Leshiba Wilderness is a nature and game reserve at the top of Limpopo's Soutpansberg Mountains, South Africa's northernmost range. The name Soutpansberg means 'mountain of salt' and is derived from the salt pans that lie to the north of the mountain range.

Did you know?

You can spot five primate species at Leshiba Wilderness: lesser and thick-tailed bushbabies, samango and vervet monkeys, and chacma baboons.

Leshiba Wilderness is a nature and game reserve featuring a mix of indigenous forests and open plains, with dramatic gorges, tumbling waterfalls and amazing views too. You can go hiking in the mountains, walk amongst wild animals, visit ancient rock art sites and enjoy a sundowner game drive.

Leshiba Wilderness is a sanctuary for a variety of wildlife, including giraffe, zebra, wildebeest and white rhino. Go on a guided walk or drive with one of Leshiba's game rangers and learn more about the habitat, the plants, the animals and the area's history.

This game reserve also has a series of rock art paintings, a legacy of the San people who were originally attracted here by the nearby salt pans. You can also go on one of many hiking trails that take you through different parts of the nature reserve – gorges, forests, mountains and grassy plains.

Leshiba boasts has different accommodation options: the Venda Village Lodge, Hamasha Bush Camp and the Indigenous Knowledge Centre, with either full board or self-catering options. Hamasha Bush Camp overlooks a wild and remote gorge, while the Indigenous Knowledge Centre is best for group accommodation and is perfect for workshops, retreats and conferences.

Leshiba Wilderness forms part of the 90 000ha Soutpansberg Mountains Conservancy, which was formed specifically to protect the mountain range and its botanical diversity. There are some 600 species of tree in the Soutpansberg, including yellowwoods, giant stinkwoods, forest fevers, cabbage trees, proteas and ancient tree ferns.

The Soutpansberg Mountains go from arid bushveld in the west to thick indigenous montane forests in the east. The higher slopes of the mountain are often shrouded in mist and cloud in the morning. The highest point of the range, at 1 747, is Lajuma.

Travel tips & Planning info

Who to contact

Leshiba Wilderness Reservations
Tel:+27 (0)11 483 1841
Cell: +27 (0)82 881 1237
Email: info@leshiba.co.za

Venda Village Lodge
Tel: +27 (0)15 593 0076
Cell: +27 (0)71 697 2596 / +27 (0)71 695 8603

How to get here

From the town of Louis Trichardt, take the R522 to Vivo. Proceed for 35km and turn right at the Leshiba Wilderness signpost. From there it is a further 10km into the reserve.

Around the area

Leshiba Wilderness is actively involved in promoting local Venda arts and crafts, and you can visit an excellent gallery at nearby Madi a Thavha mountain farm.

Get around

Guided game drives and walks can be arranged at the reserve.

What to pack

Comfortable walking shoes or boots, sunscreen, hat, binoculars, camera and insect repellant.

Where to stay

Leshiba has various accommodation options, either full board or self-catering: The Venda Village Lodge; Hamasha Bush Camp; and the Indigenous Knowledge Centre.

What to eat

If you're not in the mood for self-catering, you can arrange for all meals to be prepared by the resident Leshiba Wilderness chef.

Best buys

Shop for local Venda and Tsonga arts and crafts at the lovely Madi a Thavha mountain farm, which has a shop and gallery showcasing scupture, clothes, homeware and various curios.