ranger Program that keeps your little ones engaged in nature. Kids of all ages are welcome at Gondwana Game Reserve and families are booked into the reserve’s Private Bush Villas for their comfort and convenience with additional amenities like kitchen facilities, separate en-suite bedrooms, large outdoor decks, flat screen TVs and DVD players to assist with the little ones.

As part of the Junior Ranger program, Children will receive a fun Ranger’s backpack and cool safari booklet to fill in throughout their stay. During game drives and other  activities with their ranger, they will be taught how to identify mammals, birds, Fynbos species, and even stars, gaining a greater understanding of conservation and our precious eco systems. The participants will be quizzed on what they’ve learned by their ranger and receive a level 1 Junior Ranger Patch and completion certificate, as well as a picture with their ranger for their safari book.

A fun kid’s menu is always on offer and when Junior Rangers go to sleep, they’ll find a goodnight story and a yummy treat waiting for them.   Loads of other activities are available such as horse safaris, fishing, bush picnics, and more.
Gondwana is easily accessible and only a 4 hour drive from Cape Town or a 45 minutes from George Airport.   Yet once on the property, you feel like you are in the middle of nowhere as there is no light, noise, or visual pollution – just vast open spaces. The Outeniqua and Langeberg Mountain ranges surround the reserve to the North and provide a spectacular backdrop to top off the aesthetic delights of the colourful Fynbos landscape.
Gondwana is reaching out to all Cape Tonians to try us this winter and take advantage of our Blooming Spring Special valid until October 8th. Whether you are a couple or a family, you can count on a truly magical nature experience that is both luxurious and peaceful.

For further information visit For reservations please email or call Tel. +27 44 6977 002.

For all media enquiries contact Charleen White and Nicky Arthur PR by telephone on 021 424 0383 or by email at

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