At Melozhori, a predator free environment ensures peace of mind and countless possibilities for you to discover the reserve at your leisure. Continue reading “Top Things to Do at Melozhori”
Melozhori Private Game Reserve spans 2,300 hectares consisting of glorious fynbos, renosterveld and succulent Karoo terrain. In amongst the greenery are splashes of colour that represent our abundant flower population. As some of the species are not often seen in day-to-day life, we’re here to acquaint you with a few of our favourite Western Cape flowers found at Melozhori in preparation for your visit. Introducing, Melozhori’s fantastic flora!
As the national flower of South Africa, the King Protea is arguably the most notable species found at Melozhori.
This impressive flower typically develops a few thick stems that develop 6-10 big, bowl-shaped flowers as well as smaller, tubular flowers. Each large flower can reach up to an impressive 12 inches in diameter! Despite their root system, the King Protea can actually get all the water it needs from mist and fog – fortunately, given their location on the reserve, our protea population receives this fairly regularly in the early mornings.
Moving from one of the largest Protea species to smallest, the Pincushion Protea comes in several varietals – in terms of size as well as colour. These flowers are fairly common in South Africa due to the warm climate. As a low-maintenance, evergreen shrub, they are also popular in gardens.
The Pincushion Protea is one of the most easily recognised flowers worldwide thanks to their distinctive shape featuring stiff, curved stems with a slightly darker bulb on the end. Keep an eye out between June and November for their seasonal bloom.
Introducing one of the more unusual flora species on the reserve, commonly known as Wolwekos. Don’t be deceived by its succulent-like appearance, this particular plant is actually a root holoparasitic species meaning it attaches to a host root system. These plants can create an underground structure of up to 2 metres before producing any flowers.
Their ‘flower’ consists of a bright pink/red fleshy, velvet-textured structure of around 15cm in height with white anthers that protrude from the end of each stem.
Jakkalsblom (Dimorphotheca sinuata)
Don’t you love daisies? If the answer is yes, you’re in for a treat! More commonly known as the African daisy or Namaqualand daisy, these fabulous flowers typically appear as carpets of vivid orange.
The flower family, Asteraceae, is one of the largest flowering plant families in the world and are recognised by their classic ‘daisy-like’ look. We are fortunate enough to have a variety of colours on the reserve including yellow, red, and orange. These carpets are often intertwined with other species which pop up in pink, purple and blue, making for quite a contrast.
White Heath (Erica peziza)
Although technically a member of the fynbos family, it may not be immediately evident due to the snowy white flowers that appear all over the bush. On first glance, White Heath looks like it has cotton wool balls all over the plant. Upon closer inspection, you can see each cluster is made up of tiny, bell-shaped flowers with a slightly fluffy texture.
The species is endemic to the Western Cape and is predominantly found in the hilly areas of Melozhori Private Nature Reserve.
It’s not too late to visit us at Melozhori Private Game Reserve and see all of these stunning Western Cape flower species for yourself. If you miss this flower season, don’t worry, there is always some form of flora to enjoy. To join us for a well-deserved getaway in the Western Cape, simply email firstname.lastname@example.org and a member of our team will be in touch. Alternatively, visit our website for further information.
You may have done a daytime game drive, but have you ever wondered what wildlife can be seen at night?
If the answer is yes, we’ve answered your questions in a blog! Read more to find out about what could be seen on game drives near Cape Town at Melozhori Private Game Reserve.
The name of this skunk-like creature literally means ‘Honey Eater of the Cape’ referring to The Cape of Good Hope. If you’ve ever seen one, you can attest to the fact they have some impressive claws, which they use daily to dig burrows to hide out in.
Diet wise, Honey Badgers are notoriously unfussy and will eat anything and everything. As omnivores, they’re happy to range from plants and fruit to birds, insects and even eggs.
The first thing you’ll notice about this little mammal is its enormous ears – often reaching up to 13cm in height. Not only do their ears provide them with impressive hearing but, like the elephant, they are also used as a way to regulate temperature.
As an omnivore, the Bat-eared Fox has a varied diet, however, around 80% of it will be termites and dung beetles.
Although they may look like an enlarged house cat at first glance, the largest tell-tale sign of a Caracal is its pointy ears. This sandy-coloured cat is an impressive hunter and can jump around 3 metres into the air to catch a low-flying bird.
Caracals often opt for smaller prey such as rabbits, some reptiles, and other small mammals. On the odd occasion, they have also been known to take down larger prey such as goats and small buck if they come across them.
Now, this isn’t an animal you’d like to walk into by accident! Porcupines are covered in quills that can reach up to 50cm in length and detach when touched by a predator. When under threat, a Porcupine will puff up in size and shake – as some of their tale quills are hollow and knock together, this can make quite a racket and ward off attackers.
Their diet mainly consists of roots and bulbs they dig up as well as some fallen fruit or even bark.
Although elusive and often tricky to track down, you’ll know one when you see one! Aardvarks are typically greyish-brown with coarse hair, large ears, a long snout and an arched back.
