Welgevonden Game Reserve part of the Waterberg biosphere reserve
Welgevonden Game reserve is a 36,000 Hectares (139 square miles) private game reserve just 2.5 hours drive from Cape town.
The reserve forms around 5% of the Waterberg biosphere reserve, a biome of mountainous habitat and ecosystems. This whole area is not set aside for wildlife, with around 80,000 people living within its borders. Indeed heavy grazing by cattle had severrely damaged the whole area by the mid 1900. In recent years though they have set the majority of the land aside for ecotourism, and so the ecology of the area has been recovering.
Within Welgevonden game reserve there are approximately 50 mammal species, including the big 5. There is also a healthy population of Cheetah, as well as wild dogs on occasion. Given the size of the reserve this is an impressive feeat. Due to its proximity to cape town it is a popular destination for shorter safaris. Being malaria free, it is also simpler place to visit. If you wish to stay close to cape town or only have a few days spare to go on safari, this destination is a fantastic pick.
There are a few lodges within the reserve, below are links to two of them. Numbers of guests on the reserve are strictly controlled, so it wont feel crowded.
The area had been horrifically degraded, but a great deal of work has been done over the last few decades, and increasingly this area is becoming a fantastic conservation. Certainly Welgevonden is a brilliant example of how quickly and degraded area can be returned to its former glory.
One of the biggest advantages of smaller reserves like this, is that the animals are tracked quite closely, so the guides are likely to know roughly where the big animals are.
If you wish to stay close to cape town for your safari are are likely to have a fantastic safari here. One of the big bonuses, is that this is a malaria free area.