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Who manages the Reserve and the Estate?
The conservation management of the entire Reserve (including the Estate) is done by the Mpumalanga Tourism & Parks Agency (MTPA) who is the provincial conservation authority for Mpumalanga province. The reason for this is the exceptionally high conservation priority of the reserve. The MTPA budgets for this function through an internal budget in line with their legislated mandate. Additional to the conservation management, the 18 private lodges situated on the Estate within the Reserve, are managed by a dedicated estate manager with staff compliment paid from owner’s levies.
Is the reserve open to the public and day visitors?
No. Only landowners and operators of the commercial lodges (only three are planned) and contracted specialist tour operators may traverse the reserve. Thus the only way the public has access to the reserve is by way of specialist tours and game drives from the commercial lodges, which are all on a guided basis with game viewing vehicles. These commercial vehicles operate on predetermined routes and do not come close to thearea where the Private Sites are situated.
Who owns the game in the reserve?
All game is owned pro-rata per land size by the landowners of the reserve. Special arrangements may apply where rare or expensive game is introduced by an individual landowner. Despite any such arrangement, there are no internal game fences in the reserve and none will be allowed. All game roams freely across the reserve.
What game can I expect to see?
The full range of plains game such as Giraffe, Zebra, Kudu, Impala, Red Hartebeest, Blue Wildebeest and Eland can be seen, through to smaller game such as red duiker, klipspringer and various small mammals. Various predators and scavengers such as Leopard, jackal and aardwolf are also present. Ultimately the reserve will have all the big five game except lion.
What will happen to excess game?
Excess game will be captured live and sold to other reserves and conservancies. The proceeds from game sales will supplement the reserve management budget and be used to enhance reserve facilities. All the game on the reserve are disease free and will, therefore fetch premium prices.
What is the benefit of Nature Reserve status and being such an important conservation priority?
The reserve has a high number of very exceptional plants and animal species which are endemic to the area and important from a national and international perspective. In line with international best practice South Africa also classifies different habitat types according to a range of criteria to determine conservation priorities. Mountainlands has through these processes consistently stood out as one of the country’s highest conservation priorities. For this reason it is as Nature Reserve under the National Environmental Management: Protected Areas Act of 2003. It is also a core part of South Africa’s newest World Heritage Site, based on its globally unique geology. As Nature Reserve and World Heritage Site it enjoys the protections afforded to such protected areas under international convention and domestic laws, including guarding against change of land use. Internationally and in South Africa, the biggest threat to modern conservation is irresponsible land use and in particular the treat of mining. Nature Reserve status offers protection against that, as was recently proven when the Constitution Court upheld the ban on mining in protected areas and in this Nature Reserve in particular. Read more …
What is the benefit of Mountainlands’ World Heritage status?
Mountainlands Nature Reserve was recently inscribed by UNESCO in the World Heritage list as it is a core part of the Barberton Makhonjwa Mountains World Heritage Site. This formalizes global recognition of the area as having attributes of Outstanding Universal Value which are important for all man kind. Thus, besides the formal protection status held from a provincial and national perspective, the international recognition serves to elevate Mountainlands beyond local ideology and policy and elevates it to a very sought after World Heritage status. It therefore offers significant additional protection against possible future policy changes and political instability which may place ill considered imperatives on changing the land use. In a nutshell World Heritage Status helps ensure that the area remains protected for future generations as a recognized area of global significance.
What about security for the Reserve and the Estate?
Security on the reserve is ensured by two layers of security arrangements in the reserve: Firstly, the management of the reserve also entails the normal, perimeter fence patrols and wildlife protection. Secondly, the Estate has a zone of higher level security created by its own security and access control arrangements for the valleys in which the Private Sites are located. Lastly, and perhaps most importantly, the reserve is situated in a rural area with a very low crime rate.
What is syndication?
Syndication is a secure method of facilitating joint ownership of a full title property, shared by multiple owners. For more information link to Syndication page…
Can my Private Site be rented out or run as a guest house?
