Tucked away along the western boundary of the world-renown Kruger National Park, a pristine and untrodden wilderness awaits within the Olifants West Nature Reserve and is home to a variety of animals, including several species of antelope, such as kudu, impala, and nyala. It is also very well known to be home to many predators such as lion, leopard, hyena, and jackal, as well as a range of bird species, such as the African fish eagle and the martial eagle.
At the forefront of conservation, Olifants West Nature Reserve is a protected area located in the Greater Kruger, Limpopo Province of South Africa. Proudly being protected area status our reserve plays a critical role in conserving the natural and cultural resources we contain and have been designated for the conserving of our biodiversity and ecosystems, protecting wildlife and preventing habitat destruction. Olifants West Nature Reserve covers an area of approximately 7,500 hectares and is situated in the Olifants River Valley, which is known for its stunning landscapes and diverse wildlife and enjoying game drives on this Big 5 conservancy, bush walks, and bird watching.
The result of this groundbreaking conservation effort is an unrestricted wilderness – a haven for keystone species such as the iconic “Big 5.” Along with over 30 mammal species, from towers of giraffe to dazzles of zebra, iconic predators such as leopard and wild dog also occur and freely roam the reserve.
The sub-tropical Lowveld eco-zone boasts an impressive biodiversity in both fauna and flora. With over 336 documented tree species in the region, ranging from ancient Baobabs to the iconic Marula, the dominant woody savannah is accentuated with plenty to see and accommodates an impressive diversity of bird life. For the avid birder there are over 220 documented species to be found. Various raptors, such as the endangered Lappet-Faced Vulture, Pel’s Fishing Owl, and Martial Eagle, can be observed. This extends to larger birds, such as the Southern Ground Hornbill, Kori Bustard, and Saddle-Billed Stork, amongst a plethora of other species.
Rivers and occasional watering holes are sanctuaries for an eclectic array of wildlife. Pods of hippo, crocodile and frequenting elephants often make for an intimate viewing experience. These interactions are often heard in the evening, where the characteristic whooping of scavenging hyena are also often complimented by the guttural roar of lions.
Located within close proximity to the conservation hub of Hoedspruit (20km), the reserve is easily accessible, yet the acoustics of the wilderness and striking visuals of the adjacent Drakensburg Mountains cannot but make one feel secluded and very much attune with the surrounding wilderness.