Nestled deep in the Barberton Mountainlands, Songimvelo Game Reserve is a hidden gem that is often overlooked by travelers. However, this is precisely what makes the reserve so special. Covering over 50,000 hectares, it is one of the largest reserves managed by the Mpumalanga Parks Board and offers a diverse range of landscapes, wildlife, and habitats.
The reserve is situated in the Songimbelo-Malolotja Transfrontier Conservation Area, which links it to the Malolotja Nature Reserve in Swaziland. This area is renowned for its incredible beauty and geological significance, as it is home to some of the oldest rocks on Earth. Scientists from all over the world come to study the 3.5 billion year old volcanic rocks known as the Barberton Greenstone Belt, which provide evidence of what the conditions on Earth were like in the distant past.
In addition to its natural beauty and rich wildlife, Songimvelo Game Reserve also offers visitors the opportunity to explore the history and culture of the Barberton area. One of the must-see attractions in the region is the Barberton Museum, located in the town of Barberton. The museum offers visitors a glimpse into the area’s rich mining history and geology, as well as the general history of Barberton.
The museum was established in 1998, when a local collector, Mr. Otto Elkan, donated a significant collection of mining specimens, including quartz and historical mining items. These were initially displayed in the Carnegie Library, but over time the collections have grown, and today the Barberton Museum complex includes several other museums, such as the Belhaven, Stopforth House, Fernlea, and Block House Museums.
The main museum tells the story of Barberton’s gold rush, which began in 1884 when gold was first discovered in the area. The town flourished as gold prospectors and fortune hunters arrived to try their luck, but as gold was later discovered in the Witwatersrand region, many of the prospectors moved on, leaving Barberton as a charming country town. The museum also showcases the geology and mining history of the region, as well as the general history of Barberton.
The Barberton Museum is a great addition to any visit to Songimvelo Game Reserve, and it’s a great way to learn more about the area’s history and culture. Whether you’re a history buff, a geology enthusiast or just curious to know more about the region, the Barberton Museum is a must-visit attraction.
In addition to exploring the natural beauty and rich wildlife of Songimvelo Game Reserve, visitors can also enjoy a variety of adventure activities in the surrounding area. One popular activity is skydiving, which is offered by Adventure Skydives in Nelspruit.
Adventure Skydives was established in 1994 and has become known for its excellence in the skydiving market. The team has extensive experience and has skydived all over the world. They offer a variety of skydiving options, including Static line, Accelerated freefall, Tandem, and Display jumping, as well as corporate events.
One of the most popular options is the tandem skydive, which is the quickest way to experience freefall. After a short briefing, participants will slip into a jumpsuit and harness and jump from 10,000ft with a qualified Tandem master. The master will guide the participant through the entire experience, from introduction to the actual jump. Once in the aircraft, participants will freefall for 40 seconds before the parachute is deployed and together they will steer the chute safely back to earth.
Skydiving is an exhilarating and unforgettable experience, and Adventure Skydives is the perfect place to experience it. Whether you’re an experienced skydiver or a first-timer, Adventure Skydives offers a great deal of tandem skydives for everyone. Songimvelo Game Reserve is a great place to visit for nature lovers, history buffs, and thrill-seekers alike.
Visitors to Songimvelo Game Reserve can expect to be treated to a variety of landscapes, including rolling hills, hidden valleys, wide open plains, and forest ravines. The Komati River winds its way through the valley, eventually flowing into Swaziland and to the sea. The grassy plains are home to herds of zebra, buffalo, red hartebeest, and blue wildebeest, while the wooded areas are home to giraffe, kudu, and impala. A herd of elephants was introduced from the Kruger National Park, and there are also numbers of white rhino.
Ebutsini 4×4 Trail
For visitors looking for an outdoor adventure, the Ebutsini 4×4 Trail is an excellent option. Located between the Songimvelo Nature Reserve in Mpumalanga and the border of Swaziland, this trail is 55 kilometers from eManzana and offers visitors the opportunity to experience the magnificent South African outdoors.
The trail is 30 kilometers long and has a grading of 2 to 3, making it suitable for most drivers. It takes between four and five hours to complete and is a circular route that combines a variety of terrains, including stream crossings, muddy areas, rocky mountainous parts, and gravel service roads. While there are some challenging sections, the trail is self-drive and guides are available for larger groups upon request.
The Ebutsini 4×4 Trail is a great way to take in the picturesque landscapes of the area, including viewpoints, villages, and stunning vegetation. The natural habitat is home to many wildlife species, including a plethora of bird species.
Not only is this trail a great way to experience the beauty of the South African countryside, but it is also a community initiative designed to uplift the local community and promote job creation. The trail starts at the Ekulindeni Tourism Centre and by embarking on this 4×4 excursion, visitors are playing an integral role in the development of the local community.
For those looking for a more challenging experience, the Ebutsini 4×4 Trail offers an obstacle course, which should only be attempted by advanced drivers with well-equipped 4×4 vehicles and recovery equipment. Songimvelo Game Reserve has plenty to offer to visitors, including natural beauty, adventure activities and cultural experiences.
Although there are no lions in the reserve, visitors can spot black-backed jackal and brown hyena. The reserve also boasts an incredibly rich bird life. Whether you’re a nature lover, a scientist, or just looking for a peaceful escape, Songimvelo Game Reserve is a destination that offers something for everyone.