Mpumalanga, South Africa - ECO South Africa Sport and Travel

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Mpumalanga, South Africa

Mpumalanga , South Africa

Formerly known as the Eastern Transvaal, Mpumalanga is one of South Africa's top tourist destinations. Mpumalanga (Zulu name for "the place where the sun rises") is a province in eastern South Africa, bordering the nations of Swaziland and Mozambique. It embraces the southern half of Kruger National Park, a huge nature reserve with abundant wildlife including big game. Mountains, panoramic passes, valleys, rivers, waterfalls and forests characterise the landscape. This is also Big Game Country, the setting for dozens of sanctuaries teeming with wildlife and birds. Among them, the Kruger National Park is world renowned, as are several of the luxurious private reserves on its western boundary. The province's iconic Blyde River Canyon, among the world’s largest, is known as a green canyon because of its subtropical foliage. The entire Mpumalanga area offers exceptional opportunities for bird-watching, hiking, horse-riding and fishing. Streams once panned for gold have become the haunts of eager anglers and lazy trout. Steeped in the history of pioneers, hunters and fortune seekers, fascinating gold rush towns abound. Mpumalanga offers something for everyone. Nelspruit today is the capital of Mpumalanga, the commercial and administrative hub of the Lowveld, and the centre of a vast citrus-growing region.

Game Lodges, Bush Camps and Hotels

Staying at one (or more) of Mpumalanga's game lodges, or in the local bush camps, gives visitors the opportunity to enjoy a comfortable base from which to embark on game drives at dawn and dusk, or even those conducted at night, when nocturnal predators come to life. When staying at a Game Lodge in Mpumalanga, guests can look forward to seeing lion, elephant, rhino, buffalo and plenty more. From budget to 5 star luxury Mpumalanga hotels, country resorts and the finest South African Game Lodges - whatever your requirements.

Guest Houses and Lodges

Mpumalanga guest houses and lodges are an ideal alternative to staying at the (sometimes more expensive) hotels in the area. Meals besides breakfast are often available (dinner and/or lunch) usually on request. Many of the services offered at hotels can be expected, such as airport transfers, wake up calls and laundry service.
Bed and Breakfast and Self Catering

Budget, comfortable and luxury Mpumalanga self-catering accommodation available for holiday rental year-round. This includes free-standing holiday homes, luxury villas, holiday cottages and self-contained chalets often in a garden or bush setting, holiday apartments and suites / units (with kitchenettes and usually private entrances). All Mpumalanga self catering accommodation units are fully equipped which enables guests to cater for themselves. Bed & Breakfasts are usually less expensive than hotels and often offer the same standard of accommodation. Staying at a B&B gives you the opportunity to live as a local and enjoy the advice of your hosts. These establishments are usually owner-managed.

Kruger National Park
General Information

  • The surface area of Kruger National Park is 7,580 miles² (19,633 km²)
  • The park was first proclaimed in 1898 as the Sabie Game Reserve by the then president of the Transvaal Republic, Paul Kruger. He first proposed the need to protect the animals of the Lowveld in 1884, but his revolutionary vision took another 12 years to be realised when the area between the Sabie and Crocodile Rivers was set aside for restricted hunting.
  • James Stevenson-Hamilton (born in 1867) was appointed the park’s first warden on 1 July 1902.
  • On 31 May 1926 the National Parks Act was proclaimed and with it the merging of the Sabie and Shingwedzi Game Reserves into the Kruger National Park.
  • The first motorists entered the park in 1927 for a fee of one pound.
  • There are almost 254 known cultural heritage sites in the Kruger National Park, including nearly 130 recorded rock art sites.
  • There is ample evidence that prehistoric man – Homo erectus roamed the area between 500 000 and 100 000 years ago
  • Cultural artifacts of Stone Age man have been found for the period 100 000 to 30 000 years ago.
  • More than 300 archaeological sites of Stone Age man have been found
  • Evidence of Bushman Folk (San) and Iron Age people from about 1500 years ago is also in great evidence.
  • There are also many historical tales of the presence of Nguni people and European explorers and settlers in the Kruger area.
  • There are significant archaeological ruins at Thulamela and Masorini
  • There are numerous examples of San Art scattered throughout the park.
Ecological Aspects

