Songimvelo Game Reserve, Mpumalanga
Songimvelo Game Reserve lies deep in the Barberton Mountainlands and is one of the largest reserves of the Mpumalanga Parks Board that extends over 50 000 hectares. Songimvelo lies in a corner of the province little known to travellers, which is possibly its best attribute. That and the incredible beauty of this range of mountains, which forms one of the oldest regions on Earth, with incredible volcanic and sedimentary rocks, examples of which are exceeded only by those found in Greenland.
It is no surprise to learn that scientists make their way to Songimvelo Game Reserve from all parts of the world. 3.5 billion year old volcanic rocks lie here, known as the Barberton Greenstone Belt, that provide evidence of what the conditions on the surface of Earth must have been like so long ago.
But it is not the rocks alone that attract visitors. Rolling hills, hidden valleys, wide open plains and forest ravines support an incredible diversity of wildlife, plants and habitats. Along the valley floor winds the Komati River, after which it flows into Swaziland and to the sea. The grassy plains of Songimvelo Game Reserve are home to herds of zebra, buffalo, red hartebeest and blue wildebeest, whilst within the wooded areas one can catch a glimpse of giraffe, kudu and impala. A herd of elephant was introduced here from the Kruger National Park, and there are also numbers of white rhino. Although no lions live in Songimvelo, there are black-backed jackal and brown hyena and the reserve has an incredibly rich bird life.