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South Africa Safari

Mount Anderson Ranch

Drakensberg Mountains, Mpumalanga Province, South Africa

Mount Anderson Ranch in the Drakensberg Mountains, South Africa
Return to Map of Lowveld Game Reserves          ©MalaMala

View images of Mount Anderson Ranch: Mount Anderson Images

MOUNT ANDERSON RANCH RATES: Mount Anderson Ranch Rates

Set in the dramatic highveld of the Drakensberg Mountains of the Mpumalanga Province (which sweep up to the 7,500-ft Mount Anderson Peak), this 8,000 ha / 20,000 acre property in the catchments of the Kruger National Park provides an exclusive location for an unforgettable fishing and wildlife getaway. No less than five major rivers rise on the ranch providing magnificent trout fishing facilities, a wide variety of fauna and flora, and a remarkable selection of indigenous game and birdlife.

Proclaimed in 1990 as a water conservancy, this unique venture provides environmental protection to Africa's high altitude flora and fauna.

Guests at Mount Anderson Ranch can enjoy a wide diversity of activities in the company of a qualified ranger/ host.

A compatible consequence of protecting the water catchments has been the outstanding trout fishing available on the property. There are extensive fishing opportunities for Brown and Rainbow trout with a total of 24 weirs, a large lake and long river catchments. The quality and diversity of the trout fishing suits all levels of ability from beginner to the more experienced. High quality fly-fishing rods and reels are available.

A wildlife safari, conducted in a 4-wheel drive vehicle or on horseback, in the mountains surrounding the homestead will yield herds of Africa's less famous antelope, including eland, black wildebeest, blesbok, mountain reedbuck and oribi. Catch a brief glimpse of predators such as the elusive leopard, jackal or caracal. Whilst you might occasionally hear baboons barking from the cliff tops, the only disturbance to the solitude of one's trout fishing experience is caused by Africa's game approaching the streams to drink. Indigenous birdlife includes the brilliant malachite sunbird, the Cape vulture, the fish eagle and numerous species of francolin.

The relics of the gold mining era of the 1920's and 1930's still remain on the property and many workings are easily visible. Old miners' houses, a mining press and deep level shafts bear witness to the harshness of the conditions in which the pioneers worked. Guests may explore these old gold mine workings and shafts and even try their hand at panning for gold.

Accommodation            For images of Mount Anderson Ranch, click Mount Anderson Images
Mount Anderson must be booked in entirety by groups of six or less.

Golden Cottage
Guests stay in the lovely Golden Cottage.  This pink stone, ranch-style homestead situated in the Krantzkloof valley on Mount Anderson Ranch, is totally secluded and tastefully furnished to the highest standards. The Cottage consists of two buildings, one containing 2 bedrooms and the other, the main building, housing the lounges, dining and living areas, plus the third bedroom.  The limited number of six guests have exclusive use of the entire ranch, together with their own team of staff, which gives the feeling of being in a private, luxurious home.

Accommodation is in three double luxury suites, all with en-suite bathrooms. In addition, there are two elegant, spacious lounges, a dining room, fully equipped snooker room and a terrace overlooking the tiered trout ponds, which offer stunning views, particularly at sunset.

Children's No children under the age of 12 years are allowed at Mount Anderson Ranch.

Facilities Include:
3 Luxury, double/twin bedrooms.
En-suite bathroom with separate shower.
Full range of guest amenities.
Heated towel rails.
Insect proof screening on all windows and sliding doors.
Hair dryers.
Bath robes.
Insect repellent supplied in all bedrooms.
Supply of up-to-date magazines in all bedrooms.
Private verandahs overlooking the surrounding mountainside.
Purified water.
Complimentary bottled Mount Anderson Spring water in each bedroom.
International direct dial telephone available - 24 hour service.
Facsimile facilities are available.
24-hour electricity.
24-hour air-conditioning and heating.
Room service.
Separate tour guides' accommodation (B grade).
Complimentary laundry service.
Complimentary bar service.
Television (with Satellite)

Bookings are fully inclusive of all meals, snacks and drinks (SA brands only), game drives, fly fishing, horse riding and laundry. Children under 12 years of age are not permitted at Mount Anderson Ranch.

Luxury accommodation.
All meals and snacks.
Bar service.
Game drives in a 4-wheel drive vehicle, conducted by an experienced ranger.
Horse riding.
Trout fishing including necessary equipment.
Game walks accompanied by experienced ranger.
Laundry service available (min. 2 nights only).
Transfer to and from Lydenburg Airstrip.

