Songimvelo Game reserve

A visit to Songimvelo Game Reserve

Songimvelo Game reserve

A visit to Songimvelo Game Reserve

The 48 000 Songivelo Nature Reserve is the largest provincial game reserve. The list of more than 1400 known species for the reserve includes several recently discovered species new to science as well as the last wild population of the Woolly cycad. The broken landscapes make this reserve one of the aesthetically most attractive areas in the province.

Extending over an area of 49000 hectares, the Songimvelo Game Reserve is on South Africa's best kept secrets. This spectacular landscape is a diverse tapestry of rolling hillsides, hidden valleys, forest ravines and open plains. Songimvelo not only supports an incredible diversity of habitats, plants and animals, but also displays a medley of moods. The cool highlands are regularly invaded by banks of mist and prone to crisp breezes, while the valley bottoms are usually still and warm with the calls of insects and birds filling the air. The more palatable grasses of the plains attract large numbers of Burchell"s Zebra, Blue Wildebeest, Red Hartebeest, Waterbuck and Blesbok, with mixed herds regularly assembling. Giraffe, Impala and Kudu are common in denser woodland. A thriving population of White Rhino occurs at Songivelo, with family groups frequently being seen. Leopard, Brown Hyena and Blackbaked Jackal are all fairly common, but nocturnal and seldom seen.

As with the plants and mammals, the over 300 species of birds are distributed aaccording to habitat types. Among the species to be seen on lower slopes are Goldenbreasted Bunting, Brubru Shrike, Plumcoloured Starling and Sheelly's Francolin, with raptors such as Gymnogene, Martial Eagle and Brown Snake Eagle soaring overhead. From a geological perspective, Songimvelo falls within the so-called Barberton Mountain land, with the typical 'greenstone' rocks dating back to the dawn of time; 3 600 million year-old fossil evidence of primitive algal life forms suggest that these mountains are among the most ancient landforms on Earth.

The hills and valleys were occupied by early man with archaeological sites dating back to 400 BC.

With thanks to the Mpumulanga Parks and Tourism agency for details.

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