Ben Lavin Nature Reserve, Limpopo
The rather heady mix of assorted sour bushveld, riverine woodland that lines the almost always arid watercourses, and vast plains of thornveld set against the rolling foothills of the Soutpansberg, make the Ben Lavin Nature Reserve, close to Louis Trichardt, a rather exceptional place to visit.
The 25 square kilometer Ben Lavin Nature Reserve is crisscrossed with a 45 kilometre network of roads and four hiking trails that range from a quick three kilometre to a more substantial eight kilometre walk. Waterholes are the site of strategically placed bird hides and no fewer than three mountain bike trails add an even more interesting dimension - there is no dangerous wildlife in the reserve, so coming face-to-face with an elephant is highly unlikely. The Ben Lavin Nature Reserve is the site of over 50 mammals and some 230 types of bird, including the melba finches, common and blue waxbills, marico flycatchers, whitewinged widows, black cuckooshrikes and puffbacked shrikes. There are also night drives and braai facilities. The Ben Lavin Nature Reserve is of archaeological interest and has a series of ruins that date back to 1250 AD.