Situated between the magnificent Outeniqua Mountains and unspoiled beaches of the Indian Ocean, Botlierskop Private Game Reserve ensures its visitors of a unique safari experience. It is situated on the world renowned Garden Route. Easily located just off the N2 and an easy 30 minutes drive from George Airport or a 4-hour scenic drive from Cape Town, the Mother City of South Africa.
Botlierskop is named after one of the spectacular rock formations on the reserve. The odd shaped "koppie" is a landmark in this area.
In the late 1700's Mossel Bay, a nearby historic town was developed as a busy export harbour for wool, ochre and ostrich feathers. According to the Legend, the koppie was used as a look-out point. When ships came in, the owner made a huge fire on the top of the "koppie". This was a sign for the nearby farmers, that a ship was coming in, so they could get ready to bring fresh supplies to the ship. The captain of the ship used the fire as an old-fashion lighthouse.
Botlierskop was bought by Dr Dirk Neethling in 1996. He has been in the game farming industry since 1960 and saw the opportunity to reintroduce wildlife in this area. After 4 years of recovering from domestic farming Botlierskop was ready to open in the year 2000, allowing their guests to experience the beautiful Cape environment as it was, when wild animals still roamed freely.
The History of Botlierskop Private Game Reserve
In October 2001 the Fireplace Restaurant opened. This 100 seater restaurant soon earned the reputation for quality food and service.
Eight luxury tented suites overlooking the Moordkuil River were opened in September 2003. Botlierskop expanded quickly to about 3000 ha and had nine permanent guides handling the outdoor activities in 2003. In total there were more than 40 permanent staff contributing to Botlierskop’s exceptional status in the tourism industry. This luxury accommodation has proven so popular that an additional 11 suites have been added between 2006 and 2007; then totalling 19. Warm hospitality and personal service has ensured that visitors return time and again. In October 2017 the reserve expanded to 4200 ha, 24 rooms and job opportunities for more than 80 people.
Along with prosperity we also experienced hardship and disasters. It made the team grow stronger and Botlierskop can vouch for that!
In November 2005 a veldfire swept though the reserve, destroying 85% of the vegetation, killing 3 rhino’s and some antelope. Although all staff, neighbouring farmers and friends, totalling 100 people, tried to prevent the main lodge and tented suites catching fire, we lost one tent and three were damaged. Botlierskop reopened in January 2006 and resumed business as usual.
On the 1st of August 2006 the tented suites flooded due to heavy rains. Four tents were out of order and the rebuilding was just completed when the next flood occurred on 22 August 2006, really putting a damper on the motivation of the staff. But they persevered and rebuilt the accommodation for the coming season.
Nature took its course and on the 22nd of November 2007 the tented suites flooded again, this time the damage was extensive. The water level in eight of the tents; reached bed height. After which one tent collapsed. The entrance road also washed away which prevented access to the reserve. Botlierskop was forced to close for day visitors as well as overnight guests but thanks to the municipality, access to the reserve was regained on the 21st of December resulting in day visitor traffic to continue. The tented suites all re-opened on the 1st of May 2008 and due to relocation of the tents, only 15 were available. Fortunately, due to the owners wish no member of staff has lost their job.
On the 25th of December 2007 Mrs Magda Neethling, Dr Dirk Neethling’s wife, passed away after suffering from cancer for more than 3 years. Mrs Madga Neethling was responsible for the interior decoration of the main lodge and tented suites. Dr Dirk Neethling passed away one year later also due to cancer.