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Nkomazi Game Reserve, Barberton, Mpumalanga

Lions in the Nkomazi Game Reserve, MpumalangaSituated in the Makhonjwa mountains, known globally as the ‘holy grail of geology’ for being home to some of the earliest life-forms on the planet, lies the incredible Nkomazi Game Reserve. Meaning ‘place of water’ the area is where the national flower of South Africa, the protea, was discovered. This region also has a plant biodiversity that is second only to the world-famous Cape fynbos biome.

The reserve is also home to three spectacular species of butterfly that are found nowhere else in the world: the Swanepoel’s blue, Jeffrey’s blue and Barbara’s copper butterflies.

The reserve has also recently reintroduced a number of cheetah and lion. Two male cheetahs, rescued from a Limpopo cattle ranch by the De Wildt Cheetah and Wildlife Trust were reintroduced into the reserve, as well as a pride of lions – the first pride to be reintroduced into the area in more than 200 years.

This, together with the reintroduction of elephant and buffalo into the reserve, make it a special conservation destination and a must-visit en route to the Kruger National Park.

Getting there: from Gauteng, take the N4 going east into Mpumalanga. Continue to Machadodorp. Here, take the R541 going South-East. At the T-junction, turn right onto the R38. Then, turn left back onto the R541. The entrance to the reserve is on your left-hand side, shortly after turning back onto the R541.

More info on the town of Barberton More info on the Lowveld area