The PFNR is one of the oldest nature reserves in Limpopo Province and was officially proclaimed as a game reserve and native flora reserve in 1954. The following information provides a brief summary of the history of the reserve.
The farm Lunsklip was purchased by the late Mr Percy Fyfe in 1912. After purchasing the property, he immediately implemented a soil conservation programme. This programme consisted of dividing the property into 13 different camps and conserving the indigenous plants and animal species associated with each camp, as well as preventing veld fires.
Mr Fyfe commenced with sheep farming on this property in the 1930’s – a venture that was unsuccessful as a result of the high rate of predation of lambs by Black-backed Jackal. Mr Fyfe switched from sheep farming to conservation and game farming and introduced Blesbuck to the area, leading to the establishment of one of the largest and most well-known herds of Blesbuck in the former Transvaal Province.
Mr Fyfe and his wife didn’t have any children of their own, so they invited children from the local community to the farm during the school holidays in order to provide them with some basic environmental education.
With no heirs to inherit the farm, Mr Fyfe became concerned about the future of the farm and decided to donate the property to the former Transvaal Nature Conservation Devision (TNCD) in 1953. The title deed formalising this donation stipulated that the Fyfes could continue harvesting the fruit orchards on the farm, whilst the TNCD took over all management aspects with regard to the natural fauna and flora of the property. Another condition stipulated in the title deed stated that young people should always be given the opportunity to visit and learn from the PFNR, in order to increase conservation awareness.
Once the property was under the management of the TNCD, a game proof fence was immediately erected and game populations, including Tsessebe, Cape Buffalo, Sable Antelope and Roan Antelope,were introduced for breeding purposes. The area was proclaimed as a game reserve and native flora reserve in 1954.
Camping and basic educational facilities were built on the property in order to honour Mr Fyfe’s wish concerning environmental education of the youth.
The Blesbuck population established on the property by Mr Fyfe was removed by the TNCD, since the reserve does not fall within the natural distribution range of this species. The Sable Antelope population introduced to the reserve by the TNCD was also removed in 1994 as a result of the losses experienced from predation.
Department of Economic Development, Environment and Tourism (LEDET) (2012), FIFE YEAR STRATEGIC PLAN FOR THE PERCY FYFE NATURE RESERVE, LIMPOPO PROVINCE, SOUTH AFRICA. Web Reference: http://www.ncc-group.co.za/sites/default/files/u66/Percy%20Fyfe%20NR%20-%20DSP.pdf