Located 38 km west of Bela-Bela in the Limpopo province of South Africa, the Mabalingwe Nature Reserve consists of over 8 000 hectares of bushveld. The area is malaria-free and easily accessible being only 90 minutes’ drive from Johannesburg. The meaning of the name Mabalingwe is “Spots of the Leopard”.

The Origins of Mabalingwe

The area where the Mabalingwe reserve is now located was originally a maize and game farm named Boschpoort. It was founded in 1972 by the Wessels family and Kudu and Impala was the only animals to be seen on the farm at that time. In 1987 the farm was developed into a vacation resort with the first 10 chalets built in 1988. Rhinoceroses, hippopotamuses, and sable were brought into the resort in 1989.

By 1994 over 100 hundred units were set up in the resort with parts of the farm sold to sole proprietors to build houses. Two neighbouring farms were also purchased to further enlarge the land area of the resort. A RV park was developed in the same year.

In 1995, elephants were rescued in Mabalingwe, and 1999 some of the disease-free African buffalo, that was being bred in Hoedspruit, was settled in Mabalingwe. By 2003 Mabalingwe had grown to over 8 000 hectares.

Game Viewing in Mabalingwe

Mabalingwe biome provides wonderful game-viewing opportunities year-round. Wildlife that can be seen at the Mabalingwe Nature Reserve include the Big Five which are lion, leopard, buffalo, elephant and rhinoceros. You are also likely to encounter sable, antelope, hippo, giraffe, hyena, and warthog to name but a few of the 36 species of mammals located in Mabalingwe. Bird lovers need not feel left out as there are over 220 species of birds waiting to be spotted at the reserve.

Facilities at Mabalingwe

There is a range of accommodation options in Mabalingwe with several thatched chalets. Some of these chalets are close to the main complex while others are situated deeper in the resort offering more privacy and calm.

The Mabalingwe Nature Reserve offers the following facilities:

  • Le Fera Restaurant
  • Vulture’s View Bar
  • Kalahari Oasis Bush Pub
  • Boeretroos Coffee Shop
  • Le Fera Plaaswinkel / Farmshop
  • Tennis
  • Squash
  • Mini Golf
  • Games Room
  • Kids Play Room
  • Entertainment Area
  • Mbali Day Spa
  • Swimming Pools
  • ATM’s
  • Fuel Station
  • Multi-court
  • Jumping Pillow

Awards Received by Mabalingwe

RCI Oscas 2017 Awards: First Runner Up
RCI Oscas 2018 Awards: Third Runner Up and RADA Award (Affiliated for 30 years)
RCI Oscas 2019 Awards: Fourth Runner Up