Here’s some good news for Capetonians! The mother city now has a new BIG 5 wildlife reserve right on its doorstep.
By: Lorne Philpot
South Africans are blessed with the ability to experience the Big 5 game in the country’s wildlife reserves.
The bush and wildlife are quintessential experiences for many South Africans. The ability to escape to the wilderness and enjoy nature’s bounty is both a pleasure and a privilege.
Millions of people from all over the world pay large sums of money to visit places where they can experience the fauna and flora of Africa.
Mont Eco, a new Big Five private game reserve in the Klein Karoo has opened this month. It is situated 25km outside the town of Montagu, close to Cape Town.
Mont Eco is a unique, malaria-free area situated along the Langeberg mountain range.
Located within the Cape floral kingdom, it encompasses three significant biomes – Nama Karoo, Succulent Karoo and Fynbos – making it home to a wide diversity of succulent plant species.
BIG 5 WILDLIFE
Most of SA’s wildlife areas where the Big 5 species can be seen are located on the eastern side of the country, especially in areas around the Kruger National Park.
The Big 5 refers to five African animals: the African lion, the African leopard, the African elephant, the Cape buffalo, and the rhinoceros.
These animals were originally called the Big 5 not for their size, but for the level of difficulty when tracking these animals on foot.
As suggested in its name, there is special emphasis on sustainability at the property. Mont Eco, a 6 500 hectare rehabilitated conservation reserve offers an experience that is truly off-grid.
Guests will enjoy not only a diversity of wildlife but also the vast open plains, mountains, rocky outcrops, and riverbeds which are characteristic of the area.
Through a successful re-introduction programme based on intense research into animal species that lived previously in this region, Mont Eco will feature not only the Big Five, but also iconic Karoo species such as Brown hyena, aardvark, eland, oryx and klipspringer.
There are two lodges in the reserve. Kingsley Lodge, built on a river bend, is the first to open. The second, Mountain Lodge, is not yet open to guests.
Both offer luxurious suite accommodation for 14 guests, making the property a low-density Big Five wildlife tourism project, based on a philosophy of ‘less is better’.
Each suite features a large living room-bedroom, walk-in shower, and a private deck overlooking the dry river bed. A well-equipped self-catering kitchenette is suited to families with special dietary requirements.
Each suite also has a dedicated fibre-optic WiFi station and air-con.
Experiences offered to guests include game drives, intimate dinners, and star gazing.
Mont Eco has a range of packages on offer. Guests can also take advantage of some introductory offers.