Leave it better – conservation at Montusi

conservation at montusi mountain lodge

Montusi is set in the middle of a 1000-hectare conservation estate. It is our little kingdom over which we have almost complete power.

We can decide what vegetation will thrive; what animals may live here; and what the landscape will look like in the future. We are mandated to “leave it better” through conservation at Montusi.

Our Estate is our greatest asset, but it is also our heaviest burden.

When travelling the country we are reminded how incredibly lucky we are to live in a space that we have complete power over and responsibility for. On a recent family holiday to the coast, we were struck with the devastating impact humanity has had on the beaches along our beautiful coastline.

Even undeveloped areas of the coast suffer from the pollution of human consumption and there is very little the residents of those areas can do to keep their spaces pristine. No matter how responsibly the residents live, the rubbish from the sea will be deposited on their playground with every high tide.

Even inland places have to contend with the pollution of their rivers and water sources by influences beyond their control. Stunning riverside locations will be inundated with plastic pollution with every downpour upstream.

Our Drakensberg mountain retreat has the happy situation of owning its own water catchment. At Montusi, we can control what happens in the drainage line that feeds our water supply. No human developments can pop up unexpectedly, the alien vegetation can be kept in check and healthy grass and wetlands can be encouraged by careful veldt management. The water coming from our taps is some of the healthiest and tastiest available!

One of our proudest achievements is the quality of water that flows in the stream below the lodge which joins a tributary of the Tugela River. This perennial stream has been tested and its water is clean enough for human consumption, without any further treatment!

Because of the initial investment in excellent water management infrastructure and ongoing maintenance thereof, our 23-year-old development has no negative impact on the water source of those downstream from us. This surely should be a given, not something noteworthy, but it is.

We have been mandated by our grandfather to “leave it better”. It is our ongoing aim to leave this square kilometre in a better environmental state than it was when we took responsibility for it in 1994.

“We do not inherit the earth from our parents,  we borrow it from our children.” – Antoine de Saint-Exulery

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