One of Bela Bela's most exciting tourist attractions just opened its doors 35 km outside the town on the R516 road a couple of kilometers past the Mabalingwe entrance and ± 2km before the Mabula and Zebula turnoff. At Ingilozi Park you can discover some of Africa's rarest and most beautiful animals. Go on a 2-hour safari and there is a special safari just for children too. More interested in birds? Then Ingilozi has got you covered with a collection of exotic African birds. But there is more, extensive kids play area will occupy the little one's time while parents can enjoy our Bush BBQ pub and low'n'slow smoked meat. Enjoy an exclusive Bush BBQ lager while the aroma of our 12-hour smoked brisket drives your taste buds crazy.
Nanda, Michiel and family came all the way from Amsterdam to have an African Wedding at Warthog Lodge!
They arrive to spend the weekend in the bush, but first they make a fire, pour a couple of drinks and make enough noise to scare off all the residents. Late on Saturday morning after sleeping in, they jump into their safari vehicles with laughter and more drinks on tap. This moving disco on wheels then proceeds to look for animals as this is the reason they came to the Bush after all.
Great are their surprise when they don’t spot anything as they race through the reserve at high speed. On Monday, they tell their friends the place is a bust, and there are no animals at the Mabalingwe Nature reserve. They then get on to social media to loudly express their indignation.
Then we have the instant gratification group. Arriving at the gates demanding to see the Big 5. “Where is the Rhino?” they shout and in a cloud of dust they all descend on the last known location the Rhino, Elephant and Buffalo were spotted. Oblivious to the Nyala, Kudu, Impala, Giraffe and many more animals along their way. Yes, you guessed it! On Monday, they tell anybody that will listen that there are no Big 5 at the Mabalingwe Nature Reserve.
The reserve can roughly be divided into eight areas. Cyferfontein – here you will find trees intersect with open areas. This area is popular with all animals in spring. The Itaga area consists of two parts. The
Time to set the record straight. If you don’t want to put in the effort and only escape to the Bush to behave like hooligans, why not camp out in your backyard? You will be doing us all a favour.
Mabalingwe Nature Reserve is 12 500 hectare of bushveld. Let’s put it into perspective. Many sports fields have an area that is comparable to a hectare, so imagine 12 500 soccer/rugby fields next to one another, or 417 Golf courses. Yes, that’s big! If you don’t know where to go, don’t know the habits of the different animal species and don’t know how to navigate your way through the reserve, then the chances of spotting animals will be greatly reduced.
For first-time visitors to the Mabalingwe Nature Reserve, a guided game drive (by the Mabalingwe rangers) is highly recommended. The Rangers will help you get your bearings in this large Reserve and also show you where the animals.
Itaga Lodge area is frequented by Wildebeest, Zebra, Giraffe, Impala, Nyala and Gemsbok. The Itaga area closer to the Mabalingwe entrance gets visited by Bushbuck, Kudu, Zebra, Blesbuck, Waterbuck and Giraffe.
The Dams area span from the Mabalingwe timeshare area all the way up to the Idwala section of the reserve. This area features spectacular scenery and is home to a pod of 16 hippos and some crocodile. Move up passed the Gorcum Dam and you are in the hills of Idawala where there have had a few recent leopard spottings. To the right of Idwala, you have Elandsfontein where the elephant come to hide away from humans when they want to be alone. To the left of Idwala, you have vast grassland and spectacular scenery where Giraffe, Zebra, Blesbuck and Wildebeest graze. This area is the most difficult to navigate as the roads are only accessible by 4X4.
To the right of the Mabalingwe airstrip, you will find the dense, bushy part of the reserve. With lots of Timbotie trees, the Kalahari Oasis bar (a must visit) and the most amasing camp in all of Mabalingwe, the Pitsi Bush Camp. If you have a need for ultimate privacy and a great bush experience, this camp is a must. Here you will also find the Kameelperd water hole, a favourite of the Mabalingwe elephant herd.
The elephant herd at Mabalingwe live in a tight social unit led by an older matriarch. At the moment, there are youngsters of different age groups in the herd, from recently born to teenagers. Elephants can give birth every three to four years. The gestation period is almost two years. The young calves have made the herd very protective and secretive. The herd is estimated to consist of about 24 elephants.
