South Africa Nature Reserves South Africa Overview
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The new Agatha State Forest comprises some of South Africa's rare jungle-like, dense forest, just 18 km away from Tzaneen.
This natural forest is also home to the Rooikat Hiking Trail. The facilities include a picnic site, fireplaces and ablutions.
The Akkerendam Nature Reserve was established in 1967 and is situated just outside of Calvinia. The reserve is 2750 hectares in size and incorporates the majestic Hantam Mountain.
There is a wide variety of flora and fauna to see, including sword lilies, Cape asters, and brown peppering plants. The reserve is also a proclaimed bird sanctuary with more than 65 bird species, such as the fairy flycatcher, the black-headed canary, and layard's tit-babbler. The best time to visit the reserve is during flower season in September.
There are two hikes across the Hantam Mountain, one being relatively easier than the other. You can expect to spot the endangered sterkboom as well as the magnificent star tree which is unique to the region. Visitors can also enjoy a picnic and relax within the stunning scenery. The reserve is open daily and there is no entrance fee.
One of the largest dams in KwaZulu-Natal, Albert Falls Dam and Nature Reserve is a popular playground for sailors, canoeists, twitchers, hikers, horse riders and fisherfolk.
The dam is rated one of the best bass fishing dams in the world and an international bass fishing competition is held there annually.
The reserve has abundant bird life as well as zebra and several antelope species. In winter Otto's Bluff is worth checking out when the aloes are flowering.
Amakhala Game Reserve
Amakhala Game Reserve offers a wildlife experience that will inspire and revitalize your soul. Be captivated by the call of fish eagles echoing through the kloofs and the roaring of lion at night.
Named for the stunning display of aloes proliferating in the malaria-free Zuurveld, Amakhala is home to the Big 5 and numerous animals. Visitors have the opportunity to spot lion, leopard, elephant, rhino, buffalo, cheetah, giraffe, zebra, abundant antelope and birdlife.
This breath-taking reserve also contains a prehistoric Bushman burial ground and some ancient dinosaur fossil sites.
By staying at Amakhala you can have a quintessential African experience exploring the bushveld while on safari, walking, and river cruising or simply chilling with a glass of wine at one of the well-appointed lodges.
Amalinda Nature Reserve was established in 1968 and surrounds the large Amalinda reservoir and a few small streams. The reserve is only nine kilometres from the East London city centre and covers an area of 134 ha. The reserve consists of a massive coastal forest, thornveld, and scattered clumps of shrubs.
There is a large variety of wildlife to be seen, such as eland, blesbok, zebra, bush buck, duiker, vervet monkeys, mongoose and Cape clawless otter. The reserve is a popular birding sanctuary and there are more than 175 bird species for bird watchers to spot, including red-billed duck, reed cormorant, African darter, African pipit, and wailing cisticola.
Amatikulu Nature Reserve
Amatikulu Nature Reserve is perfect for a weekend getaway or for a day trip from Durban, Eshowe, Mtunzini or Richards Bay. The small reserve is situated on the coast between the Tugela and Amatikulu Rivers. It is one of the few places in Southern Africa where wildlife can be seen grazing on forested dunes overlooking the sea.
Explore the reserve in a canoe, 4X4 vehicle or on foot. The coastal forest grasslands and rivers attract numerous birds, including the rare African fin foot. Keen birders can hire trained bird guides from the local community. Giraffe, zebra, waterbuck and smaller antelope are frequently seen. The beach offers good surf angling.
Need to know?
Canoes are available for hire at R50 per day. An entrance fee is payable at the gates, open from 07:00 to 17:00.
Lying on the border of the North West Province, Atherstone Nature Reserve offers an exciting game viewing experience.
Black rhino and elephant are the biggest highlight for many visitors to this 23 500-hectare wilderness.
Characterised by extensive savannah plains with bushveld and Kalahari grasslands eco-systems, Atherstone supports a great diversity of wildlife and birds. Besides antelope, zebra and giraffe, buffalo and rare sable can also be seen.
Feathered friends to get twitchers ticking off boxes are the large number of grassland birds including the Kori bustard and secretary bird.
Bartholomeus Klip Reserve is teeming with herds of eland, springbuck, black wildebeest, zebra and bontebok. Many other animals, such as baboons, bat-eared foxes, lynxes, and smaller species of antelope, live here too, and it is known that leopards still occur in the mountains.Among the birdlife at Bartholomeus Klip is the world’s largest bird, the ostrich, once farmed here in large flocks at the height of the ostrich feather boom in the 1870s and today one of the leopard’s favourite foods. The magnificent black eagle (correctly known as Verreaux’s eagle) nests in the mountains, and the enormous dam near to the farmhouse has a spectacular array of water birds, some resident like the fish eagles and the kingfishers, and others such as the pelicans and the spoonbills less regular visitors. Flamingos have also been seen in some of Bartholomeus Klip’s smaller dams and there are a host of interesting large and small birds out in the reserve and on the wheatlands, including large flocks of the blue crane, South Africa’s national bird.
