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December 12, 2012

Gondwana Grants Christmas Wish

Daniel’s story.
Daniel le Roux is a 2 year old boy who up until a few months ago attended a crèche called Skilpadland in Durbanville. He is an only child. He used to be a normal little toddler, having fun with his friends, playing with toys, and learning new things at school every day.

However, a few months ago he started losing his sight and experiencing hearing problems.After many tests, he was finally diagnosed with Leigh’s Disease….this is a rare and fatal disease that causes the part of the brain that controls muscles, to die. Initially the doctor’s told Daniel’s parents that he would have approximately 5 years.

But, his condition has deteriorated much faster than that in recent months.

Read more about how Gondwana granted this Christmas Wish.

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November 29, 2012

Gondwana welcomes its First Lion Cubs!

This season at Gondwana Game Reserve on the Garden Route, we celebrate the birth of two free roaming lion cubs.  These are believed to be the first wild lion cubs born in the Southern Cape for the last 150 years.  The award winning, Western Cape Private Game Reserve has embarked on an ambitious conservation project to restore and rehabilitate the 11000-hectare fynbos reserve by populating it with indigenous game. The birth of the two lion cubs marks the success of the efforts implemented to encourage the self-sustaining wild lion pride of Gondwana.
It is believed that lions that historically occurred in the Southern Cape were similar to the black maned lions of the Kalahari Desert. It was decided to introduce a male lion from the Kalahari in 2008. This lion has matured into arguably Africa’s most handsome lion with his gorgeous golden locks, and he has literally swept the lionesses off their paws.

The lioness took her maternity leave deep in a Gondwana valley blanketed in colourful Fynbos, where she kept her new-borns well hidden. Typically lion cubs are not seen until they are approximately 6 weeks old, and start to move with their mother. Many of Gondwanas’ guides have tried to catch a glimpse and get a photo of the new-borns for some time, but it was Gondwana’s senior field guide Forget Ndlovu who beat them to it and struck luck on the morning of 23 November when he found the pride on a zebra kill just above the den. The cubs were in full view playing and harassing their mother and other members of the pride. This area has become affectionately known as “Pride Rock” where the pride, together with the cubs, tend to congregate for fresh air in the afternoon on display for all to see.

The lion cubs will only start eating meat at about 3 months of age. Lion cubs are usually weaned from their mother at 7 months and at about 18 months they either join their natal pride or disperse and form their own coalitions and prides.

November has proved to be baby season on this Garden Route Game Reserve, with numerous births from a variety of species taking place. Black Wildebeest and Eland seem to be multiplying by the day and probably most exciting is the birth of the Cape Mountain Zebra, an endangered species endemic to the Cape Mountain Belt. The reproduction and survival of all species on Gondwana Game Reserve is vital and reassuring. This indicates that the game has settled in well, and conditions are favorable for the species’ perpetual existence.

Gondwana welcomes all the additions to the family and we look forward to watching them mature. Not to be out done- One of the lioness sisters also seems to be expecting news soon! Watch this space!

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November 8, 2012

Cheetah Bonding

Cheetah male at Gondwana

One of Gondwana Game Reserves male cheetahs has recently bonded with another male. The coalition that they have formed allows for better territory protection and allows them to be more successful hunters.
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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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