This enormous and magnificent park is one of the most popular public-entry game parks in the world. Its density of permanent game is unrivalled with hundreds of different species; 507 birds, 336 trees, 147 mammals, 114 reptiles, 49 fish and 34 amphibians! Few visitors leave South Africa without visiting the Kruger National Park or one of the private reserves along its borders but it is also frequented by locals in their own vehicles, as you can drive yourself around and stay overnight in one of the many public restcamps. There are also a few exclusive private lodges that have been granted concessions within the Kruger National Park.

The far north of the park is the wildest and most difficult area to access and because of this, it has alluring qualities for the real adventurer. With greater ecological co-operation across African borders, several countries bordering South Africa have agreed to take down some fences, and those between Kruger and Mozambique's Limpopo National Park and Zimbabwe's Gonarezhou, have been demolished to create the Greater Limpopo Transfrontier Park. This unique political innovation is creating a colossal wilderness area.

Things To Seek

  • The Big Five – Buffalo, Elephant, Leopard, Lion and Rhino.
  • The Little Five – Buffalo Weaver, Elephant Shrew, Leopard Tortoise, Ant Lion and Rhino Beetle.
  • Birding Big Six– Ground Hornbill, Kori Bustard, Lappet- faced Vulture, Martial Eagle, Pel’s Fishing Owl and Saddle-bill Stork.
  • Five Trees – Baobab, Fever Tree, Knob Thorn, Marula, Mopane.
  • Natural/Cultural Features – Letaba Elephant Museum, Jock of the Bushveld Route, Albasini Ruins, Masorini Ruins, Stevenson Hamilton Memorial Library, Thulamela.
Kruger National Park Accommodation

The Kruger Park offers a wide variety of holiday accommodation in the form of restcamps, Bushveld Camps, Bush Lodges and also private Luxury Lodges. The accommodation varies not only in size, facilities and visual appearance, but also in price range.

Travelling to the Kruger Park, you will find that the major restcamps have electricity, a first-aid centre, a shop, barbecue and communal kitchen facilities, a laundromat/laundry tubs, a restaurant and/or self-service cafeteria, public telephones, a petrol station and friendly staff.
There are many excellent accommodation options which offer superb safari and game viewing experiences in Private Reserves which share unfenced and unfixed borders with Kruger National Park, which means the animals move freely. As it is much less congested this means that your wildlife sightings will be up close and more intimate.

There are also many bed & breakfast, guest houses, lodges, hotels, self-catering options and exclusive-use villas situated near Kruger Park which allow for easy access into the park for self-drive game viewing or guided game drives which we can arrange.

Types of Accommodation

  • Bush Lodge
  • Bushveld Camps
  • Tented Camp
  • Safari Lodge
  • Country Retreat