The breath-taking Baviaanskloof Mega Reserve is one of the Cape Floral Region Protected Areas, collectively a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
Covering roughly 200-square kilometres of pristine mountainous terrain, the ‘Valley of the Baboons’, is one of the largest wilderness conservation areas in South Africa. Just 120 kilometres west of Port Elizabeth, this awesome wilderness playground has much to offer nature lovers and outdoor adventurers.
The eastern side of the reserve starts at the Komdomo Campsite. From here the road winds 250 kilometres through the incredibly scenic and craggy Groot River Port towards Willowmore in the west.
A paradise for adventurous and active types, the vast mountainous landscape offers a unique wilderness experience with a plethora of things to do. These include rock climbing, mountaineering, camping, wildlife viewing, mountain biking, fishing, scenic drives, bird watching and 4x4 trails.
The diverse habitats support over 1,000 different plant species including the striking Erica and Protea families as well as ancient cycads. The reserve is also home to more than 50 mammal species, 300 bird species and numerous reptiles and amphibians.
A state-of-the-art World Heritage Site Interpretive Centre overlooking the Cambria Valley showcases the diversity and natural and cultural history of the Baviaanskloof region.
The Beachwood Mangroves is a delightful mangrove estuary lying north of the Umgeni River Mouth. Within the nature reserve are red, white and black mangroves, fiddler crabs, mudskippers, kingfishers and other bird species.
Several interesting walking routes have been laid out. The key to the southern entrance can be obtained (after paying a deposit) at the northern gate off fairway drive.
Visit one of Limpopo’s wildest secrets
Situated in the Waterberg Biosphere, a leading South African wildlife area, this small 2 000-hectare reserve is home to impressive amount of wildlife.
At Ben Alberts Nature Reserve you can easily spot white rhino, giraffe, kudu, blue wildebeest, eland, zebra, warthog and an awesome variety of birdlife including the endangered Cape Vulture. A visit to the Vulture Restaurant is always exciting, especially if you get involved in feeding these large raptors.
Characterised by low mountain ranges and open savannah, Ben Alberts Nature Reserve and the Waterberg features grassland, steep gorges and crystal pools. The entire environment is perfect for game viewing, hiking, bird watching and mountain biking.
Discover the magic of the Karoo with a unique wilderness experience at the exclusive 5-Star Blaauwbosch Private Game Reserve.
Bordering the Addo Elephant National Park in the Eastern Cape, the reserve offers malaria-free wildlife viewing of a wide variety of game.
Professional rangers will introduce you to lion, buffalo, elephant, leopard, rhino, cheetah, giraffe, zebra, antelope, abundant birdlife and rare flora on interesting game drives.
An awesome thing to do is go on a walking safari to shadow cheetah as they prowl for their prey.
Home to 500 breeding pairs of endangered Cape Vultures, the far flung Blouberg Nature Reserve is a dream destination for twitchers and nature lovers.
Catch all the action from a hide at the ‘Vulture Restaurant’. Best visited during winter months, you will be able to see Lappet-faced Vulture, Hooded Vulture, White-headed Vulture and White-backed Vulture. An exciting rare visitor to southern Africa, Ruppell’s Vulture, is breeding in the Blouberg Colony.
Other raptors you might spot are the melanistic Gabar Goshawk, Eagle-Owl, brown snake-eagle, tawny eagle and a variety of owls. With a bird list of well over 225 recorded species it’s easy to tick off over 100 birds in a day.
Best loved are the resident flock of comical Crested Guineafowl. Other birds to look out for are Southern White-faced Scops-Owl, Greater Painted Snipe, Grey Tit-Flycacther, Red-backed Shrike, Crimson-Breasted Shrike and Kalahari Scrub-Robin.
The scenic landscape of Blouberg Nature Reserve covers a variety of habitats. Dry bushveld savannah interspersed with giant baobabs and mashatu trees, wetland and a small Sycamore fig forest. There are some wonderful hiking trails and opportunities to sight giraffe, zebra and various antelope on the plains.
Opening hours are 06:00 – 19:00
+27 (0)15 563 0702 or 083 251 9071
The Bluff Nature Reserve is Durban's oldest nature reserve, comprising a wetland pan, lake and adjacent forest area.
The reserve acts as a bird sanctuary. For birders this can be a delight; there are two bird hides that provide excellent viewing opportunities, as well as a trail that leads around the pan.
Safe parking is provided at the entrance and a nominal fee is charged for entry.
Open times: 7:00 to 17:00.
Blyde River Canyon
Situated along the Mpumalanga Drakensberg Escarpment, the reserve covers a large area extending from the Pinnacle and Gods Window in the south to beyond the mighty Marieps Kop in the north, and ending at Swadini. The reserve is administered by the Mpumalanga Parks Board and is known primarily for the outstanding natural beauty of the canyon as well as the numerous endemic and endangered fauna and flora species present.
Did you know? South Africa Nature Reserves is often misspelt. Here are some variations:
Suid Afrika Nature Reserves, SouthAfrica Nature Reserves,