The Waterberg Mountains provide a picturesque backdrop to the inimitable malaria-free Shambala Private Game Reserve in Limpopo Province. Its dominating feature is the mountainous Waterberg massif and is a UNESCO Biosphere Reserve, home to archaeological finds. Not only is Shambala an exceptionally beautiful wilderness terrain home to the big five, but it also of historical significance.
The reserve encompasses 100 square kilometres of dry deciduous forest, savannah grasslands on the upper reaches of the Waterberg plateau, and riparian vegetation lining the banks of the rivers.
Shambala supports a host of unique activities where visitors can immerse themselves in the splendour of the reserve. Activities include game drives, fishing in the man-made Douw Steyn Dam, sundowner cruises, and more. In addition to the typical safari activities, there are a few noteworthy breeding programs and conservation initiatives in the area.
Shambala Private Game Reserve is one of the most accessible reserves and is only a two-and-a-half-hour drive from OR Tambo International Airport and about a three-hour drive from Lanseria Airport. The closest town serving the area is Vaalwater, and there are only a few accommodation options within the reserve.
Travellers to Shambala Private Game Reserve can expect luxury amenities such as a private butler, swimming pools and expansive views from patios.
Shambala Private Game Reserve is located in the Waterberg Mountains in South Africa’s Limpopo Province. The area is malaria-free but visitors are still encouraged to seek medical advice if unsure.
The diverse biome hosts a variety of wildlife and is a haven for various species. The dams and waterholes are populated with crocodiles and hippos, while the dry savannah regions support cheetah, hyena, rhino, elephant, buffalo, leopard, and lion. Endangered antelope such as sable, tsessebe, and black impala are in abundance.
Birding on the floodplains is fantastic, and avid birders can spot African finfoot, white-backed night herons, and other waterfowl. It’s quite common to spot black eagles, yellow-billed kites, European honey buzzards, and western osprey. The dams are filled to the brim with indigenous fish species.
The on-site wildlife breeding programs increase the natural population of species and contribute to the balance of the reserve.
Shambala is a year-round destination with moderate temperatures. Wintertime is the most popular season for a safari, as this is when the foliage thins out. Winter in the Waterberg is from April to October. Spring and Summer are when the birding is at an all-time high, and visitors can also enjoy sightings of newborns. Summer is from November to March. November and December is the peak rainy season.
There are so many safari options available to visitors, each offering something unique. From adventure lovers to the more sedentary safari-goer, Shambala caters for everyone. Guided game drives are the most common way of exploring this varied terrain and introduce guests to the big five.
The placid waters of the man-made Douw Steyn dam provide the perfect place for fishing and sundowner cruises, both popular activities in the reserve. The on-site chefs at the various lodges can prepare the freshly caught fish.
Guided walking safaris offer an immersive experience. Visitors will be introduced to the smaller creatures in the wild and learn interesting facts about the surrounding vegetation. For the more adventurous, the quad biking trails prove to be a popular way of exploring the wilderness.
There are two accommodations in the reserve, one of which occupies a beautiful space on the banks of the river. The lodge comes complete with a safari butler. Yet another accommodation option in this exclusive reserve is the stately private villa. Accommodation is private and exclusive, with patios, views, swimming pools and a range of activities.