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Blouberg Nature Reserve, Soutpansberg, Limpopo

The 9300ha provincially owned and run Blouberg Nature Reserve is situated around the Blouberg mountain, an isolated ‘inselberg’ of the Soutpansberg range, separated from the main range buy a 30km plain of lowveld bush.

Blouberg Nature Reserve offers a back-to-basics and affordable safari experience in a wildlife rich reserve with varied terrain and beautiful scenery.

Self-drive game drives are the most common safari option, but a 4X4 is required to access the southern section of the reserve and none of the roads will be friendly to a ground-skimming sedan. Guided game drives can be arranged, but these must be booked in advance when booking accommodation. There no hiking trails, nor walking trails for birding as there are buffalo, cheetah and leopard free-ranging over the full extent of the reserve. The presence of buffalo in particular is a danger factor for hikers – they have been responsible for the closure of more than a couple of hiking trails in South Africa as they can be aggressive and are known to attack humans.

There is plenty of wildlife on the Blouberg Reserve. Besides the buffalo, cheetah and leopard already mentioned, animals that can be seen include giraffe, eland, the rare sable antelope, kudu, bushbuck, impala and zebra among several other species. In addition to the leopard and cheetah, a number of smaller predators species have been recorded on Blouberg.

There are over 200 species of bird on Blouberg, but it is the Reserve’s Vulture Project that really distinguishes it. Blouberg has the largest Cape Vulture breeding colony in South Africa with over 600 breeding pairs. These can be seen at the ‘vulture restaurant’ where rangers feed the birds carcasses.

There are three distinct accommodation options – from a very basic bush camp with a long drop toilet, to a ‘next up’ with ablution facilities, to fully equipped self-catering cottages. The first two require you to bring you own bedding – in fact bring everything – nothing is supplied and there is no electricity. The self-catering cottages do have power.

Blouberg is part of the KuneMoya Land Claims initiative and is being managed for the benefit of the local community.

More on Blouberg Nature Reserve

Getting there: Take the R522 west from Louis Trichardt. Stay on the R522. Total travelling distance is 105km, but the road is windy through mountainous terrain so the journey takes near 2 hours.

More info on the quaint town of Vivo More info on the Soutpansberg area