Much like the Bat-eared Fox, their diet largely consists of termites and have been known to travel up to 16km to find sources of food. They have an exceptionally long tongue covered in sticky saliva, which prevents the termites from escaping.
Now, make sure you don’t confuse an Aardvark and Aardwolf as they’re quite different – in appearance anyway! An Aardwolf is sometimes mistaken for the similarly dog-like features of a hyena. Their furry coat has several vertical black stripes with a bushy black-tipped tail.
Diet is the only characteristic that connects the Aardvark and Aardwolf given their affinity for termites. Interestingly, an Aardwolf will switch termite species halfway through the year as one becomes dormant during the winter months. In one night, an Aardwolf can consume anything from 200- to 300,000 termites!
African Wild Cat
True to its name, the African Wild Cat looks almost exactly like a domesticated house cat, just bigger. It’s said that the Egyptians domesticated African Wild Cats as a method of pest control and from there they became the pets we know today.
Their diet consists of mice, rats, small mammals like rabbits or sometimes even young antelope.
Now that you’re clued up on the nocturnal residents of Melozhori Private Game Reserve, it’s time to experience some evening game drives near Cape Town and see how many you can spot!
Image Credit: African Conservation Foundation
Following the downgrade to Lockdown Level 2, domestic travel is finally open and we couldn’t be more excited to welcome you back to Melozhori Private Game Reserve. With that in mind, we’re here to refresh your memory and show you why this should be your next getaway. So, without further ado, here’s a reminder of all that’s on offer at this game reserve near Cape Town.
Located just two hours from Cape Town, Melozhori’s main offering is our exquisite, exclusive Lodge. Located amidst the fynbos with views over the dam and across to the rambling mountains, the property exudes peace and tranquillity.
The Lodge features four en-suite bedrooms each fitted with their own Nespresso Machine, television, fireplace, Wi-FI, and so much more. We are a proudly family-friendly destination so both of our indoor suites can easily accommodate two children each. Our lovely thatched Lodge also offers a large lounge, an expansive deck with infinity pool, and even an outdoor fire pit.
During your stay with us, each and every meal is catered for by our capable team. Prior to arrival, we’ll discuss your favourite foods and come up with a menu designed just for you and your guests so all you need to do is enjoy your stay. The Lodge is completely exclusive so whether it’s a romantic weekend away or a group of friends, you’ll have the place to yourself.
Located several kilometres away from the main Lodge, in the middle of the reserve, stands our sublime self-catering Cottage. Given its hilltop position, the Cottage also offers exquisite panoramic views of the valley and across to the blue-hued mountains.
The Cottage has recently undergone a makeover so if you haven’t visited recently, you’ll notice some changes! Featuring two en-suite bedrooms that comfortably sleep four adults and two small children, the cottage is perfect for a family getaway. Spend some time in the pool, out on the deck, or by the braai to properly enjoy the natural beauty surrounding you. The Cottage also has great Wi-Fi, a TV, and a fireplace for cosy nights in.
In some exciting news, the Cottage offering is about to experience another upgrade that we’re sure you’re going to love – who doesn’t love a hot tub?
You’ll never be short of things to do during your stay with free roam of our reserve for hikes, picnics at sunset, mountain biking and more gentle walking routes. Don’t forget about our game drives either! Melozhori is not only a top game reserve near Cape Town but also optimally located for off-site activities with Robertson, Bonnievale, and the Breede River nearby.
We have had a resident Boomslang snake living the Lodge in Melozhori Private Game Reserve until quite recently, affectionately known as “Groenie”. To date, said snake has been the source of much fun as our guests have been thoroughly entertained by his presence. However, we made the decision to relocate Groenie for the sake of safety – both his and our guests. Our Reserve Manager, and in-house snake handler, relocated Groenie safely to his new home in the bush.
A Boomslang is a venomous snake that belongs to the colubrid family. The species can typically be found in sub-Saharan Africa. Boomslang inhabit grasslands, savannas and open areas with isolated trees and bushes, where they like to hide. People avoid contact with these snakes because of their strong venom. These snakes are not on the list of endangered species and their population in the wild is large and stable. Here are some interesting facts for you to have in your safari knowledge bank:
– Boomslang can reach 3 to 5 feet in length and a weight between 0.4 to 1.1 pounds – this roughly correlates to 0.9 – 1.5 metres and 181 – 500 grams.
– Females are brown in colour while males are brighter and covered with green scales that have black or blue edges. Belly can be yellow, grey-ish or light brown in colour.
– Boomslang have large, yellow coloured eyes with round pupils. They possess excellent eyesight and the ability to detect even a motionless chameleon.
– They are diurnal species meaning mainly active during the day.
– The name “Boomslang” is a local name (in South Africa) that translates to “tree snake”.
– Boomslangs are arboreal (adapted to the life in the trees) but occasionally descend to the ground to find food.
– Did you know that this particular snake is carnivorous (meat-eater)? Its diet is based on birds, arboreal lizards and rodents. Boomslang also visit the nests of sociable weavers to collect eggs.
– Boomslang are a rear-fanged snake (their fangs are located at the back of the jaws). Unlike other rear-fanged snakes, they have large fangs and can stretch their mouth to 170 degrees during an attack and then inject venom in a stabbing motion.
