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October 7, 2010

Mukani

Mukani
This is a story of a zebra that earned his stripes by proving his rank.

As some of us know, there is a Plains zebra on the reserve that does not particularly like hanging out with his own kind, in fact he has taken a liking to the rare Watusi cattle herd that grazes Gondwana plains. Everyone always thought that he had an identity crisis. However recently my fellow horsemen and I found out that this is not entirely the case.

One afternoon we were riding out on three of our biggest horses. We came across the herd of Watusi, including its strangest stripy member. We kept a distance as we didn’t want to disturb their peace. Peace, however was not on this zebra’s train of thought, because out of nowhere the zebra came trotting towards us on horseback. Now this is often normal for cattle to be inquisitive and I thought he must have learned it from his adopted herd. Under the circumstances this would’ve been normal if the zebra stopped and gave a vacant stare like cattle do. Unfortunately he did not stop, but rather flatten his ears and increased speed.

Naturally, I became mildly worried and when the horses spotted the charging zebra they became, well, a little more than ‘mildly worried’. This I could understand, I would also stress is something that looks like it escaped from jail ran angrily at me!

My horse gave a leap forward almost leaving me behind and bolted off, though I must admit I was reluctant to stop him. The other two quickly followed as the zebra continued to run after us for a while. Eventually he stopped when he realised his legs are after all three times shorter than those of our horses, but to keep his pride he gave a whinny that would have any stallion jealous; as if to say: “yeah, you better run!”.

What would’ve happened if we stood our ground is a mystery, but even if the zebra’s whinny is worse than his bite, you have got to admire his courage. That’s when I realized that this is no confused zebra, he knows he is a zebra but he has ambition, because he is the Watusi guardian. Come rain, hail or humongous shire horses, he will protect this herd.

We look at the photo of this herd at Kwena lodge and no longer pity a confused zebra, but we admire Mukani meaning ‘the one who fights’ in Shona, native language where Watusi originated.

Mark and Wendy can rest assured that their precious herd of Watusi is in the safe hooves of this brave little stripy warrior.

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July 22, 2010

Gourmet Evenings

Gourmet Evenings

Chef´s Table – 18 August 2010

Top South African celebrity chef Scott Ratray will be hosting a food and wine pairing dinner at Gondwana with winemaker / owner Stefan Basson from Babylon´s Peak. Scott assisted renowned chef Keith Floyd in England and then worked as executive chef for all And Beyond (CC Africa) lodges. He has just opened a new restaurant in Plettenberg Bay, Scotty´s. Stefan Basson from Babylon´s Peak will showcase his wines from the heart of the Swartland. R395.00 per person.

Shiraz Shoot-Off, 11 September 2010

Hosted by the celebrity chef Francois Ferreira with winemaker Gunter Schultz. You will enjoy the best of the Shiraz in South Africa!

A wine and food extravaganza, – a four-course dinner from Gondwana´s own Alessandro De Bortoli from Venice Italy. Vineyards featured will be Kleinood / Hartenberg / Raka & Boschkloof with winemaker Gunter Schultz, revealing the secrets of Shiraz. R395.00 per person.

Please contact Reservations to make a booking.

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July 21, 2010

Property Developments

Property Developments

Pam Golding Snap Shot

Pam Golding Properties has seen an exciting increase in interest and activity on the Reserve since December and as a result has sold 2 plots and 2 fully furnished lodges in the first half of this year. Prices have shown a decrease but compared to the rest of the market, Gondwana is holding its own.

Properties Sold:

  • Red Rocks 28 (Plot)
  • Red Rocks 26 (Plot)
  • Fynbos Camp 20 (Fully Furnished Lodge)
  • Fynbos Camp 15 (Fully Furnished Lodge)

The surge in interest and enquiry on Gondwana sees Pam Golding Properties finalizing two additional potential sales at the moment and communication with three other potential buyers.

There has been a great appreciation by potential buyers of the up market facilities such as Lehele Lodge, the quality of the homes, and the newly completed hotel as well as the vast beauty of the reserve which none of them expected to find.

Visit Our Private Ownership Page

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July 20, 2010

Bird Hide Completed

Bird Hide Completed on Gondwana

20 July 2010

Last year in May, Mark gave one of the field guide´s Albert, resident birding expert, the green light and budget to start the first bird hide on Gondwana.

Initially it was only Albert and Forget working on the hide, planting the anchor poles and the deck. It was slow going as they were both guiding and just had an hour here and there to
work on it.

Later in the year Cobus joined the guiding team and started helping. It was amazing seeing the birds getting used to the sawing and all the noise and even seeing a pair of little
grebe´s raising three chicks in the summer we were working there.

In December the birdhide was completed; it is a beautiful, cosy little spot by a dam that is easily accessible for any private owner or guests visiting Gondwana. Just ask your ranger.

View more Outdoor Activites on Gondwana Game Reserve

Bird Hide Gallery

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June 18, 2010

Winter Game Releases

Winter Game Releases on Gondwana

18 June 2010

Gondwana will be introducing 400 head of general game this winter including Springbok, Kudu, Zebra, and Gemsbok as well as 3 hippo into the Lehele Lodge waterhole and giraffe.

Stay tuned for photos and more details.

We would like to thank Rein and Arne van der Horst, home owners in Milkwood Valley for their kind donation of 2 hippo as part of Gondwana’s conservation efforts to reintroduce
endemic species to the reserve.

