Lichtenburg Game Breeding Centre, North West Province
The Lichtenburg Game Breeding Centre lies virtually outside the town of Lichtenburg, between Coligny and Mafikeng on the R503, two hours from Johannesburg. The breeding centre is operated by the National Zoological Gardens of South Africa, and is there mainly to further the breeding programmes of endangered species already in place by the National Zoo, and to supplement the populations of local and international zoos.
That said it is a pretty unique breeding centre and well worth a visit. The close to 6 000 hectare reserve breeds unusual animals such as the addax, scimitar-horned and Arabian oryx, and the mohrr gazelle, and you will find the remarkable pygmy hippo and Pere David’s deer in the wetland area. But you can also see a great many of the usual suspects in their natural setting, such as the white rhino, blue wildebeest and various antelope roam the grasslands.
The main advantage of the breeding centre is its location. There is a lot of water in the area, which creates a paradise for birds, and coots, herons, secretary birds and vultures are easy to spot - particularly as one of the largest bird hides in the country has been built in the breeding centre. Roughly 30 hectares of the wetland area has been creatively honed into a series of dams and pans that function as a haven for water birds that venture here in their thousands.