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The malaria-free Welgevonden Private Game Reserve is a pleasant drive on excellent roads from both Johannesburg and Pretoria. The reserve lies in the Waterberg District in South Africa’s most northerly province, Limpopo.
One of the most rewarding game viewing destinations, Welgevonden consists of a small number of exclusive lodges all situated within the Waterberg Biosphere, a UNESCO site rich in animal and plant life.
Diversity of habitat and marked variations in altitude across the length of the park means that there is an opportunity to view game in their natural habitat. Expect to find over 50 species of mammal and more than 300m bird species. The main attraction is, of course, the Big 5 (lion, hippo, leopard, elephant and rhino).
At Welgevonden, animals have never been hunted, private vehicles are not allowed into the reserve and guests are limited at each of the lodges that all conform to a strict building code to ensure aesthetic coexistence with the surroundings. The result is that Welgevonden Game Reserve is probably the most pristine game reserve in South Africa and a true eco-friendly safari destination.
With over 400km of road and track, the chance of seeing practically all species is excellent, including the more elusive brown hyena, roan antelope and others.
Things to do
Each of the lodges offer game drives throughout the day for an excellent chance of seeing the Big 5 and giraffe, hippo, crocodile and antelope.
The more exciting night drives, where the vehicle is fitted with powerful spotlights, is an opportunity to see nocturnal animals searching for food and the possibility of a lion hunt.
Take a guided tour to one of the many San Rock Art sites in the area. The guide will give you a background on the San, South Africa’s first nation, and explain the purpose of the art that was so ingrained in their culture.
The guided walking safaris are led by an armed ranger skilled in the art of pointing out game perfectly camouflaged amongst the bush veld. Walking through the reserve allows you to have up close views of the mammals, reptiles, insects and unique plant life.
Where to Eat
Restaurants at the various lodges all offer fine dining cuisine, there is no need to venture elsewhere for a meal.
Light pollution is almost completely absent in the Waterberg area, spend your evenings stargazing on clear nights. Remember to pack your portable telescope!
Where to Stay
The proprietors of each of the exclusive lodges at Welgevonden Game Reserve set the highest standards in lavish luxury, ensuring a flawless and most enjoyable stay. The lodge staff and ranger crew are hand-picked and no expense is spared on guests.
Air The nearest international airport OR Tambo International Airport in Johannesburg, a 250km drive or short 45 minute flight away. Chartered aircraft destined for Welgevonden must obtain permission to land from the management team.
Car There are several car rental agencies based at OR Tambo airport or you could order a vehicle online.
Taxi There are no traditional taxis in the area, however, most of the lodges offer shuttle services to collect and return their guests.
Did you know?
The Waterberg Biosphere is one of the most important San Rock Art areas in South Africa.
The Ndebele people mostly inhabit the Waterberg District and they are known worldwide for their brightly painted homes and traditional dress. Ndebele women adorn themselves with various ornaments, the more elaborate, the greater their status within the community.
Welgevonden has two gravel landing strips and many of the lodges have private helipads.