No. The Constitution of the Estate and agreement with the reserve precludes running any of the private stands of the Estate as a commercial operation. This means it cannot be run as a Guest House, Bed & Breakfast or Tourist Lodge. However, making it available on a cost recovery basis to family, friends and colleagues is allowed within reasonable limits. The reason for this is to protect the investment values of owners and prevent the reserve from being overdeveloped. Three development sites have been identified specifically for commercial game lodges elsewhere in the reserve. These are situated in the northern and eastern sections of the reserve where they will not impact on the exclusivity of the 18 private sites.
Who determines the levy for the Private Sites and what will it be?
Levies are decided collectively by the 18 private owners through the Mountainlands Estate Owners Association, of which all owners are a member. They determine the levy by budgeting every year for the expenses involved in managing the Estate. At inception the developer compiled a budget for this purpose based on actual costs incurred by the developer in running the Estate until handover to the Owners Association. Based on this, the indicative monthly levies were R3600 per site or R360 per 1/10th syndicated share in the case of a syndicated lodge. This budget is adjusted annually by the Owners Association.
Do owners have access to the rest of the reserve and how is traversing regulated?
Yes. All landowners have access to approximately 117 km of existing roads in the reserve as well as any new roads which may be constructed from time to time and a further 86 km of 4×4 tracks. All private access roads which lead to or past sites of lodges will be marked “Private”, with access only to the owner or guests of that particular site. Absolute privacy is a priority in the reserve. The Constitution and Management Regulations provide the framework within which traversing is regulated.
May I drive to my Private Site with my own vehicle?
Yes. Access roads to private lodges are suitable any vehicle with reasonable clearance. To protect the ambiance of the reserve, owners are encouraged to use custom game viewing vehicles when traversing around the reserve. For this purpose, lockup garages are provided near the main gate where these vehicles can be kept and where private cars can also be left.
Who will construct my private lodge?
A professional team of builders and engineers will build each lodge under the supervision of a registered architect. This team can be a client’s own contractors or the developer’s team of contractors, depending on the clients requirements and availability at the time. The entire process is monitored by the Estate architect to ensure compliance with standards and other regulations. The developer offers a full turnkey service from purchase, through construction, to occupation of your Private Site. Utilising this service is optional.
Who will clean and maintain my private lodge?
Maintenance of each lodge or home is the responsibility of the owner of such stand. However, the Estate staff are available to do cleaning and maintenance on request of the owner. Domestic staff may be available on request when owners are in residence and cleaning can be arranged before your arrival.
What about maintenance of my game viewing vehicle?
As game-viewers typically do not accrue high mileages, arrangements can be made for cost effective and collective servicing to be done periodically on site for all the vehicles.
Are there standard plans to choose from if I buy a Private Site?
No. The sites are highly exclusive and each site is quite unique. It requires a specialized approach to design each lodge to bring together the owner’s requirements and the attributes of the site. This is done by an architect for each site individually.
What is the size of building permitted for a Private Site?
A private home or private lodge of 750 m2 may be constructed with a maximum of 12 beds, situated on a development footprint of 2500m2. This may be increased depending on the specific site.
How will my investment grow?
There are four tiers to the investment growth in Mountainlands: Firstly, wildlife properties have consistently shown significantly higher growth than any other property sector in the South African economy in the long term. Secondly, earlier buyers will benefit from the growth in sales prices of Private Stands as dictated by the developer according to their planning. This is based on the general rule for developments like these, that the last stands sell for significantly more than the first stands (without any inflationary adjustment). Thirdly, while there are already significant game numbers on the reserve, the sales prices will show disproportionate growth as members of the Big Five game species are introduced and as the game numbers grow and the game viewing experience improves over time. And lastly, as the reserve becomes more well known for its unique attributes and gains further recognition such as World Heritage status, it will be come more sought after and prices will grow accordingly.