On World Environment Day Exclusive Getaways spotlights some of the eco-wonders that South Africa safeguards. Our country shelters numerous environmental sanctuaries across its diverse landscapes – havens for biodiversity and conservation. Plan a getaway to a significant eco hotspot in tribute to this World Environment Day, and immerse yourself where protection of landscape and preservation of wonder is paramount, and sustainability a way of life.

Cape Floristic Region

The Cape Floristic Region is a ‘biodiversity hotspot’ located near the southern tip of South Africa, and one of the most diverse floral regions in the world. It covers an area of just over 90 000 square kilometres where more than 9 000 known species of flowering fynbos are found; many are found in this region alone. The area is characterised by fynbos, known for its diversity of species, among them South Africa’s national flower, the king protea.

Eco hotspots protected environmental sanctuaries in south africa

Grootbos Private Nature Reserve is an award-winning eco-reserve set above Walker Bay within the Cape Floristic Region in the South-Western Cape. The reserve incorporates a majestic fynbos landscape positioned between mountains, forest and sea, and is less than two hours from Cape Town.  One of the activities available to Grootbos guests is a 4×4 botanical safari to explore the very rich flora on the reserve. There are no less than 900 recorded plant species on magnificent Grootbos. After the drive guests can visit the Grootbos Florilegium, a unique collection of botanical illustrations done by local and international artists. There are also numerous other nature activities to do with Grootbos guides, such as horse and hiking trails through forests and fynbos, coastal walks, seasonal whale-watching, and boat tours to view seals, white sharks and African Penguins. Mail us.

De Hoop Nature Reserve

De Hoop Nature Reserve is a majestic natural sanctuary covering 34 000 hectares in the Cape Overberg. The neighbouring marine reserve extends 5 km out to sea, and is one of the largest marine protected areas in Africa conserving a huge variety of marine life. A World Heritage Site, the reserve is a spectacular kaleidoscope of sea, sand dunes, vlei, mountains, fynbos, antelope and birdlife. Guests can do day walks along the breathtaking coastline or through the fynbos, and enjoy scenic biking and game drives. De Hoop’s marine reserve is a breeding ground for the southern right whale, making seasonal whale watching one of the highlights.

Eco hotspots protected environmental sanctuaries in south africa
De Mond Villa in De Hoop Private Nature Reserve

De Hoop Collection offers a wide range of affordable self-catering accommodation and luxury, fully catered stays. For families and small groups wanting luxurious sole-use accommodation in the reserve, De Mond Villa is a fully catered 5-bedroom unit with private outdoor leisure area and pool, and is fully off-the-grid. Mail us.

Cederberg Wilderness Area

The Cederberg Wilderness Area lies 250km north of Cape Town, stretching from the Middelberg Pass in Citrusdal to north of the Pakhuis Pass at Clanwilliam. It constitutes about 71 000 ha of rugged, mountainous terrain, excellent for hiking and rock climbing. The Cederberg Mountains are a distinctive orange, coloured by iron oxide, and are the main feature of the landscape. Interesting sandstone rock formations and ancient San and Khoi rock art proliferate.The area is rich in mountain fynbos and in wildlife.

Eco hotspots protected environmental sanctuaries in south africa
Kagga Kamma Private Nature Reserve in the Cederberg Wilderness Area

Kagga Kamma Nature Reserve is concealed in a spectacular rocky Cederberg wilderness where visitors can view rock paintings several thousands of years old, enjoy guided game and nature drives with scenic sundowner stops, as well as hiking, mountain and quad biking, a reptile educational, and star-gazing at a mini-observatory. Stay in charming circular huts or cave suites built between massive sandstone rock formations, or at the Star or Sky Suites – uniquely special open-air sleepouts at private locations in the reserve. Mail us.

Barberton Makhonjwa Mountains World Heritage Site

Nkomazi Private Game Reserve falls within the fascinating UNESCO-declared Barberton Makhonjwa Mountains World Heritage Site, an area that records of some of the oldest and best-preserved volcanic and sedimentary rocks on the Earth. These outcrops provide insights into early earth processes including the formation of continents, and the earth conditions 3.5 to 3.2 billion years ago in which life first appeared.

Eco hotspots protected environmental sanctuaries in south africa
Nkomazi Private Nature Reserve

Nkomazi Private Game Reserve enjoys a majestic setting of grasslands, river valleys, and the towering mountains that contain the ancient rock and life forms. Guests can enjoy a unique safari on a reserve supporting both Highveld and Lowveld wildlife. There are two scheduled game drives daily, as well as guided walks, fly fishing, birding, guided mountain biking, star gazing and spa treatments. Ten tents are beautifully set to overlook a river. Mail us.

Waterberg Biosphere

The UNESCO Waterberg Biosphere features beautiful mountain ranges and breathtaking beauty, with many rivers, streams and wetlands. Wildlife and birds are abundant on this pristine landscape. Welgevonden Game Reserve is a 36 000ha private game reserve within the Waterberg Biosphere Reserve, and one of the most accessible of South Africa’s premier, malaria-free big five game reserves. Welgevonden is only 2.5-3 hours drive from Gauteng, or a 45-minute flight from Johannesburg.

Eco hotspots protected environmental sanctuaries in south africa
Sundowners at Laluka Safari Lodge in Welgevonden Game Reserve in the Waterberg

Laluka Safari Lodge is a romantic haven in Welgevonden Game Reserve, and within the Waterberg Biosphere. Laluka is all about conservation, sustainability and nature. Meaningful encounters with the wilderness take place through specialist safaris and walking trails. A spa, reading deck, swimming pool, photographic hide and photography studio add variety to the safari experience. The suites are plush and beautiful, with handcrafted details and items made by local artists. Each has a private terrace with plunge pool, overlooking the vast savanna. See other safari lodges in Welgevonden. Mail us.

Mail us to book an eco getaway in South Africa, or call +27 21 797 7122 to speak to a consultant.