Conservation | 11 October 2017
Kwandwe - Rebirth of an African Wilderness Part 1
The landscape had once been abundant of wildlife and home to large numbers of elephant and black rhino, leopard, cheetah and lion.This fact was well documented in local San rock art as well as in the diaries of elephant hunters and in detailed accounts of Frontier explorers such as Barrow, Paterson and Baines who traversed the landscape documenting the terrain, its wildlife and people.
However the arrival of the Dutch and English settlers to the area in the 1800’s saw wildlife both hunted and driven off these lands in favour of goat and ostrich farming which became widely practiced.Heatherton Towers was one of the first Ostrich farms in South Africa.(Built in 1836 it hosted distinguished guests such as Lord Milner and Cecil Rhodes and today is Kwandwe’s reception house).Languishing under the strain of small stock farming and cultivation during the100 years that followed, the landscape became neglected and impoverished.
It took the shared vision, resources and relentless energy of four dynamic individuals to create Kwandwe Private Game Reserve – former owners American Entrepreneur Carl DeSantis and Erika Stewart along with South African naturalist-guide Angus Sholto-Douglas and his wife Tracy.Conceived in 2001 their collective dream was to return a piece of this land in South Africa’s almost forgotten Eastern Cape to its former glory and rehabilitate it with wildlife.