Limpopo – Looking at Lephalale

by Justin

[vc_row][vc_column][vc_column_text]The heartbeat of the bushveld… This is the place you head to when you seek tranquillity and escape from the usual. It’s the place where you can still observe majestic sunsets and star-gaze to your heart’s content.

Lephalale is famed for coal and hunting, but it really is so much more with an incredibly rich biosphere, history and culture.

The attraction of Lephalale lies in its expansive bushveld beauty. While many parts of South Africa offer great bush experiences, the surrounding nature areas of Lephalale are almost untouched.

Once you drive out of the main town past the coal mine and head towards the bush, there is an immediate peace that is only disturbed by the antics of the various animals you come across. The silence, which can be a bit disconcerting at first, begins to feel quite comforting as your breakaway progresses.

An abundance of fauna and flora

This is the place to head to when you crave nature. The Lephalale area is part of the Waterberg Biosphere – the only savannah biosphere reserve in the world.

While Lephalale is not known for its nightlife – it does offer nightlife of a different variety. A decent number of nocturnal animals roam about, so be sure to close windows, and the night sky lights up, perfect for star gazing.

Mammal species in the area include: nyala, white rhinoceros, giraffe, waterbuck, oryx, eland, zebra, impala, caracal, African wildcat, brown hyena, black-backed jackal and leopard.

The area is also considered a birding paradise and visitors have the opportunity to spot:

  • Kori bustard
  • red-billed oxpecker
  • black stork
  • black-winged pratincole
  • white-backed vulture
  • Cape vulture
  • marabou stork
  • yellow-billed stork
  • martial eagle
  • secretary bird
  • bateleur
  • lappet-faced vulture
  • golden-breasted bunting
  • yellow-fronted canary
  • bushveld pipit
  • Cape longclaw
  • long-tailed paradise-whydah
  • violet-eared waxbill
  • African quail finch
  • lesser masked-weaver
  • red-billed buffalo-weaver
  • capped wheatear
  • fiscal flycatcher
  • Chestnut-backed sparrow-lark
  • rufous-naped lark
  • arrow-marked babbler
  • orange-breasted bush-shrike.

Interesting facts

  • Lephalale means “to flow”.
  • It is situated on the Moloko River (a tributary of the Limpopo River) and is approximately 60km from the Botswana border.
  • In 2012, a large community of baboon spiders were discovered in the area during a road project. As these species are protected under the National Environmental Management: Biodiversity Act, 175, a new habitat was found, and the spiders were relocated.
  • Lephalale is annually the first area to produce watermelons sold to the general market.
  • The town of Lephalale was originally known as Ellisras.
  • Late Iron Age cattle posts belonging to the Letsibogo ceramic facies have been found in the area.
  • The Mokolo Dam is a popular fishing destination.
  • Lephalale has one of the largest open grove coal mines in the world (Grootgeluk).
  • Matimba is the largest direct dry cooling power station in the world.

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