Like many other private game reserves, the Lions at Mabalingwe are contained in a separate, high-security fenced area of the reserve. To visit the lion enclosure – (Wednesdays and Sundays at 9am) one has to book at the Mabalingwe reception. There is a misconception that the Lions are restricted to a very tiny area, and nothing can be further from the truth. The Lions stay in 80 ha of bushveld that is just about three golf courses.
On an average weekend visit (Friday to Sunday) you are just about guaranteed to see Impala, Giraffe, Nyala, Kudu, Warthog, Waterbuck and the Hippo. Chances are also good that you will spot Wildebeest, Zebra, Buffalo, Blesbuck, Klipspringer and Duiker. Count yourself lucky if you encounter the Elephant, Rhino, Mountain Buck and crocodile. If you spot leopard or Sable, you have joined the select few. These animals are extremely shy, and there are many places for them to hide.
Mabalingwe Nature Reserve is a place of many surprises. The reserve has to manage the needs of a diverse group of stakeholders. On the one side, you have private homeowners that expect complete freedom of movement. On the other side, you have the weekend guests that are just too lazy to familiarise themselves with this environment.
Balance this with the security needs of visitors and the need to protect the animals from poachers without causing undue inconvenience to guests and you have the potential of all kinds of conflict arising. Recently poachers killed two of the reserves Rhino which has necessitated more security throughout the reserve. For that reason, staff will not casually tell you how many Rhino there are and where you can find them.
For the return visitor, Mabalingwe Nature Reserve can be a rich and rewarding experience, all it takes is a bit of homework and a genuine appreciation of the Bushveld. The appeal of Mabalingwe is not it’s game park or the variety of animals but the free roaming of the game around the areas where visitors stay so that one can observe the behaviour of these wild animals at close range and in extreme comfort.
Nyala are the most striking of antelopes and also exhibit the greatest sexual dimorphism (difference between the sexes) Females are red-brown in colour and characteristically striped along the ridge of the back with up to 18 white lines. These form the animal’s camouflage, breaking up their solid outline and helping them to blend into their thicket habitats. The lines are known as disruptive markings.Read More
There are so many bad reports about the growing use of elephants as public exhibits, the brutal training methods and the babies taken away from their families for the elephant-back riding industry. and this made me reluctant to visit “Adventures with Elephants” in Bela-Bela, South Africa. After reading some amazing reviews, I decided to go and take a careful look for myself. I was on the lookout for any signs of elephant discomfort or anxiety, and signs of irritation or bullying from the handlers.
On arrival at Adventures with Elephants, my family and I was met by the astounding sight of 5 elephants casually strolling from the dense thorn scrub and coming towards us. The elephants decided to take a quick bath in a nearby dam. After cooling down, they casually strolled up to where we were gathered. No chains, no shouting, no prodding. Quite an intro!
The elephants and their handlers lined up in front of us and got introduced to us by Adventures with Elephants manager Sean Hensman. Sean told us that these elephants were going to be shot as ‘problem animals’ by various landowners – the future for so much of our wildlife. They were young animals, not capable of looking after themselves. So the question then was: Does Sean allow them to be shot or does he take them in and give them a decent life – which by the very nature of the size and intelligence of the animal, has to involve a degree of training and hands-on management. And, if these animals can earn their keep by educating us all about elephants – then surely that is the best solution?
And then it was the elephants and their handlers turn, they performed some basic voice-command tricks – lie down, high five, turn around etc. I guess this was to show us that the elephants are safe to be near.
After the basic drills things got interesting. We got to know each elephant and their handlers individually and we were amazed at how different each elephant was – not only in regards to appearance but also character. Along the way we touched the ellies, stroked them, gave them voice commands, fed them, played soccer with them, were showered with water by them, and learned some really very interesting ellie facts. The elephants were very relaxed and often very curious – showing obvious interest in us. It was a very special experience for my family and I – a real honour.
Then it was time for an elephant-back ride, it is not the most comfortable thing to do and I won’t ride an elephant again – no big deal, just a personal line in the sand. My son and friends decided to also swim with the elephants and what an experience that was. It is fascinating to see these big animals enjoying the water as much as humans and again it is worth mentioning there was no prodding, no hitting, the decision to swim was up to the elephants.
