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LOCAL TIME: 05:05 pm | Wednesday, 17 July
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Modjadji Cycad Reserve, Modjajiskloof, Limpopo

The Modjadji Cycad Reserve is named after the Modjadji or Rain Queen, the female leader of the Balobedu tribe, who is believed to have mystical powers to be able to control rainfall.

This is a small reserve at only 305ha, but an exceptionally beautiful and utterly unique one. It was proclaimed to protect the amazing looking Modjadji Cycad forest, and the home of the Balobedu. The cycad is a species of plant that pre-dates the dinosaurs by about 50 million years, and was the predominant form of vegetation on the Gondwana supercontinent 230 million years ago. The Modjaji Cycad forest is now the only place on earth where this type of forest exists. It is a living fossil.

Although there are a number of different cycads species in the forset, the Modjaji is by far the most impressive, towering to an incredible height of 13 metres above the walking trails that take you through the cycad forest, where you can also encounter various animals such as bushbuck, nyalas and impala, bushpigs and somango monkeys.

Accommodation is available at a bushcamp, and visits can be arranged to the Royal Kraal which has always been the home of the Rain Queen. Currently, lack of a female heir has left the Balobedu leaderless, as males cannot inherit the ‘throne’. The last Rain Queen died in 2005 at the tender age of 27.

Permits can be purchased at the entrance to the reserve. There is also info centre as well as picnic and braai areas of day visitors to the reserve.

This is a misty, ancient land of legends, and is must do for visitors to the Valley of the Olifants region of the Limpopo and Tzaneen.

How to get there: The Modjaji Cycad Reserve is located at the bottom of Modadjiskloof – also called Duiwel’s Kloof (Devil’s Valley), north of Tzaneen. From Tzaneen take the R36.Total travelling distance to Modadjiskloof is 21km.

Find out more about The Modjaji or Rain Queens of the Limpopo

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