There are few other places in the world that offer the biodiversity that Welgevonden – or ‘Serendipitous Discovery’ – offers. This 36 0000-hectare / 89 000-acre private reserve allows cheetahs to run down prey in the grasslands, leopard to skulk in the hilly thicket, klipspringer to mate for like in rocky ravines and plains game roam the open savannah. This natural splendour of the Waterberg Biosphere is protected as a UNESCO site.
It is also protected by a carefully managed conservation plan that sees around 320 bird and 65 mammal species thrive. Top-level research is conducted into leopard behaviour, especially to determine whether these nocturnal big cats impact livestock and what their home ranges are. Elegant blue cranes are also studied to understand fluctuations in populations and whether they migrate once mature. In fact, birders are in for a treat as the reserve is home to big ticks like kori bustards, white-headed vultures, all kinds of bee-eaters and plentiful raptors.
Welgevonden is malaria free and is a private reserve within easy reach of Johannesburg by road or air. No day visitors or self-drivers are allowed, leaving guide-and-tracker teams to find extraordinary sightings that are managed to not stress cubs or other young. Lodges are very comfortable and generally have all the mod cons for those who want to stay in touch with the outside world.