When not performing the elephants have the run of a large piece of bushveld during the day and at night they go into large nighttime quarters. Specifically grown crops and commercial pellets supplement their natural browse diet.
Concluding thoughts: We totally enjoyed our encounter with these elephants and would encourage others to do the same. These elephants are well looked after, seem happy and willing to engage with tourists… How sad it would have been if they had been terminated, as was the original plan before they landed in the hands of the Hensman family.
The main issues to look out for when visiting wildlife exhibits are firstly where the animals were sourced from (captive-bred is best), secondly are they housed in suitable quarters that give them ample access to sunlight, exercise, socialization with their own kind, natural habitat, clean food and water? Thirdly, do you feel that the animals look happy, engaged and relaxed?
Read another first-hand acount of Adventures with Elephants here
In 1995 Elephants that were earmarked to be culled in the Kruger National Park, were relocated to Mabalingwe Nature Reserve today there are 21 Elephant in the Reserve.Read More
Summer is about new life. Impala lambs, wildebeest calves and warthog piglets are to be found around every corner. the elephants have their share of infants. Birds are nesting, termites are emerging from their colonies, and life is bursting out of every seam. If I had to pick just one reason why I love summer in the bush, it is this. New births. The hope for the future.Read More
A Sundowner experience will begin with a gentle evening game drive – ideally timed to catch the wildlife as it emerges into the cool of the evening
The ‘sun-downer’ is an essential part of safari life and dates back to the time of the great game hunting safaris of the 1920’s when cocktails were always served as the sun began its descent. Today, though the hunting days are gone, the tradition of the sundowner endures – with good reason. It allows you to witness one of the planet’s most beautiful sights – an African sunset.
The zebra’s striped coat is simultaneously extraordinary and stunning. So wondrous, in fact, that many people have imagined it to be evidence of God’s infinitely artistic hand. Over the years, there have been many more rational explanations, but that all-important scientific consensus has remained elusive.
Their sleek ribs glistened in the sun, and the brightness and regularity of their striped coats presented a picture of extraordinary beauty, in which probably they are not surpassed by any other quadruped.
Although both males and female zebras are similarly striped, Darwin hedged that “he who attributes the white and dark vertical stripes on the flanks of various antelopes to sexual selection, will probably extend the same view to the … beautiful zebra.” In other words, the stripes help males and females make sensible choices about whom they mate with.
Alfred Russel Wallace begged to differ. “It is in the evening, or on moonlight nights, when they go to drink, that they are chiefly exposed to attack,” he wrote inDarwinism. “In twilight they are not at all conspicuous, the stripes of white and black so merging together into a grey tint it is difficult to see them at a little distance.” There are other possibilities too. Perhaps the stripes act as some kind of zoological barcode, allowing one individual to recognise another. It has been suggested they could somehow help with thermoregulation. It is believed that the zebra’s stripes work like camouflage, according to the National Geographic. When zebras stand together, it is harder for predators to determine how many zebras are in the group. The stripes may also make the zebra appear unattractive to smaller predators, such as bloodsucking horseflies, which can spread disease. In addition, the stripes may work as a natural sunscreen.
Each zebra’s stripes are unique. Just as no two human fingerprints are alike, no two zebras have the same stripe pattern.
Tim Caro of the University of California, Davis, has puzzled over contrasting colouration in mammals before. Now, in a new study published in Nature Communications this week, he and his colleagues have focused their attention on the zebra.
They take a completely original approach, stepping back from one species of zebra and attempting to account for the differences in patterning across different species and subspecies of zebras, horses and asses. Is there anything about the habitat or ecology of these different equids that hints at the function of stripes?
“I was amazed by our results,” says Caro. “Again and again, there was greater striping on areas of the body in those parts of the world where there was more annoyance from biting flies.” Where there are tsetse flies, for instance, the equids tend to come in stripes. Where there aren’t, they don’t.
The idea that flies don’t like stripes dates back at least to 1930. Since then, there have been several studies that have provided experimental support, with flies preferring to alight on all-black or all-white surfaces rather than on stripes. The authors also stress the burden of blood sucking insects: both tsetse flies and horseflies are the vectors for significant and often-fatal diseases in horses; they are probably also capable of draining a significant amount of blood (several hundred millilitres in a day, apparently).
