Leshiba Wilderness Nature Reserve
Covering an area of around 90,000 hectares, the Soutpansberg Conservancy was established to protect the natural treasures of this beautiful part of the Limpopo Province of South Africa. Included in the Soutpansberg Conservancy is the Leshiba Wilderness nature reserve, with its mixed terrain of spectacular gorges, gushing waterfalls, indigenous forests and wide open plains, offering visitors a wide variety of picture-perfect scenery. Hikers will enjoy the challenge of exploring the sandstone mountains, the cultural experience of visiting sites featuring ancient rock art and the thrill of walking among the resident wildlife. Birding enthusiasts are assured of spotting a number of bird species, and a sundowner game drive through the Leshiba Wilderness is the perfect way to end a day of reconnecting with nature.
Wildlife that is found in this Limpopo Province sanctuary includes wildebeest, zebra, giraffe and white rhino. The vegetation of the Soutpansberg area includes around six hundred tree species, such as majestic yellowwood trees, stinkwoods, giant cabbage trees, forest fever trees, tree ferns and proteas. The northernmost region of the Soutpansberg features forests of the distinctive, and peculiar looking, baobab trees – sometimes referred to as the “upside-down” tree. Statistics reveal that, although the Soutpansberg only covers about 0.5 percent of South Africa’s surface area, up to thirty percent of the country’s indigenous tree species can be found here.
In addition to all the natural beauty of the Leshiba Wilderness reserve and the Soutpansberg Conservancy, it is rich in cultural and historical heritage. Researchers and historians believe that the salt pans lying to the north of Soutpansberg (Mountain of Salt) were an attraction for wandering communities in the past, and it is here that the Khoi, San and Bantu peoples gathered as a refuge from the stark and arid surrounding plains – and left behind a wealth of fascinating rock paintings in the network of mountain caves.
Because of its huge number of animal and plant species, the Soutpansberg is considered to be a region of both national and international importance from a conservation point of view. This is good news for nature lovers, because they can enjoy unspoiled nature at its very best when visiting the Leshiba Wilderness in South Africa’s Limpopo Province.