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Wide range of wildlife at Summerplace Game Reserve

While the large animals like Giraffe, Zebra, Eland, Kudu and Roan usually get the most attention, Summerplace Game Reserve is home to over 40 species of larger mammals. This variety not only makes visits more interesting for guests, but it helps ensure a balance of the local ecosystem. Here’s a summary of which animals you can expect to see at Summerplace Game Reserve.

Summerplace was originally a cattle farm, which underwent a shift to a self-catering family accommodation and mountain biking destination in 2020. Then, in 2021 the owners acquired the neighbouring farms and transformed it into a game reserve. It’s now all three – self-catering family accommodation venue, mountain biking destination and game reserve.

As a farm in the Waterberg, there was always some resident wildlife, including Kudu, Waterbuck, Impala and most larger mammals, such as Duiker and Warthog. But the removal of the fences from neighbouring farms, which already had some game, saw the arrival of Zebra and Wildebeest and an increase in the number of Waterbuck among others.

The introduction of Giraffe in the past year was quite exciting. They’re not easy to transport and they’re a wonderful addition to the reserve. A total of 18 were brought in and there have already been two babies born on the reserve. Other animals recently introduced are antelope, including Eland, Roan, Sable, Tsessebe and Southern Reedbuck. These antelope species are all part of the Summerplace conservation programme. In early April 2023, more Mountain Reedbuck will be introduced to the reserve.

In terms of canine predators, there are Brown Hyena, Black-backed Jackal and Bat-eared Fox; while the feline predators include Leopard, Caracal, African Wild Cat and Serval. Other small predators at Summerplace are Honey Badger and Small-spotted Genet. Other interesting small mammals include the Ground Pangolin, the Cape Porcupine, the Aardwolf and the Aardvark.

Here’s the full list of mammals at Summerplace Game Reserve as at end of March 2023: Aardvark, Rock Hyrax, Scrub Hare, Jameson’s Red Rock Rabbit, Cape Porcupine, Springhare, South African Ground Squirrel, Tree Squirrel, South African Galago (Bush Baby), Chacma Baboon, Vervet Monkey, Ground Pangolin, Aardwolf, Brown Hyena, Leopard, Caracal, African Wild Cat, Serval, African Civet, Small-spotted Genet, Slender Mongoose, Banded Mongoose, Bat-eared Fox, Black-backed Jackal, Honey Badger, Striped Polecat, Plains Zebra, Bushpig, Common Warthog, Giraffe, Greater Kudu, Bushbuck, Eland, Blue Wildebeest, Tsessebe, Roan, Sable, Common Duiker, Southern Reedbuck, Mountain Reedbuck, Waterbuck, Steenbok, Impala.

“This kind of diversity, such as we have at Summerplace is a sign of a healthy eco system. If we were missing any key components, we would need to investigate why,” said John Mackie, Summerplace Game Reserve’s Conservationist.

Four animals that are found in the region, but have yet to be confirmed at Summerplace Game Reserve are: Striped Polecat, Dwarf Mongoose, South African Large-spotted Genet and Southern African Hedgehog.

“We’d like visitors to be on the lookout for the Southern African Hedgehog when hiking, running or riding,” said Mackie. “David Baber, who has lived at Summerplace for more than 50 years, says that they were quite common when he was a youngster. But none have been seen in 30 years.

“That matches a worrying pattern all over Southern Africa. When small creatures like that disappear, it could be a sign of bigger things to come. Certain frogs, insects and birds are good indicators of a healthy ecosystem. It’s a bit of a mystery as to what has happened to Southern African hedgehogs in general. We are very keen to hear if any hedgehogs are spotted at Summerplace for this reason,” added Mackie.

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