Worldwide confusion exists over the waterbuck’s name. It is frequently and incorrectly used to refer to the lechwe and the sitatunga, two species that are considered aquatic in their behaviour. The waterbuck, however, is not aquatic but terrestrial and is usually found in close vicinity to water rich environments. Waterbuck have a reputation for smelly and unpalatable meat. This is due to a musky oil secreted by glands found primarily in the skin of the flanks which forms a waterproof layer around the hair and protects the skin when the waterbuck enters water. Many incidents have been reported where crocodile and lion have avoided preying on waterbuck because of their unpleasant smell.
Adult bulls are 20-25% heavier than adult cows. Old bulls tend to become smelly as a result of the secretions of the subcutaneous oil glands. With a light breeze, experienced hunters claim they can smell them up to 500 m away.
The summer rains have turned the Bushveld into many shades of green. Trees are sprouting new leaves and the dams are filling up fast.The view from Warthog Lodge over the lush Bushveld never fail to impress.The Woodlands Kingfishers have returned from their winter climes, their unmistakable melodic calls heralding their arrival. Other migratory species such as the Wahlberg's Eagle will wait until later in the year to return - and return they will as they chase the summer; kites and cuckoos, swallows and bee-eaters, starlings and fly-catchers, a myriad species to delight and perplex us.
The afternoon game drive was spectacular, we came upon a tower of 15 to 20 giraffe in the road going about their business. We stopped and watched and got treated by a rare sight. Two males fighting for dominance. The two challengers in the conflict were an older bull and a young male.
In a giraffe fight, males stand side-by-side, pushing and shoving to judge which is strongest.
In evenly matched meetings, blows are sometimes exchanged - dealt by the giraffes' powerful, muscular necks.
The horn-like structures on the stop of the giraffes heads, called ossicones, can inflict injuries but, according to experts, fights rarely get this serious.
"Normally giraffes size each other up and after a bit of stand off and a few swings the fun is over," said Dr Julian Fennessy from the Giraffe Conservation Foundation, based in the UK and Namibia.
"When the battles are serious then it often ends in the subservient male skulking away. However, it can end in the death of one of them," he added.
This exchange was not that severe the older bull clearly confident of his position within the herd.
As always, the sunrises and sunsets have been breathtaking in their simplicity and grandeur, and also in allowing all of us to put our lives and those of others, be they man or beast, into proper perspective.
Another sure indicator of summer is the morning and evening melody which plays around the waterholes, echoing across the bushveld. Unmistakable frog calls, chirping insects and birdsong all weave their tunes along the riverbanks, thickets and ponds. Every water source teems with these creatures all intent on feeding, nesting and breeding in an endless, ageless, ongoing cycle
The impalas have a lot of youngsters running around at the moment. In fact most animals will time the births of their young to the rainy season, which makes the most sense really. There is more than sufficient water, food and shelter at this time of the year, making their chances of survival that much greater than if they had to be born in the dry season when all those things are hard to come by.
During one evening Braai, we had an unexpected visit by a sounder of Bush pigs, that helped themselves to most of our fresh vegetables and fruit.
We got treated by displays of amazing animal behaviour. In one instance, young Impala were running around like naughty teenagers. Trying to outdo one another with their speed and jumps. Their mothers decided enough now. Making a sound between a lion's roar and a dog's bark they descended on the youngsters to sorted them out.
We came upon big herds of Zebra, Wildebeest and Buffalo. The Elephant and Rhino did not make an appearance. Curcum Dam's resident crocodile was at his favourite place on "bird" island basking in the setting sun. We did not spot the Hippos, but frequent sightings of Kudu made up for that.The Giraffe stole the show this weekend, we again came upon the two males still fighting and what a fascinating show it is. On our last night, we got treated to 2 giraffes getting it on and what a strange sight that is.