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June 17, 2010

Black Rhino

It’s a cold winter’s early morning on Gondwana, freezing on the open game viewer. I can’t feel my face, and by wearing a warm hat I try to keep a bit of heat. Even though I’m half frozen, there is nowhere else I would rather be. The rays of the sun are running up the mountains to the east, indicating that the much awaited sun will be with me shortly. I just know that it is going to be a beautiful day.

Our rainy season is almost over, and we are still waiting for most of the rain. We get around 380mm per annum down here on the eastern side of the Southern Cape. The veld is not too bad but I’m worried that we might have to go into summer like this. On the many open plains within the grass there is a lot of wild clover growing, which is saving us at the moment. The little rain we get every few weeks seems to be enough for them.

I can see small herds of kudu and some bushbuck coming out of the thickets every afternoon to feed on these delicious clovers. Even the very endangered Black Rhino (Diceros bicornis bicornis) is seen almost everyday on the open plains grazing like a White Rhino on this wonderful plant that gives life to those in need. With Black Rhino being solitary, aggressive and mostly seen running back into the thickets they came from, these rhino seem so busy enjoying the clovers, they kind of ignore my vehicle most of the time. I like to think that we are getting some of the best Black Rhino sightings in South Africa at the moment. It is also the first Black Rhinos being reintroduced into the Western Cape for 180 years.

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June 12, 2010

5 Star Lodge Officially Opens!

Gondwana´s new 5 star lodge officially opens!

12 June 2010

5 Star Lodge

Gondwana´s new luxury Kwena Huts main lodge and 14 stand alone deluxe bedrooms opened in the end of May with a festive 60 person private event. True to its Khoi San concept the whole
lodge feels like an African village or camp with intimate pathways leading you to your doorstep. The idea was to make the lodge feel transitory as though it could be picked up and moved true
to the nomadic Cape Herders, the first residents to this area. Bar stools were made from carved out stumps with skins thrown over for comfort, worn pathways were created rather than decking
and many textures and materials used could have been picked up from the surrounding land such as Nguni skins and horns, rocks, stumps and sticks.

Facilities include reception building with curio shop, central fireplace and offices. This leads out onto a jaw dropping view of the valley, waterholes and dramatic mountains beyond. Wind
your way to the spacious dining facility under 2 dome roofs with central fireplaces in each creating a romantic and elegant space underneath calbasher chandeliers. Or take a turn past the
equally dramatic lounge and bar building which houses a chic combination of African accents and top modern design. A staircase built into the hill leads down to the pool area with a stunning
infinity pool overlooking 2 waterholes. The bedroom huts fan out from there all landscaped for total privacy and maximum views of the mountains. The spacious bedrooms are dubbed "rooms
in the round" with the bed centrally located underneath a skylight and clay pot fireplace nearby to keep you warm. The large open plan bathroom houses a double vanity, open rainfall
shower, separate toilet and a deep tub with a view to die for out a 3-meter window. Each bedroom has a large verandah under a reed ceiling to take in your natural surroundings.

Rian Fourie transformed the landscape surrounding the lodge buildings so naturally that it feels as though the camp has been there for a 100 years. The landscaping creates privacy between
the units and lends authenticity to the concept using natural grasses, rocks and Fynbos found on the reserve. Lynne K Interior Design worked creatively within the concept, creating
interesting spaces within the dome/hut architecture style and mixing the Khoi San heritage with new contemporary design.

The name Kwena comes from the Khoi San language and was used as a reference to one another. We hope you can come and share the warmth and history of Gondwana´s new, luxury Kwena Huts!

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June 7, 2010

World Environment Day 2010

World Environment Day 2010

7 June 2010

World Environment Day 2010

World Environment Day (WED) 2010 is aimed to be the biggest, most widely celebrated, global day for positive, environmental action.

Under the auspices of the Eden District Municipality, local schools were invited to join in the celebrations of this important week.

Kindly sponsored by Gondwana Game Reserve, Isalekiso and Imekhaya Primary schools were treated to a range of educational activities at Gondwana.

Learners partook in fynbos identification, alien vegetation, animal dung and spoor and spoilt with a lovely lunch courtesy of Pick n Pay, Game and Quali Juice.

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May 17, 2010

Project King Protea

Project King Protea

6 March 2010

Saturday turned out to be a fantastic day, after a week of unreliable weather. Ten enthusiastic students from Indwe School, in Mossel bay, arrived at our Main Gate, ready to explore!

Exitement rose as Forget, our Head Guide, set off with them on a short drive to our Protea Forest, with a short detour to our Elephants. After a quick bumble on the game viewer, they
arrived at the Protea Forest, which is located on a far northern corner of the reserve. Each student (and teacher) received a small King Protea, ready to plant, Forget volunteerd to slug
the 20 Liters of water down the hill.

Albert, ready with a spade, led the way down a incredible slope, earlier cleared by our two guides. With a bit of sliding we found our way down to where Albert and Forget have dug
holes for the plants.

Each student got the chance to plant their own King Protea, with Forget helping them along. After all the Proteas were safe and sound in their new homes, Forget and Albert helped
them to a drink of water. Then came the big trek back up the hill.

After quenching everybody’s thirst, they set off on a afternoon game drive to discover the magic of Gondwana.

Juts before sunset, ten hungry students arrived at our Bush dining spot. With a magnificent view and a roaring fire alongside, our chefs served the students (and hungry waterboy) with
a well deserved dinner.

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