Home to the handsome nyala antelope, D’Nyala Nature Reserve protects an impressive number of mammal species.
Predators on the prowl including leopard, brown hyena, jackal and smaller cats can also be seen. 60 mammals can be ticked off here including white rhino, giraffe, waterbuck, zebra, tsessebe and eland.
Extraordinarily beautiful baobab, nyala, mopane, marula, knobthorn, wild figs and leadwood trees are characteristic of this reserve. The fruit of the impressive Nyala tree is a great source of food for elephant, antelope, birds, monkeys and humans.
Two game viewing hides provide wonderful wildlife spotting opportunities over the riverbeds and flat savannah, particularly during the dry season.
D’Nyala Nature Reserve became the focus of media attention when talks between FW de Klerk and Cyril Ramaphosa were held here before the democratic transformation in South Africa.
Things to do near
*Distances are shown as the crow flies and not necessarily the actual travelling
Vaalwater (61.8 km from Lephalale (Ellisras))
At just a three-hour drive from OR Tambo International Airport, Welgevonden Game Reserve is a sought after Big Five game reserve bordering the Marekele National Park in the Waterberg Biosphere. What makes it even more attractive is that it is malaria-free.
Meaning ‘well found’, Welgevonden is a mountainous place of spectacular scenery, abundant wildlife and awesome birdlife that captures the essence of true wilderness.
Home to white rhino, lion, leopard, elephant and buffalo, the reserve also has cheetah, sable, gemsbok, giraffe, bush pig, pangolin, warthog, black-backed jackals and many antelope species.
At night you have the chance of spotting rare and unusual animals such as brown hyena, aardwolf and aardvark.
With over 250 bird species including rare blue cranes, the reserve is also a birder’s dream. Welgevonden also features some superb, delicate Bushman rock paintings.
Visit Welgevonden for amazing wildlife viewing opportunities, an authentic wilderness experience and a wonderful sense of the spirit of Africa.
Vaalwater (64.5 km from Lephalale (Ellisras))
A three and a half hour drive from Johannesburg will get you to the wonders of Lapalala Wilderness. This immense malaria-free privately-owned nature reserve lies in the mountains of the Waterberg.
Here you are assured of a supreme bush experience and the chance of spotting black and white rhino, buffalo, zebra, blue wildebeest, sable, roan, tsessebe, impala, eland, kudu, giraffe, warthog, hippo and crocodiles. Cats to spot are leopard, Serval and genet.
Now incorporated into the Waterberg Biosphere Reserve, the stunning landscape is characterised by sparkling rivers winding through craggy gorges and undulating bushy hills.
Brainchild of renowned conservationist Clive Walker with the assistance of Dale Parker, this sanctuary is home to rare endangered animals. This dynamic team is credited with reintroducing the critically endangered black rhino to the Limpopo.
Vaalwater (80 km from Lephalale (Ellisras))
Almost the size of the Kruger National Park, the UNESCO Waterberg Biosphere Reserve has it all.
Close encounters with amazing wildlife, vast open spaces, rich biodiversity and the romance of the bushveld contribute to an unforgettable African wilderness experience.
This magical part of South Africa offers discoveries as diverse as its visitors – fascinating people and places are all within easy reach.
Stretching from Marakele National Park in the south west to Wonderkop Nature Reserve in the north east of Limpopo, the reserve houses an immense treasure of archaeological, cultural, and biological diversity.
The small town of Vaalwater serves as the gateway to this UNESCO Biosphere Reserve characterized by undulating hills and endless views.
Explore it on foot, horseback or in your vehicle – you won’t forget it!
Vaalwater (80.8 km from Lephalale (Ellisras))
Savannah Horse Trails offer multi day horse riding safaris amongst wildlife in the Waterberg Mountains. This scenically diverse landscape of open savannah plains, river valleys and panoramic mountainous views offers an exhilarating riding experience. Horses are responsive, well-trained, happy and healthy horses; tack is in excellent condition.
