Enjoy and Explore the Eastern Cape!
Experience bellowing Nguni, close up game, wonderful horses and MORE!
Enjoy Eastern Cape Molweni Private Game Reserve is situated in one of the most beautiful and historically interesting parts of our country – South Africa. This area of the Eastern Cape, about 240 km from Port Elizabeth and 5km from Adelaide, lies in the foothills of the Great Winterberg mountains. Being at an altitude that ensures a mild and healthy climate, guests can all year long enjoy everything the reserve has to offer. Game viewing is excellent throughout the year. In this malaria-free area, you can also enjoy a wider Eastern Cape experience – Molweni gives you easy access to short stays or overnight stops in other parts of the Karoo as well as to the famed Garden Route.
This all depends on the activities that you take part in. We will advise you.
All ages are welcome to come and enjoy what we have to offer.
Safari is about comfort while you are viewing the magnificent scenery and animals. Wear casual, breathable clothing, a hat for those hot sunny days and sunscreen. Preferably closed shoes and bring a jacket for those slightly chilly nights and early mornings.
all bookings are to be made in advance for accommodation and activities.
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In this malaria-free area, you can also enjoy a wider Eastern Cape experience – Molweni gives you easy access to short stays or overnight stops in other parts of the Karoo as well as to the famed Garden Route.
• The Karoo towns of Graaff Reinet and Cradock are well-preserved examples of nineteenth-century country villages and have fine examples of indigenous architecture. This is a rich record of the culture of the British settlers of 1820 and of their Dutch forerunners – as well as being an intrinsic symbol of the co-existence of the descendants of the Europeans settlers with the Xhosa in the area known as the Eastern Cape Frontier.
• Molweni also gives you easy access to the Garden Route with the acclaimed beaches of Plettenberg Bay and Knysna.
Molweni is in a summer rainfall area –and the countryside is green and lush. The days are warm, and the breathtaking mountain views can be enjoyed while relaxing and cooling off in the swimming pool. Winter is a lovely time to visit – with mild days and chilly nights to enjoy sitting under the stars warmed by a generous log fire in the boma or taking your ease in front of a large fireside hearth.
Catering or self-catering
Molweni offers a full catering or self-catering option. Both houses have fully fitted kitchens if you choose the self-catered option. We will tailor-make your ideal safari – whether you want a short or long stay, catered or self-catered – let us know and we will organize a memorable experience.
Nguni Cattle Roundup
• The Roundup
If you want to experience the thrill of bellowing Nguni, close-up game, wonderful horses (boerperde by the way), magnificent meals, tales of the day, and a horse safari that will go down as one of your lifetime highlights, read on and prepare yourself for goosebumps and adrenalin
The beautiful, multi-colored Nguni cattle are an indigenous African breed descended from the extinct wild ox of Europe and introduced to southern Africa over 2000 years ago by the Bantu-speaking farmers as they migrated south. As indigenous animals, they are extremely hardy and well adapted to the Eastern Cape conditions. They co-exist, as they have for thousands of years, with the game inhabiting the undulating hills, mountains, yellowwood forests and valleys of this 8500-hectare reserve. It is this important ecological balance that Molweni Private Game Reserve is re-introducing.
The Nguni range freely over Molweni and provide a very necessary bulk-grazing aspect to the veld management and species distribution across the various biomes. They do however require an element of domestic management that is carried out on a monthly basis by the game trackers and stockman so as to prevent them becoming wild and unmanageable. We keep tabs of each Nguni bull, cow or calf but refrain from calling them by their distinctive Xhosa names such as inkomo engabantubegugile, which means beast which is like old people or bafazibaphikicala which means the women dispute the case for obvious reasons.
It is with this in mind that we decided to open this exhilarating and adventurous experience to a public that is looking for that something more than the traditional horse safari, vineyard ride or beach ride.
While on the roundup, all the excitement of game viewing on a normal horseback safari will be experienced as you team up with our trackers to collect and work the cattle. Many species of game roam the reserve and, as you go about the collection, you will be trotting and cantering close to zebra, kudu, blue and black wildebeest, buffalo, springbok, blesbuck, giraffe, impala, red hartebeest, gemsbok, mountain reedbuck as well as many other species. After the collection, should you wish to assist and learn about nose rings, tagging, branding, dipping etc. at the crush, there will be many opportunities to do so. Or, if tagging a moody cow seems a bit daunting, just leave it to the trackers and take photographs!
Our roundup takes three days and four nights. You will traverse the whole reserve by day and spend your evenings around the fire or dinner table as the dancing lights of the hurricane lamps lull your tired body to sleep. However, seasons do dictate the type of work to be done: during summer the cattle will generally be on top of the mountains, but during the winters they will remain in the numerous valleys as it can become bitterly cold on the higher parts of Molweni.
