Phalaborwa, Valley of the Olifants
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That Phalaborwa never gets cold is something of a euphemism to describe the intense heat that can grip the modern, copper mining town, situated just 3 kilometres from the Kruger National Park, during summer in particular.
It does render the town of Phalaborwa a great place to stay during winter, however, and many tourists take advantage of the warm temperature for a winter sojourn, particularly with the lure of the Kruger just up the road.
Phalaborwa is the site of the ‘Big Hole’, the earth’s largest man-made hole, visible from space and pretty awe inspiring, even if you’re not impressed by mines in general. Mining and smelting of copper and iron ore date back to 400 AD when the Sotho called the area ‘Ba-Phalaborwa’, meaning ‘better than the south’.
And indeed, this part of the of the north eastern Lowveld is very beautiful but the ‘better’ part of the town’s name most definitely refers to the wealth generated by mineral deposits that today still support a thriving mining industry.
It is unsurprising then that a lot of the activities in Phalaborwa centre on mining - you can visit the Foskor Mine Museum, take a mine tour and visit the open cast mine, which will leave few visitors indifferent to the sheer width of the two kilometre diameter.
The Hans Merensky Country Club just happens to have one of the best golf courses in the country.
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Featured Attractions in (or near) Phalaborwa
The vast Balule Game Reserve is adjacent to the Kruger National Park, home to the Big Five and world famous for its abundance of wildlife and birdlife. In the Balule Game Reserve you will find the Big Five roaming freely between the Balule Game Reserve and Kruger National Park, including Lion, Elephant, Leopard... more information
The Blyde-Olifants Conservancy consolidates a group of privately owned game farms in the central Lowveld region into an official nature reserve. Lying roughly between Hoedspruit and Phalaborwa, the conservancy also happens to lie within the Kruger to Canyons (K2C) Biosphere Reserve, which straddles the ... more information
This is another fine course which first evolved from the drawing board of Robert Grimsdell. A major attraction of the Hans Merensky course is the visiting wildlife - the course is bordered by the Kruger National Park near the Phalaborwa Gate and many of the Park's inhabitants pay scant regard to fencing... more information
On the banks of the Great Letaba River lies the Hans Merensky Nature Reserve, just west of the Kruger National Park and not far from Tzaneen. The main draw card to this beautiful reserve is the fact that you can walk most of it on foot, and despite its apparent flatness, there is the welcome relief of... more information
The largest game reserve in South Africa, the Kruger National Park is larger than Israel. Nearly 2 million hectares of land that stretch for 352 kilometres (20 000 square kilometres) from north to south along the Mozambique border, is given over to an almost indescribable wildlife experience. Certainly it ranks with the ... more information
Letaba Ranch Game Reserve, part of the Greater Kruger National Park conservation area, is particularly well known for sightings of elephant and buffaloes, and the mighty Letaba River that flows through the reserve provides a shelter to any number of hippos and crocodiles. Letaba, which means ‘river of sand’ in Sotho ... more information
Also known as the Greater Makalali Private Game Reserve and one of the country’s major privately owned conservation areas, Makalali Conservancy is over 22 000 hectares set in the Lowveld region of Limpopo, an hour west of the Phalaborwa gate of the Kruger National Park and roughly 80 kilometres from Hoedspruit ... more information
Selati Game Reserve lies on roughly 30 000 hectares of land west of the Kruger National Park, between the towns of Gravelotte and Mica, north of Nelspruit. Proclaimed as a conservancy in 2003, Selati is a partnership between neighbouring families who have pooled former farm land to preserve and ... more information
Adjacent to and incorporated into the Greater Kruger National Park lies 10 000 hectares of pristine African bushveld, which is the 'Thornybush Game Reserve'. With an abundance of birdlife and wildlife species including the 'Big 5'. Explore the African bush on foot and from the back of an... more information
The family-owned Tshukudu Private Game reserve is situated in the Central Lowveld near Hoedspruit and adjoins the Greater Kruger National Park. The reserve is easily accessible and close to the attractions and activities of the area. Tshukudu a Big 5 Game Reserve boasts 5000ha of unspoilt bush with... more information
Nestled in the luxurious natural settings of the Limpopo Province, Umhlametsi Private Game Reserve is bordered by the World famous Kruger National Park. The two non-perennial rivers that majestically meander through the area attracts a diverse variety of birds and wildlife, including Lion ... more information
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