13 november, 2012

Balule Nature Reserve now also on Facebook.


16 november, 2011

Balule will grow with 4500 hectares!

Fantastic news from point of nature conservation:

Jejane joins Balule
Jejane Reserve (The game reserve on your right driving north from Hoedspruit, about five km from town almost to our railway gate) is taking down its fences with Klaserie and joining Balule Nature Reserve, adding nearly 4500 hectares of very well managed game country to the mix. As a result our railway gate will soon be moved closer to Hoedspruit and located where the Jejane gate is now.

Best regards from the bush,
Corné van Dongen.

09 november, 2011

Municipal rates & taxes Hoedspruit - Maruleng.

Municipal Valuations for Rates and Taxes

The Maruleng Local Municipality is busy with re-evaluation of property values known as the “General Valuation Roll for 2011-2016” for municipal rates and taxes. Having looked at the list for 2007-2011 we were surprised to see that values were generally lower than we have expected. This means one of two possible things, even with a global recession the values have risen over the 5 year period or the values were understated in 2007. What that means is that we expect that property values will go up on the Valuation Roll this year. Not good news for home owners already feeling the financial pinch. Currently the municipality is busy with valuations so expect a call if you haven’t had one already.

Looking at the Valuations roll for 2007-2011 a couple of exceptions did stand out for us. On one particular estate the average stand value is R553,000 however actual sales are well below that. We would estimate it to be 50% of that value in fact. The value in 2007 was not calculated incorrectly, this is what people paid for those stands. The valuations come from actual selling prices. However prices have come down drastically on this particular estate and I’m wondering if the municipal valuation will reflect this? Other areas within a well know reserve open to the Kruger Park are very understated. Are they going to value each property? Probably not! The valuers have not got the resources to get to these properties. They do not have maps, vehicles or money to pay the gate fees to visit these reserves. In one reserve, with all portions of the same land size, values can vary by as much as 300% depending on location (river, views) and improvements. Even if they valued the reserve as a whole, inaccuracies would occur. If however a “broad paintbrush” approach is used across various reserves for property valuations and lets say they increase values by 20%, then inaccuracies are certainly going to continue.

However all is not doom and gloom. Should your value be incorrect you are able to lodge a complaint and get it re-valued. And yes, they do make corrections. We all want a low Municipal Valuation for rates & tax purposes, however when we attempt to sell our property we hope for a much higher selling price. Sellers justification for a high selling price comes from a myriad of valuation methods. Some might say well “I bought it for R1million, paid duty for R50,000, paid levies for 5 years worth R200,000, spent R100,000, I must make profit of R150,000, thus it is worth R1,5 million.” Thus the a Agent must sell it for R1,6 million to cover their commission.  Not so.
The price is what a willing buyer will pay for it! The fact is, buyers control the prices in the real estate market, sellers only control whether or not they will sell. In todays market we are seeing buyers offers are well below what sellers want to hear.

If you are unsure about the value of your property you can discuss it with on Estate Agent in the area.  Alternately of you have a fair idea of values in the area, you can do a self test. Ask the following question:

1)       What would I pay for my house if you were to buy it today?
2)       What would I sell it for today?

If the your answer is the same, that is probably the correct value of your property
If the municipal valuation is higher there is merit in requesting a re-valuation. However if the municipal valuation is lower than yours, I suggest you pour yourself a cold beer or glass of wine, sit back and enjoy the sunset in the bush.

Rob and the Century 21 Wildlife Properties team

17 oktober, 2011

Big Tusker 'Duke' has died.

One of the oldest tuskers in the Kruger National Park (KNP), Duke, passed away on October 1, 2011 seemingly of old age.

The elephant was discovered lying on its side along Makambeni spruit near west of the S28 road, five kilometres from Crocodile Bridge Camp. Crocodile Bridge Section Ranger, Neels van Wyk became worried when he noticed that there was no movement from Duke's collar signal for a few days, went to investigate; only to find Duke's five day old carcass along the Makambeni stream.

"Although Duke was old, we are very saddened by this magnificent bull's passing as he was very popular and had avid followers who always asked about him. In the past few years, there had been enquiries as to whether Duke was still with us; so when news of his passing came through we assumed it was rumours doing the rounds again" said William Mabasa, HOD: Public Relations.

Duke had already lost both his tusks and in 2010 was fitted with a tracking collar in an effort to check up on him and track his whereabouts. He was estimated to have lived in the KNP bush for over 55 years. As is normal practice, the head, tusk remains and possibly skeletons would be recovered and then stored for possible display purposes.
Emerging tuskers are named after previous rangers and field rangers who have made notable contributions to conservation and the KNP.

Duke was named after the ranger, Thomas Duke who was based at Lower Sabie between 1903 and 1923. His home range was between Lower Sabie and Crocodile Bridge Rest Camps but could also be seen roaming around Tshokwane and Metsi Metsi Trails Camp.
Though the Emerging Tuskers competition has been temporarily suspended, the KNP continues to add new tuskers to its ranks through photographic submissions of guests. Photographs and video material sent in by visitors are used to understand the habits and movements of tuskers in an attempt to learn more about them.

For more information on the tuskers, how and where to submit photos etc, please visit http://www.sanparks.org/parks/kruger/elephants/ or enquire at the Elephant Museum in Letaba Rest Camp (013 735 6664).

Here in Balule we also have a Big Tusker, maybe a descendant of one of the magnificent 7? We name him Kambaku (Old big elephant). Have seen him often, a relaxed Big giant.

All the best from the clouded bush,

Corné van Dongen.

11 oktober, 2011

For sale: 7500 hectares in Big-5 Greater Kruger Park.

The property market is an ongoing business. Despite the global financial crisis this market is still on the go.

Recently the following came on the market:

All properties can be incorporated into Balule Big-5, Kruger Park, and made into a private Big-5 reserve, an exclusive property development with 130 stands, commercial lodges, or the ultimate Big-5 hunting farm.

Lodge 1: 16 normal beds existing, full title 1800 ha with rights for a 130 stand development and one lodge, R29 Million.

Lodge 2: 24 good beds  existing , full title  4900 ha with game. R49 million.

Lodge 3: 60 luxury beds existing , ''remaining lease'' for 28 years, 856 ha with full ownership of game, vehicles, tourism business, furniture.  price R27.190.000,  this property is on the Olifants river.

Total price R106.190.000.

With the Rand weakening this is a rare and interesting opportunity. To conserve nature one needs money, so please let me know if you want more information?

Best regards from the sunny Lowveld,

Corné van Dongen.