On the day of arrival, the guests are introduced to Molweni’s layout and its history and will be acclimatized to how we run the operations. The first day begins with an introduction to your horse, followed by an outride to check the ability of the riders and the compatibility between rider and horse. Any changes necessary are then done and the roundup begins. Molweni has horses suited to experienced and less-experienced riders. Regular or extremely proficient riding abilities are not a pre-requisite.
An added attraction is the Waterkloof valley which is steeped in history of the most vicious battles of the War of Mlanjeni. This conflict between the Xhosa warriors and the British is known as the Eighth Frontier War and was fought between 1850 and 1853. At least seventeen battles were fought in and around the Waterkloof and many of these sites will be covered on the hoof and, if time allows, a brief description will be presented to bring alive the action and reality that took place there 150 years ago.
• Game viewing
• Horse trails
• Mountain biking
• Bird Watching
Molweni offers a variety of activities that will suit all interests and age groups. There are many challenging pursuits for the more energetic.
Molweni, which covers 8500 hectares of pristine Eastern Cape bush, is home to a wide variety of birds and animals. Antelope include an unbelievable variety – springbok, steenbok, mountain reedbuck, red hartebeest, gemsbok, lechwe, grey rhebuck, duiker, impala, Livingstone eland, kudu, bushbuck, blesbuck, fallow deer, blue and black wildebeest. There is a wide variety of smaller animals indigenous to the area – such as warthogs, bat-eared foxes, porcupine.
Molweni has chosen not to have the larger more dangerous animals and predators. This gives visitors the freedom to walk safely wherever they like in the reserve. Game viewing can be done independently on foot, cycling cycle or on horseback. There are buffalo to be seen but they are confined to a large forested section of the reserve.
The numerous waterholes and dams are ideal places to sit quietly and watch for game. Alternatively, game drives in comfortable four-wheel drive game viewing vehicles can be arranged. Especially popular are night drives where nocturnal animals can be seen.
Saddle up and enjoy a tailor-made horse safari in the Molweni Game Reserve. The horses are docile and familiar with the mountainous terrain, so you don’t need to be an experienced rider to enjoy a trail. Riding is a superb way of seeing and observing game and enjoying the environment. The trails can be arranged to suit you – from an hour’s ride to an overnight adventure.
Bring your own bikes and explore all that Molweni has to offer. There are many options – forest tracks, mountain roads, or paths on the grassy uplands where beautiful vistas await you. It is a wonderful way to fully experience the wilderness of this reserve.
Probably the best way to fully experience the wilderness is on foot. Hiking allows one the leisure and time to contemplate and absorb the beauty of nature at a leisurely pace. Apart from observing the large game, one has the chance of coming across the unexpected – activities of the small animals.
With no large predators on Molweni, the buffalo are in a special camp, and you are free to walk wherever you want. Molweni offers easy rambles or challenging full-day mountain hikes. Our qualified trackers are available to go along with you should you want them. A favorite outing is to a beautiful waterfall in the Waterkloof Valley. On the way, you walk alongside a mountain stream under a canopy of yellowwood, assegai and ironwood trees. This intriguing wilderness has its stillness broken only by birdcalls and the occasional crash through the undergrowth of bushbuck or kudu.
There are so many different birds in our area that space allows us to mention only a few of the more exotic types. These include the Ground Woodpecker – the only woodpecker with a pink belly and rump, and the Knysna Loerie – a beautiful green bird with magnificent red wings that show to the best advantage while in flight. The beautiful pinky-grey green Narina Trogon, named by Francois le Vaillant (the first ornithologist to visit South Africa) in honour of a Hottentot girl whose beauty he greatly admired. Look out for the Crowned Eagle or the Crowned Hornbill, whose female Seal herself into a hole in a tree for about 70 days during the breeding season. Maybe you’ll be fortunate enough to hear the Red-billed Hoopoe, also known in Xhosa as the ‘Intleki Bafaz , meaning the ‘laughter of women’ as it chatters in the treetop. Add to this list birds such as the common White-throated Swallow, the Giant Kingfisher and the distinctive Paradise Flycatcher with their extra-long, wattle-coloured, tail feathers, and the Giant Eagle Owls, with its wingspan of 155cm. Chats abound, but, with luck, you’ll spot the beautiful Black Eagle, a magnificent bird found in the mountainous or hilly country, one able to perform ‘loops’. The Fish Eagle, which is fairly common, can be found wherever fish can be caught. This bird is a magnificent sight as it swoops down and catches fish in the water.
Whatever your particular photographic interests, opportunities abound at Molweni – wildlife, natural forms, landscapes, textures, atmospheric scenes and old buildings. The freedom of movement on Molweni will allow you to photograph when and wherever you want.