Melozhori Game Reserve lies in the picturesque Cape folded mountains, adjacent to the tiny hamlet of Stormsvlei in the verdant Overberg district of the Western Cape and just under 200kms from Cape Town. And just like travellers of old, Melozhori is a natural place to pause on your journey through the beautiful and famous ‘Garden Route’. At the the outset of your journey, as you cross the Sir Lowry’s Pass into the Overberg, historic names such as ‘Palmiet’ and ‘Hou Hoek’ will flash by; names mapped by Dutch cattle traders in 1683 to mark their route from Cape Town to the kraals, or cattle trading stations and ‘Zonder End Rivier’.
In those days the Cape burghers, or settlers, were instructed by the Governor to set up trade with the indigenous Khoi people who lived in the area, but they saw the Overberg-and particularly the Zonder End valley, in a different light. They discovered well watered grazing lands for cattle and sheep and dense forests of usable timber and fertile soil for cultivating crops. The forests have long disappeared, but agriculture has continued through the generations. Against this background, the story of Melozhori begins…
The history of Melozhori is the story of the Bhorat family. With no history of agriculture, but a passion for conservation and wildlife, the family acquired the property in 2008 on the historic wagon-trading route. The overgrazed land – partly farmed and partly indigenous veld – carried a few dilapidated buildings, no roads to speak of and badly sited over- silted dams; no wild animals to speak of either. But under expert guidance, the Bhorat family began their journey in rehabilitating the historic land.