We were fortunate to observe a large group of banded mongoose as they forage for food. They forage in the morning for several hours and then rest in the shade. They will usually forage again in the late afternoon. Mongooses use their sense of smell to locate their prey and dig them out with their long claws, both in holes in the ground and holes in trees. Mongoose will also frequent near the dung of large herbivores since they attract beetles.Low grunts are produced every few seconds for communication. The group had with them this season's pups. Each pup is cared for by a single adult "escort" who helps the pup to find food and protects it from danger.
And so we say farewell to another spectacular week in the South African bushveld in the hope that there will be more amazing encounters to follow in the weeks to come.
Think about Zebula Golf and Safari Lodge as a Club Med experience and you couldn't be happier.
You'll even see a tiger or two.
For golfers there's the Peter Matkovich course designed to USGA-specifications. Dale Hayes and Steve Dunn were among the initial developers so the championship course ticks all the boxes. It is also very picturesque which is of great appeal to lodge guests who get to enjoy it from the walking and bicycle tracks that criss-cross the course.
For families there's a zoo of sorts with scary snakes, a pair of crocs, and the most adorable tiger (yes) and lion cubs. There's also a vast selection of activities to entertain all from the most sedate to the adrenaline junkie either on the premises, on nearby properties (such as elephant trekking) or in their vast wildlife enclosure and equestrian centre on the opposite side from the main gates.
And for the more energetic
Zebula also has a squash court, fully-equipped gym, and resort-style pool with faux rocks and waterfalls.
Silke von Eynern and Rodney Williams established Bambelela in December 2003. Their original objective was to reintroduce game into the Groot Nylsoog area of the Waterberg. They purchased five Blue Wildebeest, but upon their arrival quickly determined that the animals were only a couple of days old. One died that first night; however, with the advice and assistance of Brian Jones from Moholoholo (“The Very Great One”) Rehab in Hoedspruit, they managed to pull the other four through.
From that rocky start, they began taking over the care of animals from Moholoholo that were almost ready for release back into the wild and in doing so, recognized their true calling: to help wild animals in need. People from the Waterberg district learned of their work and started to call upon them for help, as did the veterinarians from the region. They became well known and well regarded as a Rehabilitation Centre and have successfully rehabilitated and released many species of antelope, including Eland, Kudu, Impala, Red Hartebeest, and Nyala, Blue Wildebeest, warthogs, bush pigs, Serval cats, zebra, yellow-billed Kites, black-back jackals, porcupines, and many more.
Then, by chance, their hearts were touched by a Vervet monkey. It was found abandoned in a cage on a property outside Bela Bela, which was for sale. The owners had already departed, so the estate agent brought the young, female Vervet to Bambelela. A few days later, a neighbour dropped off a younger Vervet. Then, a Vervet baby was taken away from someone in Naboomspruit and he ended up at Bambelela, too.
The spark of interest in Primatology was ignited! Silke began her quest for knowledge about these special creatures, how to hand-raise them, how to build appropriate enclosures or camps for them, how to feed them, and how to prepare them for release back into the wild. She is exceedingly grateful to Rita Miljo from C.A.R.E., the baboon rehabilitation centre in Phalaborwa, for her mentorship all along the way.
Bambelela is now home to over 100 Vervet monkeys, necessitating a team of FGASA students, field guides and volunteers from around the world to join Silke and Rodney in their work with these monkeys and all the other wildlife that comes to Bambelela for rehabilitation. They work in close collaboration with Marius du Toit, the veterinarian from Bela Bela and Bambelela functions as a transfer station for orphaned or injured baboons in the Waterberg district. It is hoped that one day soon, Bambelela will be officially recognized as a Rehabilitation Centre and Sanctuary for Vervet monkeys in Limpopo
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The yellow Hornbill has been made famous by the movie The Lion King, where it is used as a character named Zazu. As a common resident to the reserve it is not rare to see these hornbills, but every guests' reaction to this bird is one of amazement. The huge yellow bill leaves everyone fascinated and obsessed with trying to get a photo.
Being a common resident does not mean that this bird is boring by any stretch of the imagination. It has a very wide range of diet, consisting of both invertebrates and small vertebrates. Yellow-billed hornbills will eat insects, bird chicks, frogs, chameleons, ants, termites and the list goes on.
The species is known to forage co-operatively with dwarf mongoose, catching prey items that the mongoose scratch up from the ground. In return the hornbills alert the mongoose to danger from overhead raptors. There have been records of hornbills waiting expectantly at mongoose burrows, eager for the foraging to begin.
