One of the rarest antelope species in Southern Africa has found sanctuary on the plains of Gondwana Game Reserve. The handsome Bontebok antelope naturally occur only in a little stretch along the southern coast of South Africa namely the Cape Floristic Region. Bontebok were hunted so extensively in the early 1800s by colonists that only 22 individuals remained. Overhunted and unprotected, the Van Breda, Van Bijl and Albertyn families of the Bredasdorp district enclosed their farms with stock fences to protect the dwindling population. Fortunately, Bontebok are poor jumpers and unlike antelope such as Kudu and Eland, scaling a 1.5m fence is too much effort. By the huge conservation efforts of these three families, Bontebok have been re-established in several conservation areas including Gondwana, and the current national population is well over 3000 individuals.
The Bontebok name is derived from the striking coat colouring which originates from the Dutch settlers that colonised the Southern Cape in the early 1600s. The Bontebok has a rich coffee coloured coat with a purplish tinge. The face , rear and belly seem as if they have been dipped in a smooth white chocolate.
Gondwana currently hosts a small but growing population of these endangered animals and every birth marks a significant contribution to conserving a species that we nearly lost. Gondwana Game Reserve aims to create a nucleus population of Bontebok to ensure the persistence of the species by feeding surplus individuals through to the greater meta-population. By providing habitat and space for this species , Gondwana intends to be one of the Bontebok population strongholds.