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Featured Lodge - Balule Nature Reserve


In the past 15 years a number of private nature reserves/game reserves were formed in South Africa. One of the most popular ones is the Balule Nature Reserve. In this article I will try to show why this is the case.

(The photo is of Pondoro Game Lodge, one of the lodges at the upper end of the seven lodges available.)

Establishement of the Balule Private Nature Reserve 

The Balule Private Nature Reserve was created in the early 1990's when a few enterprising farm owners decided to drop the game fences between their farms. Balule continued expanding all the time as landowners continued to join and has since grown into a 40,000 ha private nature reserve.

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Ecozone and biodiversity of Balule 

Balule is adjacent to the world famous Kruger National Park and the fence between the two has been removed, so that game can roam freely between Balule and the vast Kruger.

It is in the mixed woodland ecozone of the lowveld, the ecozone with the greatest variety of fauna and flora in the lowveld.

The biodiversity of the lowveld region is staggering, supporting more than 2,000 plant species, which include over 380 recognized tree species (which, in fact, represent 50% of all trees found in Southern Africa) and more than 235 different species of grass. The tree above is the fascinating boabab tree found in the Kruger National Park as well as in Balule.

There are also approximately 150 mammal species and 500 bird species, 33 species of amphibians, 49 fish, and 114 reptiles occurring in the area.(ecoafrica.com)
You could check out my articles on carnivores and herbivores in the Pilanesberg National Park. With the exception of springbok, the same animals can be found in Balule private game reserve.
The links are:
Carnivores of Pilanesberg;
Herbivores of Pilanesberg I. You will find links to Herbivores II and III inside this article.

If you haven't got pair of binoculars but consider buying one before you go, I suggest you read my article on safari binoculars. You might find it useful.

The core of the park is the perennial Olifants River, which flows for approximately 20km through the centre of the reserve. The riverine ecozone (along this river) harbours many birds in the trees and water and also supports hippo, crocodile, fish, turtles, and other amphibious and aquatic animals.

Why visit Balule Nature Reserve? 

There's a number of good reasons why Balule Private Nature Reserve should be high on your list for places to go.

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Let's have a look at a few of the good reasons why your sould consider Balule Nature Reserve as a place to go.

  1. With Balule you get all the benefits normally associated with private nature reserves, as well as benefits of the Kruger National Park.

    On the one hand you get as much privacy and tranquility as you like. On the other hand you not only get exposure to the wild nature the 40,000 ha the Balule private game reserve can offer, but in fact to everything the vast Kruger National Park has to offer. Remember, the fences between Balule and the Kruger have been dropped.
    This includes the "Big Five", being the African lion, leopard, African elephant, white and black rhino and African buffalo. (Called the "Big Five", since these animals have always been regarded by hunters as the most difficult and dangerous animals to hunt.)
  2. Activities:
    a. You could decide to relax and enjoy the tranquility and the bush;
    b. go out on your own (in the relative safety of your car!)and look for lions, buffaloes or whatever.
    c. Maybe you're into birding? Lucky you! 500 species are waiting to be watched!

    You can hardly think about birds in the lowveld without thinking about the yellow billed hornbill:

    On the other hand, you could make use of what is on offer:
    d. Bush walks with Shangaan tracker! Now things can really get up close and personal!
    e. Or you could go on open vehicle game drives with professional game rangers.
    f. Or you could go on night drives and have a totally different experience! We see lions during the day and even see them hunting if we're lucky, not realizing that they hunt more at night. Some animals are truely nocturnal. Leopards hunt only at night. And do not forget about other very interesting animals which come out only at night, like the porcupine,

    or the fascinating pangolin. The picture below has been taken in daylight, which is very rare indeed.

    You could even see the aardvark (antbear),and the honey badger (the most fearless animal in the world according to Guiness book of records.)

    If you are fascinated by nocturnal animals, I suggest you read my article on How to buy night vision devices. Imagine having a night vision monocular or binocular when going on a safari night drive!
  3. Accommodation: The variety of accommodation available at Balule should meet your requirements whatever they are. Balule offers 10 game lodges which cater for luxury and exclusivity on the one hand, like in Pondoro Game Lodge and Ezulwini Game Lodges, to basic bush experience on the other hand, like in Kulungi Riverside Lodge and Amukela Game Lodge. See down below under "accommodation".

Accommodation at Balule Nature Reserve 

There are 10 game lodges available at Balule. The two Ezulwini Game Lodges and Pondoro Game Lodge are at the top of the range, focussing on luxury and exclusivity.
At the other end you have Kulungi Riverside Lodge, Amukela Game Lodge and Sangasava, which are self catering. Toro Yaka Bush Lodge is more expensive than these three, but also self catering. This bush lodge, however, differs from the others by its seclusion, intimacy and privacy.
To check out all the accommodation options, please CLICK HERE. There you will get all the details you need.


Going to the Balule Nature Reserve will be very special - no question about that:
Whether you prefer to enjoy the quiet and tranquility of the African bush and go gaming or birding all on your own, keeping thinks as simple as you like,
or prefer to enjoy the bush in the luxury some lodges offer and be treated, like going on guided day-time game drives or night drives.
Balule Nature Reserve has it all - it's up to you to choose what you prefer.

Start by considering your options as far as accommodation at Balule is concerned!


Come August each year, everybody in South Africa and many people around the world know that one of the biggest spectacles in Nature is about to happen: The transformation of an arid, desert-like area of about 200,000 sq. kilometres, known as Namaqualand, into an awe-inspiring, dazzling, spectacular mass-display of wild flowers arguably unequalled on the planet.

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Thinking about nature reserves in South Africa, the Kruger National Park immediately springs to the mind, but people tend to forget - or simply do not know - that South Africa boasts a number of other world-class reserves, among which the Pilanesberg National Park/Game Reserve, the fourth biggest in South Africa. In this article I would like to show why it would be worth your while to visit this superb national park in Pilanesberg.

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