Vaalwater (81.2 km from Lephalale (Ellisras))
Horizon Horseback Safaris offers riders two guided experiences on some of the most spectacular wildlife farms in the Waterberg Biosphere Reserve. The emphasis is on quality wildlife viewing on well trained and cared for horses with Horizon guides. Horses are chosen to suit each guest’s ability from the large ranch herd.
Four By Four Trails
Vaalwater (81.3 km from Lephalale (Ellisras))
This 4 x 4 (or 4 x 2) trail features escape routes with rocky and mountainous terrain to navigate. During winter the trail can get very muddy. This is a trail that you will definitely not fall asleep behind the wheel.
Rated 3 to 5.
Vaalwater (81.5 km from Lephalale (Ellisras))
If you’re in Vaalwater looking for unusual handmade products made by locals look no further than Kamotsogo Craft Art.
Although the artwork is contemporary, inspiration is drawn heavily from numerous African aesthetics and cultures.
This wonderful empowerment initiative of the Clive Walker Foundation continues contributing to the meaningful improvement of lives and families within the local community.
Originally established in 2006, this social investment plan nurtures employment opportunities and empowers women through the production, marketing and sales of their unique merchandise.
Marakele National Park (82.9 km from Lephalale (Ellisras))
Marakele National Park boasts an impressive diversity of wildlife and breathtaking landscapes.
Majestic mountains, grassy hills and deep gorges typify this park in the UNESCO Waterberg Biosphere. Some of the rare plant species found here includes exceptional yellowwood and cedar trees, enormous cycads and tree ferns.
Along with the prospect of exciting elephant, white and black rhino, lion and leopard sightings, there are an amazing variety of birds to be seen. This includes the largest colony of endangered Cape vultures in the world – Marakele is home to more than 800 breeding pairs. Drive up to the Sentech Towers for awesome close encounters with these massive vultures.
Kudu bulls with their magnificent spiral horns are often spotted at Marakele. Other less common antelope species include mountain reedbuck, eland, reedbuck and tsessebe.
Vaalwater (83.2 km from Lephalale (Ellisras))
Equus Horse Safaris operates on Equus Reserve in horse-riding heaven, the Waterberg Mountains, one of South Africa's least explored wilderness areas. Here guests are given an enlightening, unique bush experience on horseback through one of the most exciting riding destinations in the world. The riding pace varies from quiet walks through a stunning mountainous landscape and thick bush on the lookout for birds and game, to long trots and canters where the terrain is easy.
Galleries and Museums
Vaalwater (89.5 km from Lephalale (Ellisras))
The Church of St John the Baptist at 24 Rivers was designed by Sir Herbert Baker, most famously known as the architect for the Union Buildings in Pretoria and many other beautiful structures. The stone and thatch church was completed in 1902 and is still in use today.
This living testament to the pioneering early settlers is a spiritual sanctuary to their descendants as well as new townsfolk. Visitors are welcome to visit the church throughout the week and to attend Sunday services at 09:30.
Marken (91.3 km from Lephalale (Ellisras))
Spectacularly scenic rock formations, excellent birding and game viewing make for a wonderful bush escape in this Waterberg reserve.
Home to rich birdlife, a weekend at Masebe Nature Reserve is a must for birders and those who love the wilderness. Besides game viewing and bird watching, other attractive activities on offer include hiking, cycling, and kloofing.
Only 360 km from Johannesburg, Masebe lies near the town of Marken close to Clive Walker's Lapalala Game Reserve and Touchstone Game Ranch.
Set in picturesque surroundings, the 4 500-hectare provincial park features a variety of interesting geological formations, plants and rivers. Exciting wildlife you might encounter include sable, tsessebe, nyala, giraffe, zebra, eland, kudu and leopard.
The recently renovated camp has chalets for four to seven people, each with a private kitchen and braai area. Ideally suited for group reservations, the camp also offers a large kitchen with bar, conference centre, swimming pool and lapa with communal braai area.
Masebe Nature Reserve is a dual venture between the Limpopo government and the Bakenberg community to support tourism-generated economic development.