Hans Merensky Nature Reserve is situated approximately 65 km North East of Tzaneen ,next to the iconic ‘Eiland’ holiday resort with it’s natural hot springs. Predominantly Mopane bush with a mix of Combretum trees, Hans Merensky is known for its very large Mopane trees, unusual in the belt that stretches from Mozambique right into Angola! Known as the main draw card to this beautiful reserve, is the fact that you can walk,and despite its apparent flatness, there is the welcome relief of distinctive little Mopane and Combretum trees. Amongst others, there is a range of low dolerite ridges along the eastern boundary of the reserve called the Black Hills.
The presence of the river on the side of the Hans Merensky Nature Reserve makes for a rich and varied bird-life, even in winter, and evenings produce some really special sightings of nightjars and owls. Exciting hiking trails include the Mopane Interpretive Trail, which is only about a kilometre long, the Letaba Trail along the River – great for birding – and the Giraffe trail, which is a 3-day, 32 kilometre hike with overnight luxury huts.
There is a game-viewing self-drive that winds through the reserve, and you can hope to see a number of antelope, zebra, wildebeest, warthog and giraffe, or the more elusive nocturnal animals like leopard, jackal and hyena. Along the route is a wonderful lookout point that offers a fantastic view of the Hans Merensky Reserve and serves as a great picnic spot.
Snakes are common in the Hans Merensky Nature Reserve, and it’s advisable not to get too close to them, although most of them are harmless and will avoid you long before you are even aware of them. If you’re particularly worried, then opt for the guided game drives in the mornings and at sunset, but you’ll need to book a day in advance. There is also a mountain bike trail and horse rides, should you be short of things to do.
P.O. Box 721, Bela-Bela, 0480
Tel.: +27 (0)14 736 4328
Fax: +27 (0)14 736 6668