Telephone calls.
Clay Pigeon Shooting.
Travel to and from Mount Anderson.

Dining and Cuisine
Sumptuous hearty meals are the order of the day. The management at Mount Anderson try request detailed personalized information on each client prior to their arrival in terms of their tastes and preferences so that all meals may be catered accordingly... a truly special dining experience awaits!

Guests at Mount Anderson Ranch have a wide variety of activities to choose from, ranging from those that cater for the highly energetic; hiking and horse riding to the more sedate pastimes of trout fishing, clay pigeon shooting, going on a game drive or exploring the old gold mining village.

For those who just want to relax, there is a diverse assortment of reading material available and you are encouraged to make yourself comfortable on the patio and just enjoy the view and the tranquil montane setting.

Rangers - The Ranch rangers are employed for their knowledge of the African bush and the surrounding area and their ability to communicate with people. They are highly qualified, formally trained men who are thoroughly conversant with all aspects of ecology. Apart from conducting informative game drives, the ranger is the guests' host for the duration of their stay.

Climate - The climate over most of southern Africa is temperate. However, because Mount Anderson Ranch is located at high altitude, temperatures tend to be cooler than in most other areas. The summers tend to be mild with heavy afternoon thunderstorms being commonplace and winters are generally cold with snow falling occasionally. Rainfall occurs mostly during the summer months (October - March).

Dress Code - The dress code is casual but a sweater may be required at anytime, whilst during the winter months (May to September) very warm clothes including a windbreaker (anorak) are essential.  Please note: Mount Anderson do request that gentlemen wear slacks to dinner.

Wildlife and Flora
The spectacular habitats of Mount Anderson support a wide variety of plant and animal species. At the higher altitudes, water oozes from sponges or from between rock fissures creating marshes. There are also beautiful kloofs, which are home to some splendid patches of indigenous forest. These are fortunately still intact and here one finds some magnificent trees.

In summer the beautiful greeny-blue Malachite Sunbirds abound as do the uncommon Gurney's Sugarbird. Both species visit the Protea trees and the aloes for nectar and are a magnificent sight while they do so. Raptors can frequently be seen circling the sky, as can swallows and swifts. Rustling among the long grass are francolins, including the unusual greywing and redwing species.

The great value of Mount Anderson as an exceptional environment in South Africa lies in the high altitude sponges or bogs from which the clear streams rise. These marshes harbour shrews and moles and are popular habitats for frogs, including Common Toads (Bufo gutturalis). Dragonflies are invariably about on warm days, when at rest their wings in a forward position. Damselflies also occur, more sedentary than dragonflies and remaining stationary on reeds for long periods with wings folded back along the length of their body.

Mount Anderson Ranch has been re-stocked with a number of species of game that formerly occurred in substantial numbers before commercial hunters brought destruction to the wildlife herds of southern Africa in the nineteenth century. Because of its remote location, the Mount Anderson district was once home to some of the last specimens of big game. Some of the farm names in the vicinity bear testimony to the sad demise of the wildlife frontier. Olifantsgeraamte - the elephant's skeleton - south-east of Mount Anderson Ranch is reputed to have been where the last elephant in the district was shot, while the neighbouring farm Rhenosterhoek is supposed to have been where Petrus Coetzer shot the last rhinoceros in the 1870's.

Dominating an extensive and rugged area, the summit of Mount Anderson appears to the Ranch visitor in its imposing grandeur. In the 1920's Prime Minister Jan Smuts wrote that the tremendous escarpment around Mount Anderson contained some of the most magnificent scenery of the whole African continent'. Now encircled by a modern road system but still isolated and inaccessible, Mount Anderson has been in the center of the vortex of Transvaal natural and human history.

The beauty of Mount Anderson is enhanced by its immense hydrological significance. It is, quite literally, the wellspring of the water supply of Mpumalanga. Near its summit gather the principal drainage lines and headwaters of rivers which flow both east and west - the Ohrigstad, the Klein Spekboom and the Spekboom, the Kliprots, the Kranskloof, the Sabie, the Treur and the Blyde. Many of these rivers tumble down the cliffs of the escarpment in spectacular waterfalls - Mount Anderson, Bridal Veil, Horseshoe. The high altitude brings with it a cool climate throughout the year and high rainfall, often in the form of heavy mist.