Nkomazi Game Reserve

Game Drives
Game viewing is carried out during the morning and evening and has been refined to an art by our highly experienced Rangers. Traversing through the Reserve, the wildlife is staggering in its diversity. If you have a particular interest, please mention this to your Ranger. The game drives take between 3 - 4 hours, with a coffee stop in the morning and a sundowners stop at a vantage point overlooking one of the many breathtaking vistas at sunset. The night drives are normally conducted en route back to the lodge after an afternoon game drive, where the focus shifts towards nocturnal species that are sought out from the game drive vehicle with the use of a spotlight.
Guided Walks
Guided walks through the veld can often be the highlight of your African trip, for it is only then that you gain a true perspective of the diversity of the fauna and flora around you. These walks may only be carried out by specially trained and qualified Guides and therefore you should not leave the immediate lodge area for walks of any kind unless accompanied by a Guide.
Rock Art
Throughout the reserve, rock art sites dating back more than 3000 years depicting the spiritual beliefs and the lives of the San are found. During their travels, members of the tribe would congregate around a communal fire, weaving stories and celebrating the gift of life. The Shaman would meditate through rhythmic dancing, singing and clapping and while in a trance like state, receive visions and guidance. This medicine man would ensure the well being of the tribe, protecting them from evil and sickness, predicting the future and ensuring good hunting rains. These experiences of the Shaman were communicated to the tribe in the form of the rock art seen today. The various sites that were chosen were also very symbolic, the rock depicting the medium between the different realms the Shaman had travelled in his trance like state. Rock was the medium where three worlds met: the world as we know it, the world above and the world below. Ingredients used for the paint consisted of red ochre, animal bones, coal and aloe sap. The sap and protein in egg and blood have the ability to preserve the art that exists today.
River Retreat Spa
The Rivier Retreat is situated right on the Komati river rapids. This sets the perfect back drop for complete relaxation. The retreat offers an escape to enjoy some pampering. Awaken your senses and allow us to rejuvenate mind, body & soul. Inspired by surrounding elements that guide us , our selection of beauty and body treatments cater for men & women. The most favourite of all treatments is the Stress Buster Massage; which is a combination of favourites concentrating on the back neck and shoulder area, followed by a deep scalp massage & ending off with a pressure point treat on the feet.
Bird Watching
For the avid birdwatcher, abundant species of birds are regularly seen on the Reserve, including raptors such as the Martial, Tawny and Fish Eagles and Steppe Buzzards. As the Reserve hosts both grassland and forest species, it is not uncommon to spot the Purple-Crested Loerie and the Longtailed Widowbird within a few metres of each other. A wide variety of birds are spotted from the comfort of ones tent. Most commonly seen are Hornbills, Robins, Kingfishers, Oxpeckers, Starlings, Boubous, Shrikes and Woodpeckers, to name but a few.
Rare Bird species such as the following can be spotted - White stork / Yellow-billed Stork / Bat hawk / Martial Eagle / Long crested eagle / Osprey / African finfoot / Blue swallow / Wattled crane / Crowned Crane / Southern bald ibis / Striped flufftail / White-winged flufftail / Ground woodpecker / Olive Woodpecker / Rudd’s lark / Buff-streaked chat / Gurney’s sugarbird / Malachite Sunbird / Yellow-breasted pipit / Kurrichane Button Quail / Harlequin Quail / Ground Hornbill / Winchat / Orangebreasted Waxbill / Narina Trogan / Trumpeteer Hornbill / Knysna Touraca / Livingstones Touraca / Purpel crested Touraca / Grass Owl

Sudwala Caves and Dinosaur Park

Sudwala Caves

The Sudwala Caves are part of the Malmani Dolomite Ridge, in turn part of the Drakensberg escarpment, near Nelspruit in Mpumalanga. They are solutional caves – that is to say they were formed by natural acid in groundwater seeping through faults and joins, and dissolving rock. This most often occurs when the rock is dolomite rock and/or limestone. The Sudwala Caves are formed in both: mostly in dolomite rock, as well as erid, shale, conglomerate, chert and limestone.

The principal guardian of the Caves’ entrance was Sudwala, Somquba’s chief inDuna (councillor/captain), whose name is thus commemorated to this day, and whose spirit is legendarily said to linger in the Caves. A stream of fresh, cool air from an unknown source permeates the spacious corridors, maintaining them at an even temperature of 17°C all year round.

The Sudwala cavern complex is dominated by this spectacular chamber, with a lofty corridor measuring 150 metres to its centre. The ampitheatre is 70 metres in diameter, and 37 metres high to the peak of a dome-like feature in its roof. It is named the PR Owen Hall, after the Mr Owen who bought the caves and developed them as an attraction which could be visited and appreciated by the public. As well as the PR Owen Hall, some of the most popular attractions for visitors to the Caves are the ‘Devil’s Workshop’, the ‘map of Africa’ on the Caves’ ceiling, and the magical alcove dubbed ‘Fairyland’. Some of the most striking speleothems at Sudwala are Samson’s Pillar (about 200 million years old), the Screaming Monster (160 million) and the Rocket (140 million). Their age has been determined by the Rhebedium Strontium test, which measures the radioactive decay of cave formations.

