Safaris - Game Reserve - Karongwe
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Some Facts About Karongwe Game Reserve:
The Karongwe Private Game Reserve comprises 8 500ha of African bushveld created by private landowners. In 1998 one decided to drop fences to be able to restore the land, which has been agricultural land, back to those conditions which are believed to constitute its natural state, maintaining the balance of species and flora and fauna. The Karongwe Association was founded in 2001 and the members are also the directors of Karongwe Game who owns and protects the animal species. Currently there are over 40 mammal species in the Reserve, including the Big Five Lion, Leopard, Rhino, Elephant and Buffalo. The Reserve maintains a clean buffalo project. The association wants to ensure the preservation of fauna, flora and animal species for the future generations. Conservation projects try constantly to achieve this goal. Community projects try to involve the natives in nature projects to help understand how important the preservation of nature is. Research projects working with overseas volunteers try to bring the importance of nature conservation into the international markets to let the world know how precious the African wildlife and nature is.

The Karongwe Private Game Reserve is an 8500-hectare private conservation area situated in the Central Lowveld region of the Limpopo Province of South Africa. Altitude varies from around 480 metres above sea level on the Makutswe river in the north to 560 metres above sea level at Beacon rock in the central southern area. Precipitation in the area is low and erratic, characteristic of semi-arid savannahs: a hot, wet season of 5-7 months (October to April) and the remainder of the year being dry. An average rainfall of 482mm has been recorded over the last 12 years.

During the late 1940’s, the situation was brought under control (from a human perspective) by the aerial spraying of DDT over the entire area, completely wiping out tsetse flies and largely controlling mosquitoes. The land was duly handed out to destitute soldiers returning from the Second World War. The trend at the time was to farm with cattle and this, combined with excessive hunting and poor land management, caused the decimation of natural game in the area.

This region of South Africa was not suited to permanent agricultural activities until the late 1940’s for various reasons, which included the presence of tsetse flies in the summer months and Anopheles mosquitoes. However, Europeans began hunting and exploring in the area during the early 19th Century and The Royal Geographical Society, on behalf of The Harmony Mining Company, properly surveyed the area for the first time in 1893. To this day, the area is locally referred to as the Harmony Block. Gold was discovered in the 1890’s, and very soon, the first town in the area was developed, Leydsdorp. The mining activities had dire consequences to the once abundant wildlife in the area, as miners and labourers hunted, snared and trapped game for both sport and food. Fortunately, the gold ran out and the miners disappeared. A few attempted farming, although most attempts were unsuccessful.The three decades between the 1950’s and the 1980’s again saw an influx of miners, this time in search of mica and feldspar. Fortunately, mining activities came to a gradual halt, as these minerals can be mined more effectively in other areas. Despite this, Harmony is littered with hundreds of abandoned mines of varying sizes.

During the late 1990’s, a group of farmers decided to make a difference. Internal fences between farms were dropped and the Karongwe Private Game Reserve was established. Their objectives were to rehabilitate the land, reintroduce the indigenous species extinct to the area and generally bring the area as close as possible back to its former splendour. With this came the development of lodges, creating jobs for the local people and attracting visitors from around the world.

Where To Stay In Karongwe Game Reserve:
- Edeni
- Ingwe River Lodge
- Makutsi Safari Farm
- Wait A Little

Activities:

Refer to the specific Game Lodge page for activities offerd at each Lodge

How to get there:

From Johannesburg International Airport take the R21 towards Boksburg, that leads you to the N12 to Witbank. At Witbank you automatically get onto the N4 to Nelspruit. Turn off the N4 at Belfast, go through Dullstrom, towards Lydenburg. From Lydenburg you start on the R36 through Ohrigstad, direction Tzaneen, follow the Abel Erasmus Pass through the JG Striydom tunnel and approximately 10km after the tunnel take the first turn off left towards Tzaneen. After about 10km the Karongwe Private Game Reserve is lying on your right hand side, between the road to Gravelotte and Tzaneen.


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