This species nests in naturally occurring holes in trees or in abandoned woodpecker or barbet nests.
Hornbills are a sociable species, generally living in small groups. They have a very distinctive clucking call. Once one bird starts calling, the whole group will often join in, creating a cacophony of sound. In the bushveld you will often see two hornbills sitting together, clucking away with very entertaining wings open, back and forth rocking, head bowing display.
Neither graceful nor beautiful, warthogs are nonetheless remarkable animals. They are found in most of Africa south of the Sahara and are widely distributed in East Africa. They are the only pigs able to live in areas without water for several months of the year. By tolerating a higher-than-normal body temperature, the warthog is perhaps able to conserve moisture inside its body that might otherwise be used for cooling. (Camels and desert gazelles have developed a similar mechanism for survival in hot, arid environments.
Males weigh 20 to 50 pounds more than females, but both are distinguished by disproportionately large heads and the warts-thick protective-pads that appear on both sides of the head. Two large pairs of warts occur below the eyes, and between the eyes and the tusks, and a very small pair is found near the jaw (usually just in males).
The face is fairly flat and the snout elongated. Eyes set high on the head enables the warthog to keep a lookout for predators even when it lowers its head to feed on short grass. The warthog's large tusks are unusual: The two upper ones emerge from the sides of the snout to form a semicircle; the lower tusks at the base of the uppers are worn to a sharp cutting edge.
Sparse bristles cover the warthog's body, although longer bristles form a mane from the top of the head down the spine to the middle of the back. The skin is gray or black (or yellowish or reddish, if the warthog has been wallowing in mud). The long tail ends with a tuft of bristles. The warthog characteristically carries its tail upright when it runs, the tuft waving like a tiny flag. As the young run in single file, the tail position may serve as a signal to keep them all together. Warthogs trot with a springy gait but they are known to run surprisingly fast.
Warthogs are found in moist and arid savannas. They avoid rainforest, deserts and high mountains.
When water is available, warthogs drink regularly and enjoy wallowing in muddy places. As part of their grooming they also take sand baths, rub against trees and termite mounds and let tick birds pick insects off their bodies.
Warthogs live in family groups of a female and her young. Sometimes another female will join the group. Males normally live by themselves, only joining the groups to mate. Warthogs engage in ritual fights in which they charge straight on, clashing heads when they meet. Fights between males can be violent and bloody.
Warthogs sleep and rest in holes, which at times they line with grass, perhaps to make them warmer. Although they can excavate, warthogs normally do not dig holes but use those dug by other animals, preferably aardvarks.
The warthog is mainly a grazer and has adapted an interesting practice of kneeling on its calloused, hairy, padded knees to eat short grass. Using its snout and tusks, it also digs for bulbs, tubers and roots during the dry season.
Caring for the Young
Before giving birth to a new litter, the female chases away the litter she has been raising and secludes herself. These juveniles may join up with another solitary female for a short time before they go on their own.
Female warthogs only have four teats, so litter sizes usually are confined to four young. Each piglet has its "own" teat and suckles exclusively from it. Even if one piglet dies, the others do not suckle from the available teat. Although the young are suckled for about 4 months, after 2 months they get most of their nourishment from grazing.
Lions and leopards are the warthog's chief enemies. Warthogs protect themselves from predators by fleeing or sliding backwards into a hole, thus being in a position to use their formidable tusks in an attack.
Did you know?
- The warthog has poor vision (though better than most other African wild pigs), but its senses of smell and hearing are good.
- When alarmed, the warthog grunts or snorts, lowers its mane, flattens its ears and bolts for underground cover.
THE AFRICAN WILDLIFE FOUNDATION
Excellent service and fine cuisine
L’Orange Bleue, the restaurant of Thaba Pitsi Nature Reserve (4 star TGCSA) has earned a proud reputation for its excellent service and fine cuisine (Best & only restaurant from the Limpopo in the Top 100 - awarded a Bibendum by Michelin guide NEOS, as well as four stars in the 2003-04-05-06-07-08 edition of Magazine's Top 100 South African restaurants - Selected by BBC Food program as being one of the best Restaurant of SA - selected for Off the Menu BBC show), complimented by a selection of quality wines and liqueurs – for connoisseurs of good living!