To give an idea of the antiquity of these formations, at the time they began to be formed, between 510 to 180 million years ago, our planet still consisted of two supercontinents, one of which – Gondwana – included most of the landmasses in today’s Southern Hemisphere, as well as the Arabian Peninsula and the Indian subcontinent, which have now moved entirely into the Northern Hemisphere.

Sudwala Dinosaur Park

The Dinosaur Park is situated next to the Sudwala Caves. The museum displays life size models of pre-historic animals, ranging from amphibious reptiles, anicient reptiles, dinosaurs, pre-historic mammals, pre-historic man and more. The models were artistically and realistically sculpted by Jan van Zijl (also responsible for the black wildebeest on the old South African 2c coin).

Also on display are live Nile Crocodiles, perfectly adapted to survival and not much changed from their ancient relatives. The park is set in a lush sub-tropical forest garden, where monkeys and red-breasted cuckoos abound.  New is a magnificent ‘viewing deck’ from where the Rainforest Valley (National Heritage Site) can be observed – with occasional glimpses of wild chacma baboons.


  • Elephant interaction
The elephant interaction offered by Kapama, is a unique opportunity for guests to get extremely close to the world’s largest land animals. This activity offers visitors the chance to learn about African elephants, both wild and habituated, as they interact and feed these gentle giants. This is an early morning experience starting at around 06:20 am.  The elephant experience starts with a brief history of Jabulani and the rest of the herd that came to be part of this unique elephant experience.  Learn about the bonds formed between the elephants and their grooms, and what it takes to care for this special herd. The interaction allows you to observe these animals in their natural environment as they peacefully go about their daily routine.  You are then introduced to Jabulani and get the opportunity to feed and interact with him while learning some interesting facts about the anatomy of an elephant.  
  • Hot Air Balloon
The Sabie River Valley and surrounds in Mpumalanga is a particularly lovely part of South Africa – and the vistas can surely be no better appreciated than from the quiet, lofty heights of an air-balloon. The Balloons launch just 10km from Hazyview on the Mpumalanga Drakensberg Escarpment and fly over the Lowveld – over the Sabie Valley with the Kruger Park in the distance, usually landing in the Lowveld, but occasionally able to fly back to the launch area. The Balloons can take 4 – 6 people per flight, depending on weight, but do not take small children. Older children (ideally over 16) must be accompanied by an adult.
  • River Rafting
Raft the lower-Sabie River in 2-man inflatable "croc rafts".  A picnic meal on the banks of the river can be arranged on request. Children allowed, subject to water levels. The Sabie River is one of the cleanest river systems in the country with a diverse fish population and prolific birdlife. Eight kilometre course with 20 rapids (grade 2-3). Life jackets, helmets and all other safety equipment provided.
  • Geckoing
This is the best way to raft down the Sabie River! A Gecko is a one-man inflatable, raft-tube with handles and a rigid floor. You can sit, lie, and even stand on a Gecko! It is faster, safer and more capable than any other tube. Geckoing takes place in the upper part of the Sabie river where the gradient is quite steep and the river is narrow due to the steep sides of the gorge. A degree of fitness is needed as you need to scamper over slippery rocks and walk out of the gorge at the end of the trip. Bring shoes, sunscreen, towels and a set of dry clothes. Free wetsuits provided when it is cold. Each trips is accompanied by a well trained swift-water guide. To ensure a lasting memory video or still camera footage can be arranged. Children older than 12 years allowed.
  • Helicopter Scenic Flights
Experience breathtaking panoramic views from a 4- or 6-seater helicopter .... Swoop over deep and mysterious gorges, hover above roaring rivers and cascading waterfalls, and view the fascinating and dramatic rock formations of the Blyde River Canyon.
Cascades Scenic Flight (45 minutes) - Fly along the Sabie River towards Sabie town. Over the Mac Mac, Lisbon & Berlin Falls, the Pinnacle and God's Window.
Cascades & Canyon Delight (1 hour) - Fly along Lisbon & Berlin Falls, the Pinnacle, God's Window and the Blyde River Canyon.
Cascades & Canyon Spectacular (1.5 hours) - Fly over the Mac Mac, Lisbon & Berlin Falls, the Pinnacle, God's Window and Blyde River Canyon. Land at a sight with magnificent views of the Mpumalanga Lowveld, and enjoy a picnic accompanied by South African Sparkling wine

