Short History of the Modderfontein Conservancy:
The Modderfontein Conservation Park is situated on AECI property and covers an area of 899 hectares. This includes a variety of habitat ranging from grasslands, forests, riverine vegetation to wetlands.
The Park was established by AECI in 1988 to demonstrate that industry and nature can co-exist. At the heart of the Park is a small complex of buildings fondly called "ISIDLEKE" which means "the nest".
Isidleke comprises 3 buildings: an old barn, Dobb’s House and an office complex. The old barn was built in 1896 by Sir Alfred Beit, who was once the owner of a hunting lodge in the area. The only part of the hunting lodge remaining today is the shooting tower. The barn was used as a staging post for carriages and horses. This has been restored to it’s former glory and operates as an Environmental Education Centre. It is also a very popular venue for business meetings, functions, workshops and weddings due to the tranquility of it’s surroundings.
The dam keepers house, Dobb’s House, built in 1934 has also been restored and serves as a smaller venue for meetings.
In 1991 the office block was built together with ablution facilities catering for up to 100 visitors. They were designed to blend in with the architecture of the barn and Dobb’s House.
An attraction of the Park has always been the wide variety of birds seen there. The number of recorded species currently stands at 253. Birds such as the fish eagle and crimson breasted shrike are regularly seen in the Park, with seasonal visits from long crested eagle and other interesting birds of prey. In addition a pair of blue cranes has bred near Dam 4 for the last 15 years.
The Park has always had small populations of black-backed jackal, steenbok and duiker and genet. The game variety has been boosted with the introduction of zebra, black wildebeest, red hartebeest, blesbok, reedbuck,.and highveld springbok. At present these animals are restricted to an area in the north-west portion of the Park.
Eager naturalists walking through the area may also have the privilege of seeing some of the leguaan resident along the Modderfontein Spruit, as well as the Cape clawless otter, various mongooses/meerkats and hedgehogs.
The portion of the park, where the cache is placed, is open to the public. The rest of the park has restricted access.
The longer term plan is to open other sections of the park to the public. These sections can be accessed under the leadership of members of the committee of the Modderfontein Conservation Society. The Society has a program of walks (for hikers and birders) every Tuesday morning, one Saturday and one Sunday morning each month. On the last Thursday evening of every month a talk is given in the barn at Isidleke. These talks cover a wide range of conservation topics and are extremely interesting.
Cache is big enough for some toys, so let the kids do some exchanges.