This Belgian-French restaurant located at the foot of the Waterberg mountain (17km from Bela Bela) is housed in a turn-of-the 20th century farmhouse, converted into a restaurant with modernity, style and hot orange and blue tastefully decorated.
From Wine magazine’s “TOP 100 restaurants”: “If Bela-Bela is mentioned in your guide” says the Michelin Guide for South Africa, “it is due to Thaba Pitsi...”. The couple who left Belgium to bring this unlikely spot to the gastronomic world’s attention, are Marc (formerly an international rally driver) and Nathalie (a former model). Their restaurant L’Orange Bleue received a Bibendum smiling face signifying quality. Housed in a rebuild farmhouse with a vivid interior, modern furniture and an open-plan kitchen, the restaurant is rescued from the pages of a designer magazine by a quirky sense of humour. The food is simplicity at its best.....
Aperitifs can be enjoyed on their thatched terrace, surrounded by the Bushveld atmosphere, while more active guests can work up an aperitif playing a game of tennis or petanque (the French game of "boules"). The main attraction however is the exquisite cuisine, prepared with passion. "A la Carte" dinners accompanied by the chef's specialities from the ingredients for a gastronomic experience. Personal attention and meticulous service are complimented by sheer Latin hospitality. The ambience of the bushveld, the interesting decor and the delicious Belgian/French cuisine make for an unforgettable romantic Afro-European experience.
L'Orange Bleue is the perfect place to celebrate special birthdays, anniversaries, engagements and other private, social or corporate events – truly the ultimate intimate hideaway!
They change our menu every 2 months. On request, they can also prepare different kinds od splits with crocodile, sucking pig or lamb.
The Limpopo Province, with its vast unexplored areas and diverse habitats, offers one of the most exciting birding destinations in Southern Africa.
Habitats range from vast tracts of montane grassland to afro-temperate forests, bushveld and wetlands. Over 600 bird species have been recorded in the province, of which 420 are resident.
Birdlife abounds in Limpopo and provides even the most discerning birder with boundless pleasure. The birds most frequently admired remain the raptors, some of which are the following: African Fish Eagle, Bateleur, Martial Eagle, Black Eagle, Crowned Eagle and the Giant Eagle Owl.
Offering way more than the usual 'Touch and Feed' elephant experience; Adventures With Elephants provide unique hands-on Elephant Interactions, Elephant-back Rides,Swims on the Elephants, as well as Tailor-made Activities such as weddings, teambuilding, corporate functions and filming.
Located adjacent to Zebula Country Club, Adventures With Elephants is managed by the Hensman family who have been extremely privileged to live and work with elephant since 1988. They offer you the thrill of hands-on interactions with these magnificent pachyderms and invite you into the elephant’s world where you can learn more about elephant in this unique manner whilst witnessing the elephant’s intelligence, compassionate nature and sheer delight in interacting with their human companions. Their friendly, experienced and qualified elephant handlers will share their in-depth knowledge and passion for their charges with you our guest, in this unrivalled and extraordinary experience.
What to expect:
An honest mind-blowing experience, good company and great elephants!
The De Wildt Shingwedzi Cheetah Ranch was established in 1998. Situated in the foothills of the majestic Waterberg Mountains, deep in the heart of the bushveld, the cheetah and wild dogs flourish in this unspoiled environment.
During a two hour tour, visitors have the opportunity to see and learn more about cheetah,
wild dogs, caracal, serval, African Wild Cat and vultures. Watch cheetahs running at high speed chasing a lure or engage in the rare opportunity to meet a cheetah up close and hear it purr.....
Nature lovers will enjoy the spectacular birdlife and abundant game, including hippo, kudu, impala, giraffe, wildebeest, zebra, eland, waterbuck and other species such as ostrich and crocodile. A vulture restaurant for free flying vultures is also in operation and up to 140 vultures have been seen feasting on a carcass.
Malaria free and unspoiled by sophisticated development, the ranch is set in the heart of the magical Waterberg bushveld, a mere 160km from Pretoria.
A visit to the sanctuary promises to be an unforgettable experience.