Eland: How eco-tourism paved the way for their return to the Northern Berg

eland in the Northern Drakensberg

These beautiful beasts can be spotted grazing, browsing, and milling about on the Montusi Estate.

They roam free in the Northern Berg Valley crossing the mountains from Sterkfontein Dam in the Free State into Royal Natal National Park. They travel vast distances, moving on clicking ankles from green flush to green flush.

Twenty years ago, it was unheard of to see an eland in the Northern Drakensberg.

In fact, Montusi’s founder Anthony Carte thought his son-in-law, Mic Du Plessis, was crazy when he reported a sighting.

“Nonsense! That must’ve been a cow,” he responded to Mic’s excited declaration.

Little did he know that the move from agriculture to eco-tourism and subsequent rehabilitation of the veldt in this valley created a perfect environment for the eland.

So, they returned after a hundred-year absence and have thrived with the breeding “super-herd” numbering around 150 animals!

We know they were prolific in the pre-colonial years because of the Bushman paintings that provide us with our earliest insight into human history here.

Academics have linked the images of eland on Drakensberg cave walls to the spiritual significance of the antelope to these First People.

The landowners of the Northern Drakensberg can be very proud that our environmental practices have restored these properties to their pristine former glory.

Montusi has partnered with several other tourism establishments to create ahttps://montusi.co.za.dedi678.jnb2.host-h.net/activities/ nature reserve that will keep this “eland corridor” open to posterity.

• Eland spotting is just one of the many activities at Montusi Mountain Lodge. Click here for more Montusi activities

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