Welgevonden (which translates to “well found”) lies on the Waterberg plateau, just north of Johannesburg in South Africa. The reserve comprises 37 500 hectares and consists of mountain bushveld with rivers running through it. Private vehicles are not permitted in order to minimize the impact of humans on the area, and only a limited number of guests are allowed at any one time. The unique environment is constantly under conservation research in order to improve management protocols and the game viewing experience. The ancient Bushman rock art found in the reserve are just one of the many special attractions.
Malaria is a big concern in the northeastern parts of South Africa. In areas where there are malaria-carrying mosquitoes, visitors are advised to take anti-malarial prophylactics as prescribed by their personal physicians. These pills may have side effects, and are not an option for pregnant women or very young children. Welgevonden offers you peace of mind – a full northern South-African safari experience without the worries and risk of malaria.
Rhino poaching is a big concern in South Africa today, and anti-poaching campaigns have been well publicized. The Welgevonden reserve is famous for its white rhino population, and you will have the privilege of seeing one of the largest white rhino herds found in Africa. Their conservation efforts should be commended, as they have a rhino identikit database which was established specifically for all known individuals on the reserve.
All the lodges in the Welgevonden Game Reserve are built to a strict aesthetic code - secluded and hidden from view. This means that it does not disturb the nature around the lodge and that you can expect to see animals quite close to where you are staying. It also means that you don’t see too many other people – many lodges only have place for about 10 guests - so there are minimal disturbances.
It is easy to access the Welgevonden Game Reserve by air, as there are several landing strips as well as a heli-pad. The flight is only about 45 minutes when you travel from Johannesburg. Of course, flying is slightly more risky than driving, as the weather plays a role in whether you can depart or land. Flying is also a great way to see a part of South Africa from an altitude, so make sure you get a window seat!
The Welgevonden Game Reserve is a mere two and a half hour drive from Johannesburg via the N1. The game reserve is north of Johannesburg, situated in the Waterberg District of Limpopo. You will be transported in an air-conditioned vehicle. The drive is scenic and will allow you to see parts of Gauteng and Limpopo as you travel.
It is mostly warm at the Welgevonden Game Reserve. There are three distinct seasons in the Waterberg region where the game reserve is situated. The dry season is from May to July. During this time it is quite cold. From August to October, it remains dry in the game reserve, but the days become warmer and thunderstorms become prevalent in the late afternoon.
The wetter, rainy season is from November to April. During this time it is quite warm, with the average maximum temperature reaching about 30 degrees Celsius. There is no best time to visit the Welgevonden Game Reserve, and you will be able to enjoy all the activities all year round, just be mindful of the weather when packing.
All internal fences have been removed, and the perimeter fence has been electrified in order to prevent animals straying onto neighboring properties. Shortly after proclamation, a translocation exercise was launched in order to restock the area with animals that were found here historically.
The roads were upgraded and, today, the reserve boasts 430 kilometers of good quality gravel roads that are in part maintained by the exclusion of private vehicles from the reserve. A relatively small number of visitors are allowed into the reserve at any given time, in order to minimize the impact of human activity on the animals and plants in the reserve.
Other large antelope such as sable, eland, giraffe, waterbuck and tsessebe may also be seen on the reserve, along with smaller species such as impala. Around the rest camps, monkeys and baboons are liable to get up to mischief and need to be watched carefully.
Welgevonden is particularly well-stocked with birds, and many birders believe it is one of the best birding spots in Africa. The Honorary Rangers organize an annual birding day and birders from all over the country descend on Welgevonden in order to take part in the reserve's bird census.
Welgevonden is particularly well suited to raptors, as these birds love to use the up-drafts generated by the cliff faces of the Waterberg. Wahlberg's eagle is a prominent visitor during the summer, and this magnificent bird can be seen alongside many other eagle, falcon and hawk species.
A large part of the Waterberg Plateau was turned into a conservancy for animals and birds, and it is considered a birding paradise. Part of this conservancy is known as the Welgevonden Private Game Reserve.
The reserve is a mixture of mountains, dense bush and savanna wilderness and the many effervescent streams that flow through the reserve have been instrumental in carving out the impressive gullies and ravines.
Three rivers run through the reserve on their way to the Limpopo River, and the multi-colored rocks in the area give this reserve a visual impact that is second to none. The mild climate of the region is particularly attractive to visitors, and the reserve can be visited all year round.
The four most popular activities at the Welgevonden Game Reserve are game viewing by game drive or guided walk, bird watching, stargazing and guided tours to the Bushman rock art. The guided tours to view wildlife offer the opportunity to have up close and personal encounters with the animals that call the Welgevonden Game Reserve home - at a safe distance, of course. With over 300 bird species, including the blue crane, in the reserve, you will have ample opportunity to bird watch without even trying.
Stargazing is spectacular in the Welgevonden Game Reserve, as it is far from the city lights and pollution. The only thing that can interfere is if the moon shines too bright. This activity is much better in the winter months, when the Milky Way, Southern Cross and many other star signs and constellations are at their brightest and most visible. The guided Bushman rock art tour is interesting and informative. These paintings are believed to have been made more than 2 000 years ago – using ocher, iron oxides, crush ostrich egg shells, coal and even blood. Some of these paintings were made while the bushman went into a trance and it was their way of communicating what they saw while they were in the trance.
When it comes to experiences to savor in Welgevonden, you'll find that they stretch beyond the rewarding Big Five game viewing on offer. Fine examples include San bushman rock art sites and inimitable nighttime stargazing.
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