Covering 90 000 hectares of South Africa’s most northerly mountain range, the Soutpansberg Conservancy was formed in 1997 to protect a highly sensitive and beautiful part of the world. Both South African and Zimbabwean biomes overlap on this conservancy, making this one of the richest floral and animal havens in Southern Africa. It is stated that the Soutpansberg has more species of plant than the whole of Canada, and more species of trees than Kruger National Park! Isolation has also lead to numerous endemic animals, reptiles and plants occurring here, deeming it to be of both national and international importance . In fact Soutpansberg is home to 60% of South Africa’s birds, 40% of the mammals and 30% of its reptile species, impressive for this surface area.
Vegetation ranges from forests of baobab and water berry trees in the north to Afro-montane forests and tree ferns on the south east, to fynbos on the peaks, a variety range virtually incomparable to anything else.
San hunter-gathers, Khoi, and various African tribes have also left a rich legacy behind here, probably due to the availability of salt on the most north westerly end of the mountain. San art is abundantly scattered in the many caves and overhangs across the mountain, the most important site being at Medike, in the Sand River Gorge. Artifacts relating to Mapangubwe and Great Zimbabwe trading empires occur in these mountains, including 1000 year old Phoenician glass shards and beads.
A variety of accommodation possibilities are available to suit most tastes and budgets. These range from basic self catering bush camps to 4 star mountain lodges; to name a few, Medike, Leshiba, Madi a Thavha Mountain Lodge, and Plaas Guesthouse.
Western Soutpansberg Conservancy
PO Box 522, Louis Trichardt, 0920
Tel or Fax: (015) 593 0352