Vergelegen Estate launches environmental tour featuring rare bontebok and indigenous Nguni cattle
Vergelegen Estate in Somerset West has launched an environmental tour to commemorate Heritage Month.
The tour reveals tracts of the vast 3000-hectare estate that were previously closed to the public.
The tour delves into The Vergelegen Nguni Stud, which was established in 2010 and numbering over 400 indigenous cattle renowned for their multi-coloured hides.
There's also a possibility that guests will spot five elands, which were recently introduced to Vergelegen as part of the Gantouw Project, a veld management and research programme.
The drive also includes an overview of the site of a planned arboretum that will incorporate extensive plantings of trees and three kilometres of walkways.
Vergelegen MD Wayne Coetzer said Vergelegen formally undertook South Africa’s largest privately funded alien vegetation clearing project from 2004, finally clearing 2200 hectares of dense alien vegetation and completing the project in 2018.
"Numerous birds and mammals such as Cape leopard, caracal, grey rhebok and spotted genet have returned, while rare and endangered plants, grasslands and wetlands have reappeared.
“With 1900 hectares of the estate promulgated as a private nature reserve with the same protection status as the Kruger National Park, we are now ready to share this environmental success story with our guests," she said.
Coetzer said Vergelegen was declared a Western Cape provincial heritage site last year.
“Our 18 gardens include five enormous camphor trees that were proclaimed national monuments in 1942. A hollow old English oak, about 300 years old, is believed to be the oldest living oak in Africa, while the Lourens River is the only local river that’s a Protected Natural Environment," she added.
The Environmental Tour departs from the Vergelegen Wine Tasting Centre at 10 am daily. The tour takes around 60-75 minutes.