Pet policies in Hoedspruit

PUBLISHED 8 NOV 2019   

Hoedspruit is becoming well-known as a wildlife haven with all its game reserves, nature reserves and wildlife estates. Many people have invested here for permanent living, whilst others have invested in properties for holiday purposes. 

Home owners, and even tenants, relocating here, see their beloved pets as part of the family and understandably want to bring their pets with them. However, this can be in conflict with the wildlife and various estates and reserves' Home Owners Rules. This article aims to shed some light on some of the pet related matters faced in the area and to summarize the pet policies of the various Hoedspruit suburbs, Wildlife Estates and Reserves.

THE IMPACT OF DOMESTIC PETS ON WILDLIFE

DOGS - The area has a significant population of African Wild Dog. There are only about 500 roaming wild in South Africa with most of these in Kruger National Park. These Wild Dogs are susceptible to diseases like Rabies and Canine Distemper that can be transmitted by uninoculated domestic dogs. In 2015 the whole of Hoedspruit area's Wild Dog population was decimated due to a Rabies breakout. A new population was held in captivity and then reintroduced in 2016. All 15 dogs originated from the Hluhluwe area. They eventually split into two packs and both have since produced litters, thus increasing the population to around 25-30 Wild Dogs. 



These Wild Dogs are regularly seen on Raptors View, Khaya Ndlovu, Zandspruit Bush and Aero Estate, Hoedspruit Wildlife Estate, Jejane Private Nature Reserve, Moditlo Wildlife Estate, and Leadwood Big Game Estate. Within Balule Nature Reserve there are other Wild Dog packs that have traverse over the Greater Kruger Park area; these are also seen from time to time.  As a result, there is a real risk that domestic dogs that are not inoculated can spread rabies and other diseases which could cause further decline in wild dog numbers. Inoculation of pets is important and a requirement for estates that allow pets.

 

CATS - Domestic cats are genetically similar to African Wild Cats, as pictured on the left, below. When a domestic cat interbreeds with African Wild Cat the genetics of the African Wild Cat are diluted and you start seeing a hybridized form, commonly known as a “tabby” as pictured in the right-hand photo below. Within Hoedspruit a feral cat population ignited due to domestic cats that are not sterilized & thus have caused a decline in the African Wild Cat populations. 



There is a non-profit organization called Hoedspruit Ally Cat Initiative that traps, neuters and returns (”TNR”) the feral cats to avoid the inter-breeding and maintain colonies within the town so they do not disturb the neighbouring wildlife estates and local food outlets. However, this is not enough, and owners need to ensure they assist in this process by neutering their own domestic cats as well. Removing cats from an area completely will attract
unsterilised cats on a continuous basis, therefore a territory needs to be maintained. Practicing TNR is the only means of controlling the feral cat population which is both humane and desirable. Cats free to roam will hunt birds and geckos as this is their primal instinct, which is undesirable for a wildlife area where people enjoy nature and birdwatching.

RESEARCH BEFORE YOU BUY - Before purchasing property, it's recommended that your Estate Agent provide you a copy of the Home Owners Rules of the particular estate or reserve. If an estate or reserve does allow pets one needs to understand the requirements like the size, the type of pet and how to manage them. Breaking the rules can have consequences, including a fine or removal of the animals that will cause heartache to an owner.

In summary, here are some of the pet friendly estates:

ZANDSPRUIT BUSH AND AERO ESTATE (dogs only)

A maximum of two dogs per household may be allowed and permission needs to be obtained from the Home Owners Association. All dogs must be spayed or neutered, and only certain breeds are permitted. No aggressive, hunting or continually barking dogs are permitted. No other animals such as cats, birds, reptiles and small caged mammals like hamsters, mice or gerbils may be kept. 

Dogs are not allowed in the wilderness area and must be on a leash when taken for walks in the residential part of the Estate. All dogs must be kept within an enclosed area as defined in the Architectural Guidelines. The HOA reserves the right to retract permission granted for an animal to reside within the property should any of the above rules not be adhered to, or should the HOA receive repeated, substantiated complaints about the animal's behavior.

