Business Maverick


New investment platform offers a stake in Kevin Pietersen’s luxury game lodge

New investment platform offers a stake in Kevin Pietersen’s luxury game lodge
The Umganu luxury game lodge. (Photo: Supplied)

Altvest, a new investment platform that aims to bring interesting, unlisted assets to investors, has listed on the Cape Town Stock Exchange and announced its first investment opportunity.

If luxurious game lodges are out of reach for most South African holidaymakers, then, like wine farms, they are even more out of reach for local investors. 

This is set to change with the news that the just-listed investment company Altvest has acquired a 50% stake in the luxury lodge Umganu and plans to sell shares in this investment via its platform on the Cape Town Stock Exchange. 

Altvest plans to sell 10 million Umganu shares at R1.50, valuing the 50% share in the lodge at R15-million, and will release an investor prospectus within the next few weeks.

Umganu is owned by former UK cricket captain Kevin Pietersen and his family, and is situated on the banks of the Sabie River within the Elephant Point Estate. The estate is managed by the Legacy Hotel Group and borders the Kruger National Park. It’s just 6km from the Paul Kruger Gate, 26km from Skukuza Airport, or a five-hour drive from Johannesburg. 

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Pietersen has invested time and money into conservation projects since hanging up his cricket gloves and is a major supporter of initiatives like Save the Rhinos. 

“Umganu has huge sentimental value to my kids, my wife, and myself,” he told Business Maverick. “It’s a magnificent property, which we built from scratch, literally. I remember the first spade – that was a few years ago.”

While the family spends as much time as possible there, it was clear that it wasn’t going to be as often as they liked – and somewhat unsurprisingly the Pietersens have only been back once since Covid struck.

Umganu is owned by former UK cricket captain Kevin Pietersen and his family, and is situated on the banks of the Sabie River within the Elephant Point Estate. (Photo: Supplied)

It’s a commercial business, and the decision to sell a stake in the business was about ensuring that the commercial model works. 

“That’s important, because we’d like to keep this in the family,” Pietersen said. “All startups start somewhere, but if you want growth, expansion and sustainability you need to raise capital – and there are a lot of ways to do that.”

He met Altvest founder Warren Wheatley through his “network” and liked the business model. 

“I’m close to Chelsea Football Club and understand their revenue model. I liked what Altvest was doing. We will see how well the listing goes and what opportunities it presents. I see so many distressed sales and so many opportunities – if you have the capital you can do something special and unique. It’s up to Warren and the team.”

Altvest listed on the Cape Town Stock Exchange on Thursday at 500c, rising to 525c, and raised R52.5-million for future investments. Like the Cape Town Stock Exchange, which aims to attract small and medium-sized businesses, Altvest is targeting retail investments with its model that allows fractional ownership in unlisted assets, which means people can invest with as little as R100. While Umganu is the first investment opportunity it is bringing to the market, Wheatley says the goal is to bring at least four new investment opportunities to the market this year.

These could be small, family-owned companies, or more exotic offerings like sports teams or renewable energy projects.

Investors can either invest in Altvest itself or in the investment opportunities, each of which will be ring-fenced and will have its own risk-return profile.

While details of the Umganu public offer have not yet been released to the public, Wheatley believes the investment has the potential to return dividends to shareholders and for capital appreciation. 

“Our investment team has spent a lot of time going through the financials, and we believe that as the industry recovers post-Covid, there is an opportunity for investors to earn dividends and benefit from capital appreciation.”

This is a prestigious part of the world, he adds, where property ownership is 70% foreign and 30% local. 

“It is an example of the kind of opportunities we are bringing to investors. These are investments that are not ordinarily available, unless you can write a cheque for R30-million.”

Pietersen will be in South Africa in June for a short stay, but will not be visiting Umganu as it is booked out. He has a busy schedule, working as a cricket commentator, and is not certain when time will allow a repeat visit. DM/BM


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