A new breeding herd of 53 Cape Buffalo has been introduced in the Welgevonden Game Reserve in the Waterberg, outside Vaalwater. The acquisition forms part of a multi-million Rand game purchase programme within the 35 000 hectare privately owned reserve which is widely known for its exceptional Big 5 game viewing.
The game introduction is partly financed through an interest-free loan from the owners of one of the leading 5-star lodges within the reserve, Mhondoro Safari Lodge & Villa, Frank and Myriam Vogel, and their MF Foundation.
With conservation and sustainability at the core of its ethos, Welgevonden Game Reserve is advised by a Scientific Steering Committee on the reserve’s scientific and ecological management. Following many years of academic research into the specific nutritional conditions on the reserve, Professor Herbert Prins of Wageningen University in the Netherlands, who is a key member of this committee, was instrumental in developing the game purchase programme.
From the start of the programme in 2015, the game population of Welgevonden has increased significantly with the introduction of more impala, wildebeest, zebra, waterbuck and hippo, and now, buffalo. These carefully selected species will synergistically contribute towards the expansion of grazing lawns – a vital element in the reserve’s audacious goal of becoming a herbivore-driven, rather than a fire-driven ecosystem.
Says CEO of Welgevonden, Shaun McCartney: ‘Buffalo are bulk grazers and significantly influence vegetative structure. They are known to convert long grassland into short, grassy environments which is conducive to other grazers. This localised grazing impact, along with the nutrient input of their droppings and breaking soil surface through hoofing action, is aligned with the expansion of grazing lawns in the reserve.
In addition, buffalo is of course an iconic species in the Big 5 assemblage and although we do have another breeding herd on the Reserve, the addition of this new breeding herd brings an exciting new dynamic to the exceptional game viewing that is being offered at Welgevonden.’
MORE ABOUT MHONDORO SAFARI LODGE & VILLA
Dutch-owned Mhondoro is a fusion of African chic and edgy European influences, accommodating a maximum of 20 guests in the Main Lodge and private Villa. Unique features include a photographer’s dream: a waterhole with underground hide that is connected with the main lodge by a tunnel; and three heated swimming pools.
Privately owned, Welgevonden Game Reserve stretches across 35 000 hectares in the Waterberg and is a mere 2h45-minute drive or a 50-minute flight from Johannesburg. Guests can expect varied terrain and a diverse natural habitat featuring the ‘Big 5’, including a large white rhino population. Guided walks with the endangered white rhino are very popular with guests, as is watching the ‘resident’ herd of elephants who visit the lodge’s waterhole daily.
Mhondoro is the ultimate big sky destination, with stunning unimpeded sunrises and sunsets over the Waterberg mountains and valleys. The wildlife experience is complemented by Mhondoro’s luxurious accommodation, indulgent spa treatments, fine cuisine and passionate service. Mhondoro is child-friendly and welcomes children of all ages.