The Modjadji Cycad Reserve is set in the foothills of Lobedu, above the village of Modjadji, near Tzaneen. The Modjadji Cycad Reserve is home to the biggest concentration of the rare endemic cycad, Encephalartos transvenosus, in the world. This is also of the tallest cycad species in the world. The Modjadji Cycad Reserve is also part of the realm of the legendary Rain Queen Modjadji.
The 560ha Modjadji Cycad Reserve is a unique natural forest that remains unspoiled and very much like it was in prehistoric times when mammal-like reptiles roamed the area using these plants as their main food source. Some of the cycads here reach heights of 13m and bear cones that weigh in at a hefty 34kg, making them the giants of their species. The plants seed between December and February, the best time to view them.
Take a gentle hike through the reserve, which has a series of paths that lead up and down the mountain slopes. You may also spot game such as Blue wildebeest, waterbuck, nyala, impala and bushbuck, and some of the 170 bird species recorded here.
Guided tours of the village of Modjadji, that was settled in the 16th century by the original Rain Queen Modjadji, is available on prior request The legend goes that the Karanga tribe, a matriarchal tribe whose queen possessed special rain-making powers, fled from her despot father in Zimbabwe. Apparently the Rain Queen and her fellow travellers were enchanted by the cycad forests here as well as the beautiful Bolobedu mountains, and decided to start a new kingdom.
The newly formed tribe of the Bolobedu named their Rain Queens ‘the Modjadji’ and they have reigned ever since. Revered for her rain making powers, the Modjadji Rain Queen was said to have struck fear even in the heart of the mighty Zulu warrior, King Shaka.
The African Ivory Route Modjadji offers rustic accommodation close by with various options from self catering to full catering, bedding and dancing. For details phone +27 (0)82 886 0989 OR +27 (0)15 781 1823.
Modjadji Cycad Reserve
Tel: +27(0)82 200 4596
Limpopo Parks and Tourism Board
Tel: + 27(0)15 290 7355