Lapalala Game Reserve, Limpopo
The Waterberg is one of the last remaining true wilderness areas in South Africa. Little more than three hours drive from Johannesburg you will find yourself surrounded by endless vistas of mountains and bushveld, where at night the only light to be seen is starlight. Here, in this untouched yet malaria and bilharzia free area, is Lapalala Wilderness, a wild and beautiful place of hills and rivers, deep still pools and spectacular canyons.
Lapalala Game Reserve, today one of the largest private game reserves in South Africa, was established to safeguard a unique eco-system with 77 kilometres of the Palala River at its heart. This provided the ideal site for the breeding of endangered species such as the roan antelope and the black rhino, and for an environmental school where young people come to learn about the bush and the importance of preserving it in as natural a state as possible.
Visitors are welcomed and their interest and support have helped contribute to this conservation success story. Today, the Lapalala Game Reserve is 88 000 acres in extent and its black rhino breeding programme is in its tenth year. Thousands of children have passed through the Wilderness School, and more and more guests come to stay at Lapalala, some of them returning year after year to a favourite camp.
There are more than twenty antelope species, among them sable, roan, tsessebe, impala, eland and kudu, as well as tall elegant giraffes, herds of zebra and wildebeest, buffalo, and plenty of warthogs trotting through the veld with their tails smartly pointing to the skies. Leopards have been seen, although you are more likely to encounter members of the smaller cat species such as genets and Serval. And as for the birdlife, the Lapalala bird list now has more than 290 species on it.