  • Zipline
Strap yourself onto a high speed pulley running on a 450m long cable, descending a mountain at a gradient of 45 degrees. Reach a speed of up to 100km/h with wind screaming in your ears and trees flashing by. Anybody can do it as long as you fit into the harness. Youngsters can go tandem with adults if they prefer.
  • Kayaking
Kayaking on the Sabie River (class 3 and 4 rapids) is for everybody and is a great way to enjoy the outdoors in a healthy way. Suitable for the beginner, expert or weekend warrior.    
  • Big Swing (Graskop)
Experience the adrenalin rush with a 68m free-fall at 180km/hour in under 3 seconds on one of the world's highest Cable Gorge Swings! Or fly across a panoramic gorge on a 130m high and 135m long High-wire ("foefie slide"). Tandem swings (max. combined weight of 200kg) also available on the 2.5 ton breaking strain safety ropes.  Highly trained, professional instructors and impeccable safety record.  
  • Caving - Sudwala Caves
The Crystal Tour at Sudwala Caves penetrates 2km deep into the bowels of Mother Earth to the outskirts of the Crystal Chamber, with its splendid array of sparkling aragonite crystals. Moderately difficult, with some stretches of crawling involved. Negotiate the natural  tunnels, some of which contain water. You must be prepared to get a little wet and dirty! Bring old clothes (not jeans), boots/firm footwear, torch with long-life batteries, towel and change of clothes.
  • Kloofing (Sabie)
Have a breathtaking walk, jump and slide inside the veins of mother-nature.  Experience the magnificent Mac Mac Waterfall beyond the limits of a normal sightseeing tourist. Kloofing is when you descent down a dry or wet ravine, where it is several times deeper than it is wide. It is all about hiking, scrambling, climbing, jumping and having fun! The scenery changes from wide open grassland to thick jungle vegetation. The three jumps will keep the adrenaline pumping while the not-so-adventurous have the option to walk around them.

Bird of Prey and Rehabilitation Centre

The Dullstroom Bird Of Prey and Rehabilitation Centre was established in 1997 and has been located at its present site since November 2004.   The Centre’s original aim was as an educational centre, teaching members of the public about raptors and promoting an awareness of the raptor species and their plight as a growing endangered species. The need for care of injured and orphaned birds of prey prescribed the evolving of the rehabilitation centre as well. The time has now come where the province is in desperate need of facilities that cater for all species; hence the vision has expanded the education and rehabilitation facility to encompass all species of wildlife.
To rescue, raise, rehabilitate and release indigenous wildlife back into a natural habitat, whilst maintaining the highest ethical standards, and furthering conservation by playing a role in education of wildlife professionals, volunteers, learners and members of the public. We are foremost an educational facility and not an entertainment facility, which in itself sets our project apart from others in the country. We believe that the wellbeing of our animals is always our number one priority, not the fiscal aspect of the activities on offer for public entertainment.
We are a small dedicated team of like-minded individuals (more like family than colleagues), from different backgrounds and age groups, bringing together training in Nature Conservation, Captive Animal Management, Wildlife Rehabilitation, and Falconry.
As a permitted Wildlife Education Centre, our main drive is to educate the public as to the plight of raptors and this we achieve largely with our flight demonstrations, handling days, and photographic days at the centre. We also do educational displays at schools and at other venues if required. Here at the centre, when we fly birds, it is done for fitness and rehabilitation purposes. This is necessary work to get birds ready for release back into the wild.  Some birds cannot be released but still need to be flown to keep in shape and optimal health. The flight displays are therefore not viewed as “entertainment” but rather as necessary for the welfare of the birds.

