Vegetation and Wildlife

The vegetation varies from tall canopy forest along the river to arid thrornveld savannah disected by dry riverbeds and stony ridges. There are a number of drives and circuit routes that cover the entire reserve and guests can drive at will. The best times are early morning and late afternoon or at night with a spotlight. However, to drive the whole stretch of 12km river frontage, a 4 x 4 is highly recommended especially during the rainy season. A hide at one of the waterholes provides excellent opportunities for bird watching and photography. As there are no elephant or lion and walking jogging and biking are all possible.

The wildlife is typical of the Limpopo Valley bushveld and includes a variety of plains game such as giraffe, gemsbok, zebra, eland, kudu, blue wildebeest, waterbuck, impala, bushbuck, steenbok, duiker and warthog. In the river crocodiles abound and hippopotamus frequent the famous Mabalel Hippo Pool.

Most of the carnivores are nocturnal and are most likely to be encountered on a night drive when one might see, African wildcat, black-backed jackal, bat-eared fox, aardwolf, genet, civet cat and honey badger. If you are particularly lucky, you may see the elusive leopard, the secretive brown hyaena, or even the rare and endangered pangolin, but other nocturnal species such as antbear and bushbaby are quite common.

Small mammals include a variety of mongoose species, more often a group of banded mongoose or a family of dwarf mongoose, many rodent species, tree squirrels and hares. Baboons and vervet monkeys are common.