Ricochet News

Authentic Karoo Experiences: Visit Koffylaagte, an adventure destination that is serious about conservation

JUNE 8, 2015
Authentic Karoo Experiences: Visit Koffylaagte, an adventure destination that is serious about conservation

The Karoo is a scenic, semi-arid region that encompasses over 400 000 square kilometres stretching over all three Cape provinces. It is in this region, that you will find the charming Koffylaagte Private Game Lodge.

“When the first British settlers arrived at Algoa Bay in 1820, this route, passing Koffylaagte, was used by the Afrikaner traders travelling from the hinterland to Port Elizabeth in their ox wagons,” describes Cem Kumral, the owner of Koffylaagte.

“The journey would take them along a gravel road stretching from Greystone to Glenconnor via Koffylaagte as well as the Paardepoort and Sapkamma passes. On this route, a stopover known as the Koffylaagte Outspan (coffee plains) became popular. The name is said to refer to the Sheppard trees or Witgat in the area - those roots were used as a substitute for coffee.”

Kumral said, at one point, the British Colonial government erected a toll gate at Koffylaagte, because of the huge number of traders using the route, but it was later abandoned after a trader won a court ruling against the tolling.

“Koffylaagte was then converted into a sheep farm in early 1900 and later a hunting farm, before it was purchased by the Kumral’s in 2006. Neighbouring farms were also purchased and consolidated into today’s pristine private game reserve,” he described.

Premium 4-Star accommodation was added and comes in the form of a lodge, a farmhouse and five luxury safari tented camps.

Today, Koffylaagte is home to an abundance of wildlife that includes large ungulates, small mammals, antelope, predators, primates and a rich bird life, including a resident family of black eagles.

“On our game drives, guided walks or horseback safaris, guests may see our breeding rhino couple, zebra, wildebeest and giraffe, 12 different antelope species, baboons and vervit monkeys, along with much other wildlife such as warthogs and bushpigs, meerkat, mangoose, bat eared fox, aardvark and porcupine,” Kumral said. “There is also a dedicated section in the reserve for the conservation and breeding of disease-free Cape buffalo.”

Koffylaagte is the best place to see some of the Eastern Cape’s unique indigenous flora including the Elephant Foot plant, which is threatened in the wild, and two species of Cycad surrounded by the Noorsveld and a rich variety of succulents.

“Koffylaagte is a showcase example of an eco-tourism destination which was once used for domestic farming and is now devoted to wildlife conservation and breeding,” Kumral said.

“Join us for a life-changing experience in the heart of the Karoo, complemented by friendly staff, amazing views, ultimate tranquillity, heart-warming Karoo cuisine and the best close-to-nature encounters in the Eastern Cape!”