The Reserve, our Story & People
The Reserve

Our Story

Rolling wooded mountains cut by deep rocky ravines and majestic gorges make Welgevonden Game Reserve an evocative piece of Africa. Aptly meaning ‘well found’, this is a place of rare and rugged beauty, plentiful wildlife and prolific birdlife.


Big Five Game Reserve

Malaria Free Area

Limpopo Province, South Africa

Size of reserve: 34,850ha

Over 50 different animals & 300 bird species

Welgevonden is home to over 50 different mammals, including the Big Five. There are rare and unusual species too, such as brown hyena, pangolin, aardwolf and aardvark – all best seen at night.

The grassy plains abound with antelope from the largest eland to the diminutive duiker, and cheetah, lion and leopard are always close by. It is the diversity of habitat on the reserve that encourages such a wide range of wildlife as well as over 300 bird species, including rare blue cranes.

At 34,850ha in size, Welgevonden Game Reserve lies in the Waterberg plateau, about 250km north of Johannesburg. Here guests enjoy unlimited traversing through the reserve and experience an environment where biodiversity conservation and game viewing are managed in harmony. Welgevonden protects a unique and special environment and the reserve’s management is deeply committed to ongoing conservation research and development.

The evocative wilderness area offers an exclusive, intimate experience of the African bush with only a limited number of guests having access to the reserve at any one time. No private vehicles are permitted, which ensures minimal human impact and the ultimate wilderness experience. Historically, wildlife on the reserve has never been hunted so game viewing is always up close and personal. There is also ancient and delicate Bushman rock art on Welgevonden.

Welgevonden offers the discerning visitor something completely different. This is mountain bush-veld with rivers running through it and sweeping views to far horizons. It’s high altitude, temperate climate and malaria free makes it worth a visit all year round. Welgevonden is certainly one of the finest places to watch wildlife, sense wilderness and touch the spirit of true Africa.

Welgevonden Team


Chief Executive Officer

André Burger

Chief Operating Officer

Kassie Knoetze

Welgevonden Reaction Manager

Thinus Steyn

Finance and Administration Manager

Jonathan Swart

Research Ecologist

Koos Coetzee

Workshop Supervisor and Mechanic

Greg Canning

Volunteer Research Programme Coordinator

Samuel Davidson-Phillips

Conservation Manager

Mduduzi Vilakazi

Operations Officer

Mariaan Taljaard

Senior Admin Assistant

Deon Putter

Deputy Security Manager

Liezle Knoetze

Workshop Administration and Management

Phillipa Myram

Assistant Volunteer Research Programme Coordinator

Carmen Warmenhove

Assistant Volunteer Research Programme Coordinator

Matthew Thorp

Elephant Monitor

Jessica Oosthuyse

Wildlife Protection Project Coordinator

Rebecca Beith

Receptionist and Admin Assistant

Armstrong Maluleke

WIL Student: Nature Conservation

Craig Symons

WIL Student: Nature Conservation

Moji Kitsi

Welgevonden Environmental Programme Co-Ordinator

We have nothing to lose and a world to see.

John Muir


Is Malaria a problem in the Welgevonden Game Reserve?

No, Welgevonden Game Reserve is situated in a malaria free area and is safe to visit all year around.

What is the best time to go on safari?

Welgevonden Game Reserve is an all year-round destination.  Each season has its attractions.  Most of our visitors come during the summer months, however, ask a South African and they will tell you winter is the best time to go on safari.  The reason, the grasses are low and there is less foliage, and so you are able to see further.

Highlights for summer include birding, as the migratory birds are resident from October to March, most of the game birth their young in the summer months, and Welgevonden is particularly beautiful in the summer months.

What does it cost to go on safari?

Much like a cruise, most safari lodges offer an inclusive package, which includes accommodation, all meals and daily safaris.

Beverages, spa treatments and purchases of a personal nature, and a daily conservation levy will be at an additional cost.

Check with the lodge that you will be staying at what their daily rates are, and what is included in the rate.

How do I get to Welgevonden Game Reserve?

Consider Johannesburg your gateway to Welgevonden.

From this point, you are able to self-drive.  Click here for directions It is a three-hour drive from Johannesburg International Airport to the reserve.   The route is mostly highway, with an hour’s drive on good quality tarred provincial road to the Main Gate and a little dirt driving to the East and West gates.

Welgevonden Game Reserve is easily accessed by normal sedan vehicle.

Whichever lodge you reserve will be able to book a chauffeured road transfer for you.

You can charter a flight to the reserve.

There are daily flights from Johannesburg to Waterberg Gateway Airport, located just 20 minutes away from the reserve.  Flights are also offered from Waterberg Gateway to Madikwe Game Reserve or the Kruger and Timbavati region.  Contact Safari Air Wing on

What does a safari holiday entail?

Most lodges offer two safaris a day, conducted in an open safari vehicle, with an experienced guide.  Typically, safaris leave in the early morning at sunrise, and again in the late afternoon, when the wildlife is at its most active.  Safaris last for 3 – 4 hours.

Safaris most often return just after dark, so you are able to see the nocturnal species on route back to the camp.

Some safari lodges offer guided walks.

Check with individual lodges, what their daily programs entail, and what activities they offer.


The electricity supply is 220/230 volts AC 50 HZ. Most plugs have 3-pin or 2-pin. Adapters can be purchased, but may be in short supply. US-made appliances may need a transformer. However, a limited number of adaptors are available at most of the lodges.

Most lodges are currently equipped with standby generators, as a precaution against a power outage.

Please be sure to check your device specifications and requirements, before utilising our power supply source

Food and Water

Most of the lodges in Welgevonden rely on an underground water source. It is safe for drinking; however, you should prefer, all lodges have bottled water.

Check with the individual lodge you are residing at, what meals are included.  Be sure to mention any dietary restrictions or allergies as our location is quite remote and planning for special requirements is essential.

What is the climate like?

The southern hemisphere experiences 

Spring:  September / October

Summer:  October to March

Autumn / Fall:  April / May

Winter:  May to September

South Africa enjoys a warm climate year-round. During winter, expect to experience temperatures that range between 7 and 22°C (44 to 71°F). During the summer months, temperatures can reach between 16 and 36°C (60 to 97°F). Welgevonden is situated in a summer rainfall region. Typically, thunderstorms pass quickly.

What do we need to pack?

As Welgevonden Game Reserve is a malaria free area, there is no need for you to pack any malaria prophylactics, just your prescription medication. However, we do highly recommend that you bring:

  • Cameras, lenses and binoculars
  • Light, neutral coloured, clothing for summer safaris
  • Bathing suits for the pool
  • Walking shoes
  • Sunscreen and hats
  • Warmer clothing for winter stays, including a scarf, gloves, beanies, a wind proof jacket and thermal fleece (it can be really cold on safari in the early morning and evening)
Is Safari suitable for children?

Various safari lodges within Welgevonden welcome children.  Most often they have a program specifically tailored to enhancing a child’s experience of their safari. Check the individual lodges on the accommodation page.

What about connectivity?

Some lodges have cell phone reception, and Wi-Fi.

It is best to check connectivity with the lodge you wish to book.

Telephones should however not be taken on safari vehicles. Ringing of cell phones can be a disturbance to animals, and your fellow guests.

How long should we stay?

Most safari travellers will recommend a three-night stay at a lodge. This allows for two full days to enjoy the facilities of the safari lodge and extra time to explore the expanse of this large reserve.

How do we make a reservation?

The accommodation page features the lodges that are geared to holiday travellers.  We recommend that you contact the lodge of your choice to make a reservation.