SA Lombard Nature Reserve, North West Province
One of the earliest wildlife conservation research centres in the country, the SA Lombard Nature Reserve is the park credited with saving the black wildebeest from extinction in the wild, and whilst it is not open to the public, there are a couple of guest houses that serve as accommodation in this beautiful, and consequently peaceful nature reserve.
SA Lombard Nature Reserve lies roughly 17 kilometres west of Bloemhof, one of three nature reserves in and around the Bloemhof Dam; the other two are the Sandveld Nature Reserve and the Bloemhof Dam Nature Reserve. The little historical town of Bloemhof or ‘garden of flowers’, has been in existence since as early as 1866 following a burst of activity after diamonds were discovered in the area. Today it is a peaceful little town, storage silos marking its predominant maize farming community.
As a result of SA Lombard Nature Reserve’s pioneer work with the black wildebeest, this animal has been restored to reserves throughout South Africa. The nature reserve serves also as a breeding centre for what they term ‘plains’ animals that include a variety of antelope like the springbok, red hartebeest and the zebra, and many of these animals make their way to game farms around the country. The reserve is fundamentally Kalahari grassland on an uncharacteristic flood plain, with virtually no trees, making game viewing particularly easy, and bird life here is prolific.