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Lekgalameetse Nature Reserve, Limpopo

A popular hiking destination, the 18718ha Lekgalameetse Nature Reserve in the Limpopo is one of the South Africa’s most beautiful nature reserves, set in a stunning, misty and unspoiled mountain wilderness. There are tall and tangled trees, ferns, forest flora, fungi and water flowing everywhere, bubbling over rocks, falls and collecting in pools. You’d be lucky to see the elusive and shy leopard or perhaps caracal, but what you will see is an abundance of birdlife and, in the right season, butterflies.

Lekgalameetse Nature Reserve lies just south of the Wolkberg Wilderness Area near Haenerstberg, Hoedspruit and Tzaneen in the Wolkberg Mountain range in the Limpopo – part of the Limpopo Drakensberg. Like the Wolkberg Wilderness, Lekgalameetse is characterised by kloofs filled with lush indigenous forests interspersed with grassland hilltops, clear mountain streams, rocks pools and waterfalls. Lekgalameetse means ‘Place of Water’ and the reserve is the catchment area for the Letaba River that flows East and supports the wildlife of several Limpopo game reserves near the Kruger Park.

Lekgalameetse is a popular destination for hiking and birding. Birds that can be seen include the rare Narina Trogon and the Cape Parrot, and animals include the Samango and Vervet monkeys, baboons and various species of mountain and forest antelope. The reserve is also world renowned among lepidopterists for an abundance of butterfly species, many rare, and is filled with butterflies in late October – November.

Accommodation is available in self-catering chalets in forest next to the river and in self-catering farmhouse accommodation. Hiking trails are unguided, but guided walks are offered that also take in Boer War historical sites and some of the reserves most beautiful areas. There are also 4×4 trails on the reserve.

The Lekgalameetse Nature Reserve is a Provincial Park, and reservations must be made centrally with Limpopo Wildlife Resorts

For more info: Tel: 015 290 7355/7339/73

Getting there: The nearest main towns are Hoedspruit and Tzaneen. From Tzaneen take the R36 south toward Lydenberg, turning off right at the signpost for Lekgalameetse about 60km before Lydenberg.

More info on the quaint town of Tzaneen More on the Valley of the Olifants area