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Makalali Private Game Reserve, Limpopo

The 26000ha Makalali Private Game Reserve is situated near Hoedspruit in the Valley of the Olifants region of the lowveld Limpopo Province of South Africa.

The reserve is about 5 hours drive from Johannesburg, and it is one of South Africa’s largest privately owned game reserves.

The Makalali Reserve features Africa’s “Big 5” – lion, leopard, rhino, buffalo and elephant among over 1000 head of game and predators in the foothills of the eastern arm of South Africa’s Drakensberg Mountain Range. The terrain in this area is less flat than that of the Kruger National Park which is only an hour drive from Makalali. Hilltops offer panoramic views over the lowveld acacia bush and grasslands.

The Makalali Conservancy is involved in trying to create a ‘corridor’ from the eastern Drakensberg mountains to the Kruger that will help restore natural animal migration routes and help restore genetic biodiversity within animal populations. As in other reserves and conservancies, many of the animals in Makalali have been re-introduced after being wiped out of the area over the past 200 years by hunting, poaching, habitat destruction and the division of habitat with developments, roads and fences. Makalali is one of several initiatives in South Africa involved with trying to reverse at least some of this destruction and as such is well known for its eco-tourism contribution to the future of South Africa’s natural heritage.

The Reserve’s accommodation is made up of four luxury ethnic-styled bush camps located on the banks of the Makhutswi River which flows through the reserve.

Game drives are conducted twice daily. Night game drives, birding and walking safaris are also offered.

For more info

Getting there: From JHB, take the N1 north towards Pretoria, turning on to the N4 east to eMalahleni and Belfast. Turn off the N4 in Belfast which is 240km from Pretoria. Turn right at Belfast Toyota onto R540. Travel to a T-junction, turning left there for Mashisheng. In Mashisheng turn left at the Ohgrigstad sign onto the R36. Continue along this road through the Strijdom Tunnel, turning left for Tzaneen at the next T-junction. Continue along this road for about 10km past the Phalaborwa turn-off and from there follow the signs for Makalali. The total distance from Johannesburg is about 500km.

More on the quaint town of Hoedspruit More on the Valley of the Olifants area