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TThe Wolkberg Wilderness Mountain Reserve is a 22 000ha playground for all manner of adventurers.
Whether you're into a good hard hike through steep gorges and along ancient cliffs, or just a gentle day picnicking and ambling alongside a rushing river, the Wolkberg Wilderness area is a quiet and beautiful escape.
This Limpopo reserve is much admired by local hikers, climbers, walkers and wanderers, thanks to its variety of trails and diverse habitat. There are marked trails, but you can walk anywhere you want, exploring dramatic gorges and cliffs, thickly forested ravines and wide-open grasslands.
While you're out walking you may well see smaller antelope such as klipspringer, grey rhebok, duiker, bushbuck and mountain reedbuck, as well as monkeys, baboons, elusive otters and the spotted genet.
Birders are in for a treat too – the Wolkberg Wilderness is home to the rare bat hawk, as well as black eagles, crowned eagles, hamerkops, bat hawks, pearl-breasted swallows and more.
The Wolkberg is the last and northermost stand of the majestic Drakensberg mountain range and was proclaimed, in part, because of its many endemic species. Part of its great appeal is its accessibility. The pretty town of Haenertsburg is only 14km away.
Don't leave home without your swimming costume. The 'cloudy mountains', as the area is also known, boasts many a clear stream, refreshing waterfalls and potholed pools.
The Letaba, Thabina, Letsitele and Mohlapitse rivers all originate in the Wolkberg Wilderness, a litany of ancient African names whose river courses are guarded by yellowwoods, wild figs, wild beeches and waterberry trees.
Travel tips & planning info
Who to contact
Limpopo Tourism Authority
Tel: +27 (0)15 290 2010
How to get here
From Johannesburg take the N1 to Polokwane and then the R71 to Tzaneen. From Tzaneen take the Old Coach Road. After 12km, turn right on a dirt road signposted as New Agatha Plantation. The Wolkberg Wilderness entrance gate is 3km along.
Best time to visit
Spring (September and October) and autumn (March and April) are best. Summer can be uncomfortably hot with frequent thunderstorms.
Things to do
Aside from hiking on marked paths, the quartzitic cliffs (the knuckles of apostles as they are known) are worth climbing if you super fit. If you venture onto the route from Seralo plateau over Kruger se Neus, through Wonderwoud Forest, you can do some serious rock climbing.
What to pack
A hat, sunscreen and sturdy walking shoes are musts. And don't forget the swimming gear as there are many safe rivers and pools to take a dip in.
Where to stay
There are plenty of B&Bs, guesthouses, hotels and self-catering chalets in nearby Tzaneen. Kings Walden Garden Manor is near the reserve entrance and boasts magnificent views of the Wolkberg Wilderness mountains.