Did you know?
Aasvoëlkop is a prominent koppie where San rock art can be found on the reserve.
Tussen die Riviere Nature Reserve is situated in the southern Free State between the Caledon and the Orange Rivers – two of South Africa’s mightiest watercourses.
It’s hard to find a more evocative setting for a nature reserve that combines hunting and wildlife tourism. Surplus game is annually offered to the public through various hunting outfits.
The climate is transitional between the Karoo and the Highveld, offering an abundance of wildlife between the two rivers over 22 000 hectares.
Summers are hot with thunderstorms and rain. Winters are cold and ideal for hunting in the Free State. The hunting season is from March 1 – September 30. During this period the reserve is restricted to hunters. Outside this period it is open to sightseers.
It’s a rich ecosystem where Highveld grasslands and Karoo bushes vegetate the plains; wild olives and bush guarri are on the koppies, and white stinkwoods, weeping willows and star apples fringe the two rivers.
On the plains you’ll find blesbuck, black wildebeest, springbok, red hartebeest and zebra grazing alongside secretary birds seeking their prey in the grasslands. Nocturnal animals in the reserve include the aardwolf, aardvark and the bat-eared fox.
Out of hunting season, wildlife enthusiasts have almost 120km of dirt road routes to explore the reserve. The roads are good and you don’t need a 4x4, and the routes offer a variety of scenery and wildlife.
One of the routes follows the Caledon River, offering the opportunity to spot waders and larger waterbirds including the blue crane and white-bellied stork (also known as the Abdim's stork).
Another route meanders though mystical dolerite pillars resembling the stone cairns of the Matopos in Zimbabwe. A third follows the Orange River though evocative mountainous terrain.
Travel tips & Planning info
How to get here
From Johannesurg, follow the N1 south to Springfontein, then take the turn-off to Bethulie, enter the town of Bethulie and take the Smithfield road. About 15km out of town you will see the turnoff to Tussen die Riviere Nature Reserve. From Johannesburg it is a car journey of about seven hours.
Drive your own car. The dirt roads are good and you don't need a 4x4 unless you wish to take the 4x4 route in the reserve.
Length of stay
Plan to stay one or two nights.
Where to stay
The reserve has nine self-catering chalets and five self-catering hunter's bush camps.
What to eat
Bring all your own food and firewood. There are lovely braai (barbecue) spots in the game reserve.
1 March to 30 September is hunting season, when the reserve is closed to sightseers.