Here at Bellevue, although we are closed to guests, the life of nature and our efforts to conserve it continue, with the necessary hygiene protocols in place for our people. Fences are being walked every day, the perimeters checked for poaching activity and to ensure the animals remain safe. Boreholes are being maintained to ensure there is water for our wildlife and we’re monitoring the health and activity of our Big 5 family members – lion, leopard and buffalo – as well as the small game and other animals. Research and monitoring for veterinary health and food needs continues in our lion rehabilitation zone.
Our reforestation programme is an important part of our conservation efforts. Although scaled-back for now, we are clearing alien vegetation, keeping our indigenous nursery alive to continue re-populating plant habitats, and caring for our 285 beehives that play such a crucial role in the health of the ecosystem and food production.
All this work goes on, albeit at a smaller scale than usual, because we cannot simply halt our mission to look after God’s country, and God’s assets.
Bellevue covers some 7 500 hectares (that’s roughly 7 500 sports fields, or Trafalgar Square in London times 7 500) of rugged mountains, wild forests, remote and isolated, almost impenetrable areas of bush, so you can imagine that this is no small task.
Our conservation efforts are also helping to keep some of our people employed through this difficult time, and that is vital, given that employment at Bellevue directly and indirectly supports some 200 people in the rural and impoverished community of Addo.
We are so appreciative of the commitment and sacrifices of our team, who go out into the bush daily while also bearing the worry for their families at home under lockdown. Without them, we simply cannot realise the dream of a sustainable future for Bellevue.
Those who have a love of nature, who have ever experienced the untamed wild of the African bush on safari, know that it is the dedicated people of places like Bellevue who make all the difference.
We are all looking forward to the day we can re-open the gates and welcome guests to experience our special piece of Africa again.
While tourism remains under lockdown and employment is severely affected, if you feel able to make a small donation to the welfare of our dedicated staff, we would greatly appreciate your support.
This would contribute immensely to our ongoing efforts to support the community that enables us to deliver an exceptional visitor experience and to continue conserving and rehabilitating our environment.
Any donations made will go 100% to supporting the food and health needs of our staff during this time.
As part of our holistic approach to conservation and the environment, Bellevue Forest Reserve introduced a bee farming project to conserve and increase the population of this critically important insect.
Bees are about far more than sweet honey and painful stings. They are essential for life on earth. Without bees there could be virtually no pollination of plants and soon no food to eat to sustain human or animal life.
There would be no fruit, vegetables, flowers, or forests to speak of; also no insects, birds or animals. Bees play a major role in creating and sustaining biodiversity on the planet. Without them it would simply be the end of the world as we know it.
However, bee populations around the world are under serious threat for various reasons. Two main threats are conventional agriculture which uses chemicals that kill bees, and the dwindling natural habitat of bees due to agriculture and human settlements. With less habitat, bees’ food sources dwindle and they starve.
This is why Bellevue has also stepped in and erected 300 bee hives on the reserve, where the hives are safe and healthy. Every bee is important and by protecting them we ultimately protect ourselves and the survival of the planet.
If you’d like to contribute to this project and the various other conservation and community initiatives we run, please click the button below.
Bellevue Forest Reserve’s Foundation is the philanthropic arm of our reserve. The Foundation funds educational, community and environmental projects in South Africa’s Eastern Cape province and seeks to help fulfil the promise of our local communities through investment in sustainable projects that improve people’s lives and preserve our natural surroundings.
The impact of the global corona-virus pandemic has left none of us untouched, impacting our loved ones, our businesses, our freedom of movement – the very way we live, work, socialise and experience the world has forever changed.
None have been hit harder than the most vulnerable among us. With the Eastern Cape region of South Africa being the most poverty-stricken of all, the disastrous impact has been felt more severely here than anywhere else. Bellevue Forest Reserve has been extremely relieved to be able to retain ALL of our staff during the past few months, as we recognise the critical role employment plays in the survival of our community families.
In recent seasons several guests have assisted us in honouring our commitment by ‘packing for a purpose’ and bringing clothes for our toddlers and staff along with their family members. Other valued gifts were items such as Bibles and educational Christian-based items.
Funding through guests’ initiatives were greatly appreciated. The lives of every child in our care centres and that of the children on the reserve itself has improved significantly through these generous gestures.
Become part of this great initiative by emailing us on firstname.lastname@example.org and leave your imprint on the heart of the toddlers in our care.
Any donations contribute 100% to supporting the food and health needs of our staff and their families during this time, and can be made by clicking the button below.
At Bellevue Forest Reserve we have a strong commitment to the planet. Each of us leaves our carbon footprint as we travel and go about our daily lives. At Bellevue, we wish to do whatever we can to minimise and mitigate against this impact.
This is the founding belief of Future Growth, a ‘green’ project developed through the Bellevue Foundation, which is the non-profit branch of Bellevue Forest Reserve focussed on conservation of the bio-diverse fauna and flora, as well as community upliftment. The main drive behind the Future Growth project is to maintain and preserve the indigenous vegetation.
There’s a surreal beauty as one walks through this enchanting forest and hears the whispers of hundreds of years of wisdom. The gnarled branches are testament to the perseverance of these twisting branches as they slowly creep their way upwards in search of sunlight. Drooping branches and trailing creepers completely encapsulate those walking through the forest, and time seems to stand still as the rest of the world fades away. The only sounds in the forest are those of the twittering birds and the sway of creaking branches.
Spekboom (Portulacaria afra) is a remarkable succulent indigenous to the Eastern Cape region of South Africa that helps fight air pollution through its ability to ‘sequester’ up to ten tons of carbon per hectare! Since excess carbon in the atmosphere is implicated in global warming, the more carbon removed, the better it is for the planet.
The Spekboom trees on Bellevue are covered in lichen, which looks like a fungus but only adorns the branches and takes nutrients from the air. Lichen comes in various forms, from furry green foliage, small turquoise leaves or wispy strands that hang from the tree like a grandfather’s beard. It is generally a sign of fresh air, so take a gulp of the ‘Champagne Air’ in this fairy tale setting.
With Future Growth guests can donate R250 towards the project and a Spekboom tree will be planted. Guests can choose to either get their hands dirty and help plant the tree or rely on one of the students to plant one in their honour. Donors will receive the GPS coordinates of their plant to monitor the progress and may visit their tree on their next visit to Bellevue. Donors receive a certificate acknowledging their important role in helping to green our planet including these GPS coordinates.
Any donations contribute 100% to supporting Future Growth and can be made by clicking the button below.
Please select the lodge that you would like to visit. Should you not find availability at the first lodge you view, please do check one of our other lodges to see if there is a room available for you on your preferred travel dates.