Our Background


The main farm of Dabchick Wildlife Reserve was purchased in 1994 by its current owners, veterinarians, Drs Peter and Pamela Oberem. At the time, it was an overstocked cattle farm with very few wild game species.

Adjoining farms were subsequently bought, which brought the total size of the property to over 1 000 hectares. The farms had been heavily overgrazed and cultivated, resulting in stands of old croplands and encroachment by poisonous and invasive plants. The internal cattle fences were removed, game fencing was put up around the perimeter and various wild species were reintroduced: these included small antelope such as impala, blesbok and mountain reedbuck, as well as giraffe, zebra and larger antelope such as gemsbok, waterbuck, eland and wildebeest, to increase biodiversity and utilise the natural grazing.


Small breeding groups of megaherbivores (rhino and buffalo) were then bought – the first time that either of these species had roamed the Alma valley for at least 200 years. Both the rhino and buffalo have bred well and made a major contribution to improving the ecosystem, attracting many species of dung beetle  and utilising the vast biomass of sourveld grass that predominates in the region. This in turn attracted many bird and other insect species. Endangered red-billed oxpeckers were introduced to the reserve to aid tick control on the game animals (each bird can eat its own weight in ticks a day).

The addition of a vulture restaurant sustains a large resident population of the endangered Cape vultures in the valley.