The distant blue hills and undulating thornveld valleys of KwaZulu-Natal make a superb backdrop for the scenic Weenen Game Reserve (WGR). With the Bushman’s River flowing through a spectacular gorge in the game reserve, coupled with its excellent road system and walking trails, visitors have many scenic and game viewing opportunities as they walk or drive around. Both black- and white rhinos have been introduced since the 5 000 ha reserve was proclaimed in 1974. Weenen Game Reserve offers limited but great accommodation and camping. It is easily reached from Durban and Pietermaritzburg, and is also not too far from Johannesburg and Pretoria, being near the town of Estcourt just off the N3 freeway in the KZN Midlands.
The properties that make up Weenen Game Reserve were formerly very degraded “tenant” farms and as a result the game reserve can justifiably be held up as a model of successful land rehabilitation. Staff there used every trick in the rehabilitation book plus a few added innovations of their own to stop several severe forms of soil erosion and to turn abandoned farm workings to healthy grasslands. Gradually, as the land healed itself and the vegetation recovered, so it became possible to re-introduce various species of antelope and other wildlife – including rhinos. The fact that WGR provides such excellent game viewing and scenic opportunities stands as a tribute to the staff of those by-gone days who laboured long and hard to achieve this miracle.
Even though WGR is only 5 000 ha in extent, it nevertheless has that indefinable game reserve atmosphere that makes a visit to any protected area an exciting event. Our Birds and Birding article highlights some of the very best of the attractions to WGR, and we can recommend that, even if it’s only a day visit, it is certainly worth the effort to pack your picnic things and take a drive there.
We understand that the Nyandu Environmental Camp is to be refurbished in the near future, so it may well be off-line for a while. It is a facility designed to accommodate groups such as school or club outings. A booking therefore must take the entire camp. We will keep you up to date on developments there. Check the website for contact information to enquire about the status of the camp.
For full information on Weenen Game Reserve, its accommodation, wildlife and activities go to: http://www.kznwildlife.com/index.php/accomodation/resorts/weenen1