August 17, 2020

Michaelhouse Reserve

/ Michaelhouse Environment / Michaelhouse Reserve

Michaelhouse owns several hundred hectares of veld and small areas of indigenous forest, some of which may be viewed from the edge of Meadows next to the Centenary Centre.

In 2005 the Michaelhouse Reserve was identified by conservationists Kevin McCann and David Cook as a valuable area of Midlands mist belt veld. In KwaZulu-Natal, 95% of this diverse habitat has been replaced by crops and plantations or severely degraded by soil erosion, bio-diversity loss, animal poaching and alien plant invasion.

Since the removal of cattle owned by Michaelhouse from this veld area over two decades ago, the land has stood idle and understocked with a few antelope and an excellent bird population. The area has been managed with the burning of fire breaks and annual rotational burning of grass.

This has recently been remedied with the introduction of a herd of beautiful Nguni cattle which is managed using the principles of holistic high density, low frequency grazing. Areas which have not been burned for four years are showing signs of significant recovery and improved biodiversity.

The Board of Governors has taken the decision to erect a game fence around this demarcated area, introduce Oribi, other wildlife and cattle and the area has recently been proclaimed as the Nature Reserve.

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