General Information

Origin of the word “Quagga” | Our Philosophical Standpoint | Location | Climate
Game and Bird Types | Topography and Vegetation | Medical Facilities | aQua Crystal

Origin of the word “Quagga”

The quagga (“equus quagga”) is recently extinct, the last quagga having died in the Amsterdam Zoo in Holland on 12 August 1883. However, perhaps it will be extinct for not too long. It has been established from extensive DNA tests that the quagga was a sub-species of the Burchell’s zebra but differed from the Burchell’s zebra mainly in the degree of striping; the Burchell’s zebra has black stripes on a white background over its total body whereas the quagga’s stripes were paler towards it’s hindquarters.

Because the interspaces between the stripes became progressively darker towards the quagga`s hindquarters, the stripes and interspaces merged into a plane brownish colour. Given the relationship with the Burchell's zebra, the South African Museum in Cape Town  embarked upon a project to breed Burchell’s zebras with progressively lesser stripes on their hindquarters. The researchers are  hopeful that in due course the same colour pattern as the quagga can perhaps be re-created.   


Our Philosophical Standpoint

Quaggasfontein is a private game reserve where the wildlife and their environment are as important to us as our esteemed clients. We are proud of the tame nature of the wild animals and strive vigorously to maintain this state of affairs in order that game may be viewed and photographed in their natural habitat at close range. Surplus animals are sold for breeding purposes to other reserves and the gender ratio is usually two or three male animals in a parcel of ten. 

Consequently, we do allow a limited amount of hunting in order to reduce the numbers of those male animals where the bachelor herd sizes have become too large and/or to eliminate older animals - male or female - that would naturally have fallen prey to predators like lion and leopard, which no longer exist in the area.

In keeping with our philosophy of disturbing the environment as little as possible, all hunting is conducted to the highest ethical standards and bow hunting or hunting with silenced firearms is preferred. Silenced firearms are available at nominal rental should clients wish to dispense with the problems associated with traveling with a firearm.

Location  ( Click here for Map )

Quaggasfontein is 27 km (17 miles) west of Colesberg (S 30 43’ 20” & E 25 05’ 58”) at an elevation of 1343 m (4475 feet) above sea level in the Northern Cape Province (State) of South Africa. Colesberg is located roughly midway between Johannesburg and Cape Town and is two hours drive from Bloemfontein airport.

GPS co-ordinates for Quaggasfontein (WGS 84) are latitude 30º 46' 48,9" and longitude 24º 49' 03,6". Quaggasfontein has a helipad, a 15 knot windsock and can provide hangaring for two Robinson 44 helicopters or one Bell single bladed helicopter.

A landing strip is available near Colesberg at Gariep Dam (FAHV) some 80 km from Quaggasfontein. The strip is some 1360 metres in length, is tarred (asphalted) and has Avgas and Jet A1 refueling facilities Charters can be arranged upon request.  


During the summer months (October to March) temperatures can range from 10 degrees Celsius at night to 35 degrees Celsius during the day but daytime temperatures are usually below 30 degrees. The winter days are generally mild with temperatures as high as 20 degrees Celsius. Night time temperatures during winter can occasionally be as low as –4 degrees Celsius but are usually above zero.

Rainfall occurs only in summer and averages around 400 mm (12”) per annum. The averages have little meaning however as rainfall in successive years can be as low as 150 mm and as high as 500mm. 


Topography and Vegetation

The landscape consists mainly of vast open plains interspersed with numerous hillocks, hills and plateaus having magnificent stone outcrops. The vegetation in these areas is grassland, Karoo shrub and low bushes.  


The Seacow River and the Elandsfontein River (non -perennial rivers that have been dammed in two places) traverse the 25000 acre complex. Total water frontage is approximately 20 km’s (12.5 miles) on both sides of these rivers providing an excellent environment for those game species that prefer riverine type habitat. In places these rivers are flanked by hills. Denser and higher bush type habitat makes these areas ideal for browser and mixed-feeder animal species.

Game and Bird Types

uaggasfontein currently has two of the “big five” game types that exist wild in Africa: the square lipped rhino (commonly known as the white rhino, an endangered species) and buffalo. Both of these species were indigenous to the Karoo when the early settlers arrived in the 1700's. A comprehensive list of the Animal Species and Bird Species that occur in this area is included for your perusal. Clients should bear in mind, however, that a number of the species are nocturnal and require some considerable dedication to be seen. 




Ø Click here to see our list of Birds that occur at Quaggasfontein
Click here to see our list of Mammals observed at Quaggasfontein

The re-introduction of hippo and cheetah.

A comprehensive habitat evaluation has been carried out on the northern half of the reserve (some 4500 ha. or approximately 11 000 acres) to determine the viability of re-introducing hippo and cheetah to this area that is presently populated by buffalo, massive herds of springbok, black wildebeest, warthog, mountain reedbuck, common reedbuck and ostrich. 

The area is traversed by the Seacow River (“Hippo” River) that has numerous - almost continuous - hippo pools along the 8,5 km (approximately 5 miles) stretch contained within the boundaries of the reserve. An interesting aspect associated with this river is that, as a result of underground springs feeding it, the river always has an outflow where it exits the reserve even though it often may have no inflow at the point where the river enters the reserve. Hippo will be re-introduced into the same hippo pools where Von Plettenberg (of the Dutch East India Company) et al massacred them in 1778. A concrete monument and brass plaque near the hippo pools today bear testimony to this tragic act of folly. A copy of a painting commissioned by Von Plettenberg at the time hangs in Quaggasfontein's lounge.....the original is in the Rijks Museum in Amsterdam. (For a larger version of the painting, click on it in the Photo Gallery)


Medical Facilities and Emergency Evacuation

Good medical facilities are available in Colesberg some 25 minutes drive from Quaggasfontein. Colesberg has at least five private medical practitioners and a hospital. Bloemfontein has a number of private hospitals and one of the best state hospitals in South Africa.


A limited quantity of the sweet water of Quaggasfontein is bottled under the “aQua Crystal” mineral water name. The quantity made available is limited to an amount that does not impact to any significant extent the water table in the immediate area of the origin.

Any proceeds from the sale of this precious resource of Quaggasfontein are applied in the first instance towards conservation programmes aimed at threatened and endangered species and may also be applied towards conservation of the property and its many animal inhabitants,

Water test results performed by the Council for Scientific and Industrial Research in South Africa are available and may be accessed by clicking on “aQua Crystal Water Test Results”




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