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About Bergplaas Nature Reserve

The Landscape

The 5000-hectare Bergplaas Nature Reserve neighbours the iconic Compassberg in the Sneeuberg Mountains of the Great Karoo. Its altitude ranges from 1400m to 1800m and it serves as a key water catchment for the Karoo and the Eastern Cape.

Originally comprising three livestock farms, the internal fences and livestock were removed, and the wildlife that historically roamed this area was reintroduced. Bergplaas has been gazetted as a Private Protected Area, Nature Reserve status, through the Eastern Cape Parks and Tourism Agency’s Biodiversity Stewardship Program.

The Wildlife

Bergplaas has a population of approximately 900 large mammals, including Eland, Kudu, Red Hartebeest, Plains Zebra, Springbuck, and Black Wildebeest. Approximately 25 small mammals have been recorded in the region. Small carnivores include Caracal, Black-backed Jackal, Small-spotted Genet, Bat-eared Fox, African Clawless Otter, and the Cape-, Grey- and Marsh Mongoose.

There are 133 bird species in the region, including the Secretary Bird, Black Harrier, Lanner Falcon, and Blue Crane.

The Eland

The eland, Africa’s largest antelope, is indigenous to Bergplaas and the Sneeuberg. It appears in many Khoisan paintings because it holds a powerful place in the culture of South Africa’s first people who regarded it as a source of supernatural power. It contains large quantities of fat, used as a balm to make journeys between this world and the spirit world. It was also used to heal people, make rain, promote social harmony, and ward off evil influences.