A fourth generation farmer in the Wolmaransstad area, John Firth is proud of the fact that his Scottish-born ancestors have lived in the area for over a century.
Ranching on 1 200ha, Firth has divided the property into 15 x 50ha breeding camps, with a 350ha hunting camp to which John is hoping to attract American hunters. “We are in discussion with US outfitters at the moment and expect the first hunters to arrive this coming season,” he says.
With an emphasis on breeding
By far the greater emphasis is on breeding, however, with 19 different breeding projects currently in operation. “We focus mainly on sable – Matetsi and Zambian cross – but we also invest in top genetics when it comes to southern roan, the common, golden, red and painted oryx from Namibia, saddleback and yellow blesbuck, common, white, copper and black springbuck, most of the impala variants, nyala, Livingstone eland, mountain reedbuck and bushbuck.”
John’s aim is to breed game with the best genetics available to provide fellow breeders with sought-after progeny. “I couldn’t have achieved what I’ve managed to achieve without very reliable management on the farm,” says John. “People here put their hearts and souls into the business. We’re very involved with the local community – we provide food to one pre-primary school as well as a large orphanage – and we’re dedicated to doing everything in a socially and environmentally responsible manner.”
Eco-friendly solar power
John certainly puts his money where his mouth is – Hillcrest Game Estates is completely solar powered, including the lodges, which provides accommodation for 12 people. “My favourite activity is being out in the veld with my family,” John says. “If we know a roan or sable cow has calved, we go and find them and tag them.
Expansion into Africa (Angola)
It’s the most exciting part of the job. Also, our expansion into Africa and development plans with regard to our properties in Angola will give us a unique advantage as we’ll be able to export our own production.”
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