HOEDSPRUIT WILDLIFE ESTATE (2 dogs)

Hoedspruit Wildlife Estate allows for a maximum of 2 dogs for owners who reside permanently on the estate and the dogs must be registered at the HOA offices. Home owners should ensure that their dogs are kept within an enclosed area on the premises, that the dogs are well trained and do not become a nuisance for others living on the estate. 

Dogs may only leave the dwelling if accompanied by their owners and should be on a leash. No tenants are allowed to have dogs in the estate. Cats will not be allowed. No poultry, pigeons, aviaries, wild animals, exotic reptiles and insects, or livestock may be kept on the property.

BLYDE WILDLIFE ESTATE (2 medium sized pets)

Blyde Wildlife Estate allows cats and dogs, no other pets or domestic animals are allowed. Only small breeds, like Staffordshire Bullterriers, are allowed, nothing larger.  All pets are to be pre-approved, in writing, by the representative of the Board of the Blyde Wildlife Estate.  Conditions may apply, for example neutering might be a condition of approval, subject to the circumstances and all vaccinations are being kept up to date. 

All pets have to be contained on the property and may not roam. Owners are not allowed to walk the animals on the estate. All stray animals will be removed from the Estate and handed over to the local SPCA. Long term rentals of houses in the estate, at least 1 year or longer term, will be allowed to have pets subject to the same conditions as above. Pets are always to be supervised or to be placed in a kennel or similar facility if owners are away on holiday. 

Then there are also other options for people who want pets:

Hoedspruit Town itself allows for various pets, including cats and dogs. So does the town of Kampersrus. No home owners rules are applicable in the two towns. 

Raptors Wildlife Escape, a townhouse complex just outside the centre of Hoedspruit town, allows for two small pets, limited to a certain size and written consent must be granted by the Home Owners Association. 

Wild Fig Apartment Complex allows for one pet, cat or dog, per apartment on the ground floor and only certain small breeds are permitted. Other animals such as birds, reptiles and small caged mammals like hamsters, mice and gerbils may be kept on all floors. No pets may be kept without the written permission of the Board of Trustees.
Hippo Pools / Ekuthuleni outside town allows for pets, as does Grietjie Nature Reserve, Leopard Rock Nature Reserve, Leadwood Big Game Estate and Ndlovumzi Nature Reserve. All these areas have their own rules with regards to which pets may be kept and how they may be kept.

The following areas currently don’t allow any pets:

?   Raptors View Wildlife Estate
?   Raptors Lodge
?   The Village in Hoedspruit Wildlife Estate
?   Tamboti Townhouse Complex
?   Khayagelo Townhouse Complex
?   Moditlo Wildlife Estate
?   Lissataba Nature Reserve
?   Jejane Game Reserve
?   Canyon Game Reserve
?   Blyde Botanical Nature Reserve
?   Escarpia Eco-Estate in Kampersrus

For an extensive summary or more information regarding the various areas and their policies, feel free to contact Century 21 Wildlife Properties on enquiries@century21wildlife.co.za or you can give us a call and have a chat, 015 793 1534

For information regarding pet inoculations and medical check ups, you can contact Provet Wildlife Services & Companion Animal Hospital, situated at Safari Junction, on 015 793 0797

The other option for pets is Maroela Animal Hospital, situated in Maroela Office Park, 015 793 0931

For more information on the Greater Kruger Alley Cat Initiative (GKACI) and the work they do in the surrounding area, visit them on their Facebook page:

https://www.facebook.com/GreaterKrugerAlleyCats/




Two other non-profit organisations doing wonderful work in and around Hoedspruit are Hoedspruit Paws and the Hoedspruit AnimaL Outreach (HALO). They can also be visited on Facebook  for more information:

www.facebook.com/HoedspruitPaws/                     www.facebook.com/Hoedspruit.HALO/