It is a sad reality that nature is being pushed aside by an encroaching wave of, among other things, human habitation. Concrete skyrises, ever-increasing pollution and monoculture. It’s not all bad news though.
It is therefore of great relief to know that some places in the world are still mostly untouched, and being recognised for their innate value. The Karoo is one such place, where efforts in veld rehabilitation and revitalisation are being investigated by landowners such as Dr Erik Kovacs of Magic Hills Private Collection. Having spent a decade buying up overgrazed and degraded farmland in the Great Karoo, at a cost of more than R100 million, it has become his goal, along with his wife Alexandra, to restore this land to its former glory as a protected area.
Extensive veld rehabilitation is already underway, with 2020 being the year wherein active reintroduction of Karoo grasses and succulents to the most degraded areas will be a priority project. While the full extent of land under the management of the collection is not currently accessible to all the wildlife inhabiting the reserve, over time – and once rehabilitation has been completed to a satisfactory level – more and more fences will be dropped to expand the reserve.
Veld rehabilitation takes time though, especially if it is done correctly, but the plan will always be to get wildlife into rehabilitated areas as quickly as possible, in order for them to create pathways and break up thickets, which is the strategy of Magic Hills Private Collection’s Conservation Division. Working hand in hand with the Tourism Division and Executive Management ecological goals, including veld rehabilitation and species diversification, are managed alongside tourism developments, community needs and income-generating strategies.
These departments and strategies are aligned and goal-driven with the objective of restoring our piece of the Karoo back to what Jan Smuts saw when he sought refuge in the area during the Second Anglo-Boer War or when the Khoi people, South Africa’s first nation, followed the migrating herds of springbok, quagga and blue buck up from the coast during the summers.
This is a project still in motion but a project with infinite potential. Magic Hills Private Collection is destined to be the Karoo destination of choice for the discerning traveller, those who want something more than the familiarity of the Lowveld or the hustle of East Africa, as well as the safari novice who wants to experience the expansive wilderness for the first time.