Mount Camdeboo Private Game Reserve

Filed in Reviews by on May 10, 2016

The historic Camdeboo Manor dating back to the early 1800s © Tessa Buhrmann

We spent two nights at the lovely Mount Camdeboo Private Game Reserve which is located the Eastern Cape’s Great Karoo. We experienced luxury, history and a personalised safari experience as well as a wonderfully comfortable room and fabulous dining experiences.

Our home for the the two nights was Mount Camdeboo Manor, one of four Cape Dutch houses nestled in a valley surrounded by the Sneeuberg Mountains. Camdeboo Manor – the original Groenkloof house – dates back to the early 1800s, evidence of which can be seen in the gleaming Oregon floorboards and thick walls. Our room was beautifully appointed, luxurious yet understated with a wonderfully spacious bathroom and private outside area.


Our room at Camdeboo Manor

The expansive lawns and out door area a great space to breathe in the fresh country air… or take the opportunity of having a soothing hand massage – thanks to the lovely Lola Zitshu, the young spa therapist that was trained and placed by the Eastern Cape NPO African Angels, a spa training and job placement organisation.


The lovely Lola

The gardens are also where breakfast and high tea were served. The fresh homemade lemon juice an absolute hit, as was the fresh locally sourced ‘contemporary Karoo country cuisine’ – thank you Charles and the team! What I loved most about the food is the fact that most of the ingredients are either grown on the property or sourced from neighbouring farms and local suppliers. Think organic Karoo chickens and Karoo lamb (special because of the wild herbs they eat when grazing). As well as some great local ‘Charles’ specialities like pickled agave buds (produced locally from what used to be tequila factory), spekboom and venison and of course wild herbs like the kapok bos.


Picking fresh herbs

Mount Camdeboo employs approximately 50 staff members, the majority of which are from the local community, with some, like chef Margaret having grown up on the farm. I loved the friendly manner and smiles we were greeted with… always. The way that nothing was too much effort and how we were made to feel comfortably ‘at home’.

Once out in the reserve we experienced their commitment to conservation first-hand, with Les our ranger explaining the intensive rehabilitation that has taken place to restore the overgrazed farmland to its natural state. He tells us that conservation and sustainable utilisation is key, and that an integrated ecological management plan ensures the restoration of the Karoo fauna and flora, such as the endangered Cape Mountain zebra, cheetah and blue crane. We track Thandeka the female cheetah with little success… us getting just a fleeting glance of her. The cheetah are collared for monitoring purposes, and to put the surrounding sheep farmers at ease.


Tracking Thandeka the female cheetah with Les

Les also tells us about the spekboom project (in partnership with C4 Solutions), where they plan is to plant up to 110 hectares with about 2500 spekboom cuttings per hectare, each being GPS plotted for future research and studies. Spekboom, Portulacaria afra, (also known as ‘elephant’s food’) has huge carbon- storing capabilities and is often planted to offset carbon emissions – it is thought that each hectare of spekboom can ‘capture’ four tons of carbon.


Learning about spekboom from Les, our ranger

I loved the changing terrain and vegetation… from the dwarf shrubland of the Nama Karoo, dense bushveld and forested ravines, hillsides dotted with of aloes and spekboom to the expansive grasslands of the mountain plains.

A place of big skies, wide open spaces, spectacular sunsets and wonderful biodiversity.


Spectacular sunsets at Mount Camdeboo © Tessa Buhrmann

Responsible Tourism best – the local employment

Personal best – the fact that we arrived as guests and left as friends… thank you Les, Jaunita, Charles and the team!



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