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WINTER SEASON DRAWS HEIGHTENED INTEREST IN GAME FARMS

This year the onset of the annual winter game auctions and hunting season coincides with a heightened global awareness of South Africa and the influx of tens of thousands of visitors. The wildlife industry - which includes the safari tourism business, hunting and game sales – is an important contributor to the national economy, says Wayne Rubidge,manager of Pam Golding Wildlife Properties.
 
“As with all business sectors the wildlife industry has experienced an adjustment due to the economic downturn and now the market is again looking at investment opportunities in this sector and beginning to determine the relative value of land.
 
“There is no other country in the world that offers a wildlife and game farming experience like South Africa. All areas of the country are easilly accessible, and the supporting wildlife service industry of taxidermists, game capture, translocation, veterinary services, and sales is the most sophisticated on the African continent and arguably in the world. This, combined with a world class property system makes South Africa an obvious choice for investment in wildlife related property,” says Rubidge.
 
The wide choice of property purchase options available to game farmers and safari outfitters varies from province to province, with different vegetation types offering a variety of experiences and types of game farming. The popular areas and vegetation types are the savannah areas of the Kalahari, the bushveld of the Eastern Cape and the Northern provinces, the grassland areas of the country and now also the Karoo.
 
Says Rubidge: “The large number of game farms on the market is testament to the challenges the industry, like many others, is experiencing. Buyers are increasingly looking for value and well priced properties - thereby precipitating a property price rectification in many areas. Current interest in purchasing game farms is indicative of a wide array of buyer needs, and recent sales to South Africans and overseas investors reflect an industry which is still alive and well with many new entrants into the property market.”
 
He says investor enquiries reveal that popular areas offering value, space, and a healthy and safe environment are those north of Addo National Park around Somerset East and Jansenville - through to Graaff-Reinet in the Karoo, the Kalahari and the grassveld regions of the Southern Free State, particularly around the Orange River.
 
In the coastal and adjacent areas the most productive vegetation type is found in the Eastern Cape, where prices for game farms vary from R2000 to R10 000 per hectare. Recent sales by Pam Golding Properties (PGP) in this area include a magnificent semi-developed game farm of 3300ha sold for R10.5 million to a Danish buyer. On offer by PGP this winter by auction on the 3 June (2010) is a magnificent 3600ha game farm called Koedoeskop, just north of Addo Elephant Park in the Somerset East district. This securely fenced 3600ha property has one of the largest breeding herds of the rare Cape Mountain Zebra - a threatened and protected species. Incorporating mountains and valleys the farm has a feeling of African wilderness and with the Voel (Bird) River running through it provides an ideal habitat for the full spectrum of species of game. 
 
The diverse places and vast open spaces of the Karoo offer a range of game farm options. Popular areas include those around Graaff-Reinet in the Eastern Cape, Colesberg in the Northern Cape, the Southern Free State and around Beaufort West in the Western Cape. A very special, flagship property on offer is a 10 000ha game farm situated in the nutritious Bo Karoo near Colesberg, priced at R43 million (visit
www.pamgolding.co.za/quaggasfontein). This property is being sold complete with vast herds of plains game and breeding herds of the sought-after Cape Buffalo and Rhino, and many kilometres of the Seacow River running through it. It includes a manor house, renovated game lodge with six en suite bedrooms, three double-bedroom chalet, guest cottage, staff quarters and various outbuildings. The Seacow or Seekoei River was historically the only perennial river of the Northern Cape and the scene of Africa’s largest migration of the Trekbok (migration Springbok). Tribute is being paid to this now-extinct phenomenon by the Nama Karoo Foundation with its Trekbok Exhibit recently opened in Graaff-Reinet at the Pam Golding Properties and Chocolat Art Gallery premises (visit www.namakaroo.org).
 
In the Southern Kalahari, currently on the market is the well managed property called Southern Game, popular with European clientele and hunters from the UK. This 2127ha property with manager’s house, chalets, restaurant and lapa and fully stocked with 15 species of game is being sold as a going concern for R7.95 million, including equipment and safari vehicles.
 
The Southern Free State, with its unique grasslands and, along with the Northern Cape, extensive Orange River frontage, is home to the appealing resort town of Vanderkloof. Surrounded by a nature reserve, this town has over the past decade been sensitively and attractively developed and due to its growing popularity has drawn increased interest in wildlife properties in the surrounding area. Unique opportunities exist around South Africa’s two largest inland lakes - Lakes Vanderkloof and Gariep. These properties come with incentives from the regional nature conservation authorities as they lie adjacent to existing provincial nature reserves. Currently on offer is a 3070ha property adjacent to the Tussen die Riviere Nature Reserve with scenic views over the river and lake, priced at R9.85 million.
 
The Pam Golding Portfolio of Wildlife Properties offers a wide range of game farms ranging in size from 1000-50 000ha are priced from R3 million up to R350 million for a large, exclusive Big 5 property. For those who wish to develop their own game farm, an expert team of specialists can advise where to buy and what species to carry, as well as whom to contact for further professional advice in game farming.
 
Issued by Gaye de Villiers


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