Fort Governors Estate

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Tuesday, 3rd March 2020

By Jens Assmann

We have been in South Africa twice before, but never east of Port Elizabeth. And this is most probably true for the majority of the Garden Route visitors in this beautiful country.

For the start of 2020 we were looking for a nature hideaway to spend a good part of our sabbatical at. Living a month in a private game reserve at the Western Cape was not within our budgetary constraints, to be honest. So we widened our search and looked for spots at the Eastern Cape as well. Luckily, we found Fort Governors Estate. We booked an additional flight from Cape Town to Port Elizabeth, rented a car, drove a good 150 km east of Port Elizabeth along the N2 and started our month in our own cottage.

First things first: This place is an antelope heaven! There is a lot to learn about antelopes for starters like us although we did many game drives before.  Over our stay we managed to see these antelopes (most of them from our cottage's terrace). But there are even more antelope species in this huge reserve:

  • Common Eland (Taurotragus oryx): They can grow up to 1,6 m at shoulder heigh and weigh up to a ton. This makes it the second largest antelope in the world (second to its cousin the Giant Eland).
  • Blue Wildebeest (Connochaetes taurinus): It is a cow-like antelope with a muscular, front-heavy appearance. Their youngsters only get the parents colours at about two years of age.
  • Blesbok (Damaliscus pygargus phillipsi): Endemic to South Africa and Swaziland this antelope is not to be confused with its rare cousin the Bontebok. Its white head inspired the name "bles" in Africaans.
  • Impala (Aepyceros melampus): This medium-sized antelope can be observed in three social groups: territorial males, bachelor herds and female herds
  • Waterbuck (Kobus ellipsiprymnus): Male waterbuck feature long, spiral horns. It is predominantly a graser and needs close proximity to water sources in hot weather.
  • Greater Kudu (Tragelaphus strepsiceros): The distinct feature of this woodland antelope is their four to twelve white vertical stripes on their torso.

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Article and photos by Jens Assmann.