The rivers originate in springs which ooze from high altitude bogs or sponges and the hillsides glisten with sheets of water. The streams are clear and fast-flowing, plunging down over rocks in waterfalls and rapids. Trees line the stream beds and ferns overhang the waterfalls, and birdlife and wild flowers are abundant. Today, as a Water Catchment Reserve, Mount Anderson Ranch is little disturbed by man, and wildlife such as eland, blesbok, mountain reedbuck and zebra take refuge in its seclusion. Wild flowers, including some rare alpine species and a close relative of South Africa's national flower, the Protea, flourish in the veld, on the sides of the mountains and along the edges of the streams.

Mount Anderson also has an interesting and complex geology. The summit region is rich in minerals, including both valuable gold and rare titanite. In the 1870s it was part of the first South African gold rush, and in the 1920s and 1930s Mount Anderson had a brief gold rush of its own when the Mount Anderson Gold Field supported prosperous little mines such as Golden Hill, Jackpot, Little Joker, Formosa and Finsbury. The abandoned workings can still be seen and they provide a window into the fascinating human drama that digging for riches in this craggy landscape entailed.

The name of Mount Anderson commemorates two Irish brothers who were both surveyors in the Transvaal: William Alfred Blackburn Anderson and Harry Mitchell Anderson. In 1883 William surveyed the boundaries of the farm Hartebeesvlakte 163JT, which borders on Mount Anderson Ranch and gave his name to the peak of Mount Anderson (which is actually on the farm Mountain Top). At 2284m, Mount Anderson was for many years thought to be the highest point in the Transvaal but a resurvey done some decades ago showed that De Berg (2331m) in the Steenkampsberg to the west, was slightly higher.

Mount Anderson Ranch comprises three old Transvaal settler farms, Kranskloof 554KT, Kliprots 558KT and 158JT and Goedverwacht 152JT.

Water Conservation
Michael Rattray's family has for a period of 34 years owned MalaMala Game Reserve in the Mpumalanga Lowveld, adjoining the Kruger National Park. Prior to this, Mr Rattray's association with The Kruger National Park extends as far back as 1938. During this time, as a consumer of water both directly for his camps and indirectly for the wildlife that drinks from the rivers flowing through these wildlife properties, he has watched concerned, as the river levels dropped lower each year. In the winter of 1982 the perennial Sand River on Mala Mala stopped flowing for the first time in living memory. Whilst the flow resumed again in the wet summer months, the Sand River assumed non-perennial status and flowed intermittently each year thereafter during the dry winter period. This is the unfortunate state of affairs with most of The Kruger National Park's rivers and it is vital that something is done to reverse this trend. The continual decline in instream flows must impact negatively on wildlife biodiversity in parks such as The Kruger National Park with a possible worst case scenario being the resultant decline in tourism numbers.

In 1990 Michael Rattray exercised options on 8000 hectares (20 000 acres) of land in the Lydenburg district and the consolidation of these properties created Mount Anderson Ranch. At 2000m (6500ft) above sea level in the river catchment areas of the Blyde river system of the Eastern Transvaal, it was the start of his contribution to serious water conservation and the simultaneous protection of indigenous highveld fauna and flora. Mount Anderson Ranch derives its name from the highest peak in Mpumalanga, namely Mount Anderson, which at 7500ft forms the most southern point of the property.

His first response to this land acquisition was the removal of all exotic livestock. The use of these former summer grazing areas for sheep and cattle had denuded the flora and in turn damaged the catchment areas of the five rivers that rise on the property. Overgrazing of the grass cover had seriously affected the water retaining sponges, but the simple removal of bulk indiscriminate grazers, restored the rivers to produce a strong year round flow. Michael Rattray's passion for new forms of conservation and his vision and commitment, was his reasoning behind acquiring the source of the rivers where some misinformed farmers were inflicting much of the damage.

The Mount Anderson Water Catchment Reserve was formed and proclaimed in 1993. A process whereby the negative effects of overgrazing and inadequate road maintenance had caused soil erosion was immediately addressed and resulted in a short period, in the most severe thunderstorms producing crystal clear water. A comprehensive exotic plant eradication program was also initiated with the removal of all plants and trees not indigenous to the area. Exotic vegetation that was removed included eucalyptus, wattle, and pine.

The necessity to protect catchments is borne out of the fact that 80% of any river's flow emanates from 20% of its most upstream area.

Top          Return to Map of Lowveld Game Reserves          Return to Map of Mpumalanga Province

For tourist information and activities in the Mpumalanga Province, click More Mpumalanga
For further information about Kruger National Park, click More Kruger

For further information about South Africa, click More South Africa

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