Shangana Cultural Village

Midway between the Blyde River Canyon and the southern Kruger National Park, the residents of the traditional villages of Shangana invite guests to share in the way of life of the Shangana people. The picturesque villages are set in the shade of ancient trees in a reserve of forest and grassland, and are open every day.

A bustling African market village forms the centre of Shangana, where local craftspeople make and trade their craft. From here, trained guides lead guests down to villages on daytime tours, midday tours with lunch, and the famed Evening Festival in the Chief's Kraal. Shangana has been created and built by local Shangana people, and forms a place of great pride and a way of preserving a rich heritage for us, and an example of South Africa's great cultural diversity. Today, the Shangaans live in areas mainly between the Kruger National Park and the Drakensberg mountains, in South Africa's Mpumalanga and Northern Province. Their sister tribe, the Tsongas, inhabit most of southern Mozambique. Shangana Cultural Village celebrates the cultural heritage of all these peoples.

The Shoe and Alpha Omega Caves

The Shoe

The Shoe is where the ‘old lady’ lived with her many children as the nursery rhyme says. Except the furniture of the ‘Old Lady’ The Shoe also contains a small museum featuring the history of the Valley as well as an art gallery. Owner and artist Ron van Zyl’s artworks are to be seen here. The Curio shop and Tea Garden is run by his wife Yvonne, children, students and also volunteer workers. From The Shoe is the entrance to the Alpha Omega Cave. The Shoe was built in 1990 to be a landmark and tourist attraction.
The Alpha Omega Caves

The Alpha Omega Cave came into existence because of a vision Ron van Zyl had many years ago and was build according to the vision. Tourists or Guests that come to visit the Shoe and the Cave are guided through seven underground rooms in which the Spirit World is depicted. The 7th room is a small Chapel where weddings can be held. These are most certainly different caves to what a tourist would expect. They are man-made caves, spiritually inspired and created by the artist Dr. Ron van Zyl. Here you will see things that you have heard about in Church, the difference being that you will also see a depiction of the spirit world as well. Through art in the form of sculptures, paintings, light and sound, visitors see a range of emotions and feelings such as fear, bitterness and jealousy. There are six rooms to the Caves, depicting scenes full of emotion such as the Crucifixion, Angels & Demons and the Lion of Judah.

The Panorama Route

One of South Africa's most scenic drives, the Panorama Route, explores the Mpumalanga highlands, or the north-eastern section of the Great Escarpment of the Drakensberg. In these rugged mountains the plateau comes to an abrupt and dramatic halt, falling steeply away into the Lowveld accompanied by incredible views out over the grasslands of Africa.

The Panorama Route's popularity has much to do with its proximity to the Kruger National Park. It is often part and parcel of any organised trip to the game reserve. But it is also favoured for the access it provides to one of the province's major scenic draw cards, the Blyde River Canyon.
The Blyde River Canyon is one of the largest canyons on earth, and increasingly popular with overseas visitors. The most popular stretch of the route is the R532 that winds its way from the town of Sabie via a selection of graceful waterfalls - the Sabie Falls, Bridal Veil Falls, Mac Mac Falls - to God's Window, the Blyde River Canyon, Bourke's Luck Potholes and the three Rondawels.

The famous Lowveld View is not even 5 km north of Bourke's Luck Potholes. This view out over the canyon from a height of 1 219 metres above sea level, the Blyde River cutting its way through the valleys below and the Blydepoort Dam in the distance, is unspeakably beautiful. There are other road routes that also form part of the Panorama Route that have equally beautiful highlights:
• the R36 to Matibidi past the Lydenburg Falls, Ohrigstad Dam Nature Reserve and on to Echo Caves
• the R37 along Long Tom Pass (arguably one of the most beautiful passes in the province)
• the R533 between the historical mining village of Pilgrim's Rest and Graskop

Perry's Bridge Reptile Park and Toboggan Run

Perry's Bridge Reptile Park

Perry's Bridge Reptile Park is conveniently located just 14kms from Phabeni gate and Numbi gate to Kruger National Park and on the panoramic route to the Blyde River Canyon. This is an opportunity not to be missed when you visit the Lowveld. Species to view include anacondas, reticulated pythons, black mamba, green mamba, rattlesnakes, boomslang, gaboon adder, and cobras, amongst many many others as well as poison dart frogs, iguanas, the ancient leopard tortoises and huge Nile crocodiles. Enclosures are designed to mimic the animals' natural environment, providing a more enjoyable lifestyle for the animals and a providing greater viewing pleasure for our visitors.

