RESTORE. DEFEND. PRESERVE.
CONSERVATION AT KAKHULU KAROO
The Magic Hills Private Collection Game Reserve occupies land that has seen century upon century of migrating inhabitants and decades of overgrazing. Introduction of exotic species and removal of indigenous species – both plants and beasts – have thrown the region into imbalance.
Prior to the custodianship of Magic Hills Private Collection, the terrain had been pushed further and further into aridity, becoming more inhospitable with the passing of each year. It has been the dream of Magic Hills owners, Erik and Alexandra Kovacs, to restore the region to its former beauty and ecological balance. They have spent more than a decade buying up the 20 100 hectares of protected land to create a reserve dedicated to the preservation of natural Karoo life, a long-term process that has already begun…
Restoration, From the Ground Up
Combating the past generations of overgrazing and resulting erosion, an extensive veld rehabilitation project is under way. This includes removing exotic plant species that have spread and displaced the original biomes, and reintroducing grasses and thickets that once grew wild and prolific when the original Khoi people wandered across these plains.
One such native species is the extraordinary, medicinal Spekboom (or Elephant Food Tree). This miraculous plant is indigenous to the Magic Hills valleys and slopes and known as a climate change champion. The Spekboom absorbs between four and ten tons of CO2 from the atmosphere per hectare, placing it leagues above the Amazon Rainforest. At kaKhulu Karoo, and Magic Hills Private Collection, we’re working hard at replanting these species, even inviting our guests to join in on the initiative, leaving the right kind of footprint on this magnificent, healing landscape.
Part of this restoration initiative requires restriction of wildlife access to certain parts of the reserve, until each region has recovered sufficiently to not only support the wildlife, but actually thrive with it.
Rescue, Rewild and Protect
Joining hands with the world-renowned Aspinall Foundation, Magic Hills Private Collection will become a rescue and rewilding partner, dedicated to saving previously mistreated animals from international zoo’s, and other ex situ conservation environments. Attempts to reintroduce animals that are indigenous to the region will be made, and where this is not possible, animals may recover at the Magic Hills Rescue Centre (currently under construction), before being transported to a more suitable and safe home.
The Karoo region which Magic Hills occupies is home to an abundance of species – over 400 different bird species, 10 of which are endemic to the area, not seen anywhere else in the world. Although refuge to the legendary Big Five, Magic Hills also shelters many of Africa’s most elusive delights, such as the aardvark, black-back jackal, caracal, bat-eared fox, and porcupine.
Magic Hills Private Collection is committed to the humane and gradual removal exotic species (which place strain on the region’s natural balance), rescuing and rewilding those native to the lands, and protecting all species by understanding their needs and facilitating the growth and development of optimal habitat in their favour.
Preserving the Past
Unknown to many, the Magic Hills Private Collection sits on land that has seen eons of humanity come and go, including its earliest inhabitants who left their mark for all of time to see.
The rugged hills and outcrops of this region are home to numerous rock art sites, many of which have only been discovered in very recent years. Investigation is currently underway into the history and significance of the sites while still respecting the rights of the national cultural estate and the Khoi people, who’s remaining descendents still reside in the area.
Because we believe that culture is beautiful, the Magic Hills team are in the process of developing a partnership with the Ju/’hoansi Master Trackers of the Nyae Nyae community to provide incomparable insight and experiences, giving travellers a look into an ancient culture, and to provide the support to keep such culture alive.