Oasis of Wilderness
“The whole is in the parts and the parts are in the whole”
― Lynette Botha, international travel editor and writer

About Magic Hills

Location & Nature

The Karoo is an area of great biodiversity. The Swartberg Mountain Range splits the expanse between the Little Karoo in the south-west and the Great Karoo in the north-east. Magic Hills is located in the latter. A leisurely 3-hour scenic drive from Port Elizabeth International Airport, or a 30-minute Cessna flight directly to the reserve’s private landing strip, will get you to this incomparable location.

This semi-desert region is renowned for its harsh yet beautiful conditions – arid land alive with the most persistent of vegetation, vast cloudless skies, expansive vistas as far as the eye can see, and exceptional bird- and wildlife.

While Magic Hills is home to the big five, it’s the rarer creatures that will attract more discerning guests. Birdlife is prolific, with 407 different species known in the area, including the endangered and seldom seen black eagle. There are also 10 endemic bird species that occur in the Karoo and nowhere else in the world, like the Karoo Korhaan, Sclater’s Lark, Cinnamon-breasted Warbler and Karoo Eremomela, who are guaranteed to entice keen twitchers to reach for the binoculars.

There are also over 45 exotic and unusual species roaming the land, including the golden, arabian, scimitar and painted oryx. Those who wish to explore the grasslands by night may be fortunate enough to catch a glimpse of elusive animals like the aardvark, lynx, porcupine, black-back jackal and bat-eared fox. Magic Hills is also home to the largest black rhino bull in the world; as one of the most critically endangered species in the world, a sighting of this guy is priceless. And then, there’s the flora. Contributing to the cleaner-than-clean air is the incredible spekboom. One of many medicinal plants on the land, spekboom is a succulent that literally acts as a sponge for carbon dioxide, able to absorb four to ten tons of CO2 from the atmosphere per hectare – ten times more effective than the Amazon rainforest. A good enough reason to breathe deeply and sleep soundly.

About Magic Hills


The history of the Great Karoo is infinite. It’s hard to believe that this desert-like expanse of nature was once an inland sea. But history has it that approximately 250 million years ago, that was the reality. Slowly, as the global climate changed shape, the water gradually evaporated, turning the sea into a swamp where amphibians and reptiles thrived. The area was also previously home to many different civilisations – from the bushmen and the nomadic Khoi people to the last of the Stone Age population and Jan Smuts and his allies. In fact, the house where Jan Smuts sought refuge during the Second Anglo-Boer War can be found on the property, and is currently undergoing restoration. Jansenville, the closest town to the private reserve, originated in 1854 when the Dutch Reformed Church formed a parish in the area, and takes its name from the last Dutch Governor of the Cape.

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