Children will love to meet our potbellied pigs PumPum, Peaches and Pumpkin, their goat friends Daisy and Gandalf, the peacocks Letitia and Lancelot, as well as a variety of ducks and geese. The gardens are a bird haven attracting many of our local species including spectacular purple crested touracos and resident woodland kingfishers - we even have a resident gymnogene who is regularly sighted.

Long Tom Africa's Longest Toboggan Run

1.7 kilometre track, winding and whooshing around the mountains in the Long Tom Pass - Enjoy the ultimate ride of your life and ‘excite your soul’ on Misty Mountain’s Long Tom Toboggan. Simply hop on board your Long Tom Toboggan cart and prepare to take a deep breath when you reach a speed of 45 kilometres an hour during your three-minute ride, as you twist and turn through wild flowers and beautiful forest.

Chimp Eden

Situated within the beautiful 1,000 hectare Umhloti Nature Reserve, 15 kilometres outside Nelspruit, the Jane Goodall Institute (JGI) South Africa Chimpanzee Sanctuary is home to chimps that have been misplaced from their natural habitats in Africa. Chimp Eden was established in 2006 and is the first and only chimpanzee sanctuary in South Africa.  This JGI chimpanzee sanctuary brings the world of chimpanzees closer to humanity through education end eco-tourism.  

The chimpanzee (Pan Troglodytes) is considered to be the closest relative to humans and is “Endangered’ under a strict application of the IUCN Red List Criteria (International Union for Conservation of Nature) and is listed in Appendix 1 of CITES (Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora).  Chimpanzees in the wild may be extinct within the next 10 - 20 years if current trends cannot be reversed.

The goal of the chimpanzee sanctuary is to rescue chimpanzees that have survived the bush meat trade, been orphaned, traded in the illegal pet market, or rescued from being traumatised for entertainment in circuses, beach resorts and night clubs. The chimpanzees at Chimp Eden are the lucky ones, living out their lives in a risk free environment and being provided with the necessary attention to recover from the trauma they have experienced.  The chimpanzees spend their days in semi-wild enclosures, and show normal social interaction and behavioural patterns as group members.  There are currently three different chimp groups and enclosures at the South African sanctuary.  There are viewpoints overlooking the forest and “foraging areas’ from which visitors and volunteers can observe and study the chimpanzees.

The Botshabelo Mission Station

Botshabelo ("place of refuge" in the Northern Sotho language) in the district of Middelburg, in Mpumalanga Province, South Africa, originated as a mission station established by Alexander Merensky of the Berlin Missionary Society (BMS), in February 1865 in what was then the Transvaal Republic (ZAR). Merensky had fled with a small number of parishioners following the attacks on his previous mission station, Ga-Ratau, by the soldiers of Sekhukhune, the king of the baPedi. Within a year of having established the mission station, the population had grown to 420 persons.
The BMS focused on providing schooling and bringing the gospel to people in their own language. Hence the Society’s missionaries were often at the forefront of publishing Bible translations, dictionaries and grammars in indigenous languages. It was as part of this process that Africans, duly trained and sometimes salaried, were accepted into the Society as teachers, catechists and lay-preachers, the so-called Nationalhelferen or national helpers.
One of these was one Jan Sekoto who was sent for further training in Germany. Returning earlier than anticipated, however, he took up a teaching post at Botshabelo. Sekoto’s son Gerard Sekoto, born at Botshabelo in 1913, would later emigrate to Europe, obtaining French citizenship and achieving considerable renown as an artist. Besides the vestiges of the past, today Botshabelo is a living museum for the Ndebele architecture.

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