– Unfortunately, the bite of Boomslang can be fatal for humans. First signs of envenomation appear a few hours or even a day after being bitten. Venom induces internal bleeding that leads to death if the person does not receive an anti-venom.
– Despite having potent venom, these snakes rarely attack humans and will try to escape before biting – an incident usually occurs if they have been cornered. A Boomslang also has an attack ‘tell’ and usually inflate their neck, exposing its black-coloured skin and forms an S-shape before attacking.
– Mating season takes place from July to October. Males aggressively fight with each other to establish dominance and get the opportunity to mate.
– The female lays 10 to 25 eggs inside hollow trees and logs or beneath decaying vegetation and incubation lasts 65 to 100 days.
– Hatchlings are 12 inches long at birth, grey or brown in colour and covered with dark and light bluish dots on the dorsal side of the body. A yellowish or pinkish belly is covered with brown spots. Their eyes are large and iridescent green. Young Boomslangs have a prominent vertebral stripe that will vanish before they reach adulthood. Boomslang reach sexual maturity at the age of 2 to 3 years.
– Boomslangs can survive for around 8 years in the wild.
Hopefully, these facts will help you to identify a Boomslang snake in the wild and that admiring them from a safe distance is always best!
We look forward to welcoming you back to our now Groenie-free Lodge again soon!
Image Credits: Melozhori and The African Snake Bite Institute
Melozhori Private Game Reserve is home to around 130 species of bird including our latest discovery, the Lanner Falcon. In addition to small birdlife and South Africa’s largest flying birds – Kori Bustard – Melozhori is also home to the world’s largest flightless bird, the ostrich. As they are not usually the most talked about bird, how much do you really know about them? Here are some of our favourite ostrich facts;
A fully-grown ostrich can reach up a height of around 1.6 metres and weigh in at a whopping 135 kilograms – more than the average heavyweight boxer. In addition to their height, an ostriches’ wingspan can reach approximately 2 metres and are used in mating displays, for shade, and as rudders to change direction while running.
Ostriches are the fastest runners out of all two-legged animals and can sprint at speeds of up to 70km per hour with each stride covering around 5 metres. Their powerful legs also come into play when threatened and can deliver a deadly forward kick capable of killing potential predators.
3. Collective Parenting
Each of the herd’s hens place their eggs (each 15cm long) in the larger, 3m wide nest of the dominant female. There, the eggs are incubated by the dominant female by day and male by night for camouflage purposes. Hatchlings are then co-reared by both males and females.
4. Teething Problems
As they lack teeth, ostriches swallow small pebbles to grind their food and can carry around 1kg in stones at any time. Did you know they also have 3 stomachs?
5. Myth Busting
Contrary to the popular myth, ostrich do not bury their heads in the sand but rather press their necks to ground for camouflage as their plumage typically blends to sandy surroundings.
6. No Water, No Problem
Ostriches can go several days without water thanks to their ability to use metabolic water and moisture from roots, seeds and insects. However, if presented with a body of water they will enjoy a nice bath.
Now that you know some of our amazing ostrich facts, it’s time to come and view them and our other wildlife in person. Reservations are easy, simply email email@example.com or, if you need further information, visit our website.
Melozhori is a picturesque private game reserve located just under 200kms from Cape Town. Travellers of old used the land as a place of rest and recuperation on their journey along South Africa’s gorgeous Garden Route. Over the years the area has seen many changes, not least of which was the construction of our beautiful lodge as well as our comprehensive restoration and conservation efforts. Whether you are making your way further east or have Melozhori as a final destination, here are the top five reasons to visit us in the Overberg;
Located just a two and a half hours drive – including a pit stop – from the Mother City, Melozhori Private Game Reserve is ideal for a magical weekend away. Take a leisurely drive to soak in some spectacular scenery and stop in at the Peregrine Farm Stall before arriving at one of the most beautiful game reserves near Cape Town.
Since purchasing the land in 2008, the Bhorat family have slowly reintroduced an array of species back into the area such as springbok, eland, giraffe, Bat-eared Fox, and zebra. For a full list of species, click here. Although not introduced by Melozhori, caracal and even a leopard have been spotted on occasion. As well as an impressive list of mammals, Melozhori’s birdlife has thrived on the revived fauna and the reserve has become a birdwatcher’s paradise.
Taking into account historically occurring species, the once damaged land was fastidiously restored thanks to guidance from local experts and is now a verdant landscape of renosterveld, Karoo, and pristine fynbos.
All 2,300 hectares of the reserve form part of local conservation efforts regarding the protection and preservation of species such as the Cape Leopard.
There are so many ways to enjoy nature at Melozhori: embark on a game drive with one of our expert guides at the helm, take a leisurely walk through the veld, or set off on an adventure with your mountain bike. Located far enough away from light pollution, consider staying up for some stargazing. One of our personal favourite activities is taking a picnic out into the veld to watch the sunset.
If a stay at one of the best game reserve near Cape Town sounds like your idea of paradise, contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org or +27 (0)76 430 3948 to make a reservation.