The Koster family are one of the legendary Karoo farming families and have been presiding over the Nuweveld mountains near Beaufort West for well over a century. When current patriarch Werner Koster decided to turn over 30,000 acres into a game reserve and built his ‘dream’ bush camp, you knew that something really special was about to emerge.
Down in the valley, under many shady trees, there are 7 chalets, a lounge/conference centre and a boma/bar area, supplemented by rolling lawns and a pristine swimming pool. Each chalet is self-catering and we booked the lot. If you can, this is the way to do it. Book it out and enjoy the free run of the camp.
Game drives up on to the Nuweveld plateau are available and our friendly guide was most informative and patient. We saw herds of springbok, red hartebeest and numerous other small buck along with some giraffe. However, it’s being out in the veld with the clear air, fascinating flora and fauna that is the real prize.
The service at Ko-Katsara is world-class. Nothing is too much trouble. Wonderful ‘braai packs’ of meat are supplied and there is a well-stoked honesty bar if you run out of liquid refreshment supplies.
Our guests are all resident in France but there were six nationalities between us. Everyone said, in their own language, “We’ll be back!”
For more information about booking at Ko-Katsara, click here.
Addo Elephant National Park is a diverse wildlife conservation park situated close to Port Elizabeth in South Africa and is one of the country’s 19 national parks. It currently ranks third in size after Kruger National Park and the Kgalagadi Transfrontier Park (formerly the Kalahari Game Reserve). There are two main residential camps – the Main Camp (touristy) and Camp Matlyoweni (in the south and well built into the bush veld). We stayed in the latter.
The original section of the park was founded in 1931, in part due to the efforts of Sydney Skaife, in order to provide a sanctuary for the eleven remaining elephants in the area. The park has proved to be very successful and currently houses more than 600 elephants and a large number of other mammals.
The original park has subsequently been expanded to include the Woody Cape Nature Reserve that extends from the Sundays River mouth towards Alexandria and a marine reserve, which includes St. Croix Island and Bird Island, both important breeding habitat for gannets and penguins, not to mention a large variety of other marine life. Bird Island is home to the world’s largest breeding colony of gannets – about 120,000 birds – and also hosts the second largest breeding colony of African penguins, the largest breeding colony being St. Croix island. These marine assets form part of the plan to expand the 1,640 km² Addo National Elephant Park into the 3,600 km² Greater Addo Elephant National Park. At present it is not possible for the public to go into this section as the authorities have major problems with penguin pollution from the oil fields nearby. Once this problem has been resolved they will open it up.
The expansion will mean not only that the park contains five of South Africa’s seven major vegetation zones (biomes), but also that it will be the only park in the world to house Africa’s “Big 7” (elephant, rhinoceros, lion, buffalo, leopard, whale and great white shark) in their natural habitat.
Flora and fauna
More than 600 elephants, 400 Cape buffalo, over 48 endangered black rhino as well as a variety of antelope species. Lion and spotted hyena have also recently been re-introduced to the area. The largest remaining population of the flightless dung beetle (Circellium bacchus) is located within the park. The flora within the AENP is quite varied, and like all plant life, is a central factor to the ecological system in place. Several species of rare and endemic plants, particularly succulent shrubs and geophytes are native to the South African region within the AENP. Many species are under environmental pressure, however, and are facing possible extinction.
No visit to the Western Cape is complete without a lunch or a garden stroll at Babylonstoren.
The Babel restaurant is our favourite and the meals are imaginative and very tasty. Add to this the re-creation of the 1652 Dutch East India Company Gardens as you have a magnet of an attraction.
The Belmond Mount Nelson Hotel in Cape Town is a legend in its own lifetime. Originally owned by the Union-Castle Mailship Company and then sold on to the Orient-Express organisation (now the Belmond Group), the Nellie as the locals fondly call her, has been playing hostess to legions of celebrities, holiday makers and business people for over 100 years.
One of the real Nellie institutions is the High Tea. Served in the historic lounge, think Peninsula Hong Kong on steroids.
For more information on the Belmond Mount Nelson Hotel, click here.
For us, THE lunch spot is the casual fish restaurant Live Bait, perched on the rocks in the Kalk Bay Harbour. upstairs is a posher big brother, Harbour House, but it is to Live Bait that we always gravitate.
Let the food do the talking…
After lunch, it is always good to wander through the fish vendors, watch the seals and browse the curios.
A ‘must’ stop if you have not been there beofre is the African penguin colony at the Boulders – just outside Simon’s Town.
The African penguin (Spheniscus demersus), also known as the jackass penguin and black-footed penguin is a species of penguin, confined to southern African waters. It is also widely known as the “jackass” penguin for its donkey-like bray, although several related species of South American penguins produce the same sound. Like all extant penguins it is flightless, with a streamlined body, and wings stiffened and flattened into flippers for a marine habitat. Adults weigh on average 2.2–3.5 kg (4.9–7.7 lb) and are 60–70 cm (24–28 in) tall. It has distinctive pink patches of skin above the eyes and a black facial mask; the body upperparts are black and sharply delineated from the white underparts, which are spotted and marked with a black band. The pink gland above their eyes helps them to cope with changing temperatures. When the temperature gets hotter, the body of the African penguin sends more blood to these glands to be cooled by the air surrounding it. This then causes the gland to turn a darker shade of pink.
The African penguin is a pursuit diver and feeds primarily on fish and squid. Once extremely numerous, the African penguin is declining due to a combination of threats and is classified as endangered. It is a charismatic species and is popular with tourists.
It’s a cert to wow the tourists first time out in Cape Town. Round the Mountain.
From the Atlantic Ocean, to Cape Point, to the Indian Ocean and back to the City.
Spectacular and why not finish it off with a great late lunch at Live Bait in Kalk Bay…
Here we go….
One of Ménerbes’ most famous citizens, Jane Eakin passed away in 2002 and her paintings have started to gain in value as they appear on the market.
A reader to Livingstylishlywell has three of her works and is requesting expressions of interest from anyone wishing to purchase any of them.
If you’re interested in purchasing a Jane Eakin painting, click on the Contact link on this site.