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Mahlathini Private Game Reserve

Valley of the Olifants, Limpopo Province

Mahlathini Private Game Reserve (MPGR) enjoys a unique position amongst private game reserves in the South African Lowveld.

It is the only wildlife sanctuary in South Africa that shares a common boundary with both the Kruger National Park and the 42000ha Letaba Ranch Game Reserve which in turn shares an unfenced border with the Kruger. Furthermore, it is conveniently close to Phalaborwa, the tourism capital of Limpopo Province.


Phalaborwa, Tourism capital of Limpopo Province

The unique position of MPGR places it at the interface of two contrasting worlds. To the south – a mere 7.5kms away - is the convenience of Phalaborwa, a town with modern amenities. To the north and east, Mahlathini Private Game Reserve transitions imperceptibly into tens of thousands of hectares of raw African bush and home to the Big 5. Investing in outright or shared ownership in MPGR allows you to enjoy the best of the bush with the best of position.

Phalaborwa is the tourism capital of Limpopo Province and home to the central entrance gate into the Kruger National Park. In fact, it is the only town in South Africa with its own gate directly into the Kruger. The town was established around the mining industry in 1958. It lies approximately 470m above sea level and enjoys a subtropical climate with warm winters and warm to hot summers. Day temperatures average 23° centigrade. Phalaborwa offers the convenience of contemporary living with a choice of restaurants, branches of most commercial banks, pharmacies and the retail outlets of major chain stores such as Woolworths, Pick and Pay, Shoprite Checkers, Game and Spar.

The name of the town is derived from the Nguni language of the Ba-Phalaborwa people and means “better than south”. An insight into the historic culture and iron age smelting technology of the Ba-Phalaborwa people can be obtained by visiting the Masorini archaeological site which is a short distance into the Kruger from Phalaborwa gate. The Masorini iron age settlement is the second most important archaeological site in the Kruger after Thulamela.

When it comes to owning real estate, position really is everything and this is what makes owning a bush lodge residence or shared ownership slot in a lodge in MPGR such an appealing proposition.

Mahlathini Lifestyle experience

Exclusive Private Game Viewing.

The 21ha stand concept of land ownership in MPGR guarantees unmatched privacy and exclusivity with regard to the land you own. In many wildlife estates maximum stand size is 1 ha or less and you are obliged to build your house within a specified radius of a predetermined peg in the ground. When you own a stand in MPGR you can determine (subject to the 50m building line exclusion zone) where on your stand you would like to position your home and from then on private game viewing moments remain just that – private. Should you wish you can do a game drive or even a mountain bike ride (with caution) within MPGR on the common access road which loops around the entire reserve. You can also come to reciprocal traversing arrangements with other landowners who may want to do the same as yourself.

MORE ABOUT Mahlathini Private Game Reserve

Easy Access to the Kruger National Park

One of the most appealing features of Mahlathini Private Game Reserve is its proximity (15 minutes) to the Phalaborwa Gate into the Kruger National Park. This makes day trips into the Kruger conveniently easy and a real pleasure. Phalaborwa Gate is located at the interface of the Central and Northern regions of the Kruger. The Mopane, Letaba, Olifants and Satara areas are all accessible allowing one to explore at least six different ecozones in the Kruger. Rivers are the lifeblood of the Kruger Park and from Phalaborwa Gate one can experience the riparian habitats of two great rivers that flow across the Kruger, namely, the Letaba River and the Olifants River

A particularly rewarding and easily accessible river to explore from Phalaborwa Gate is the Ngwenyeni which is the closest significant Kruger watercourse to Mahlathini Private Game Reserve. Parts of this watercourse has surface water in them all year round which attracts a lot of game in the dry season.


Nearby activities

From Mahlathini you can participate in the full spectrum of activities offered in the immediate area. To mention a few they include:

Activities offered by South African National Parks such as open vehicle day and night drives, 4X4 trails, bush braais, guided walking and mountain bike trails and sleepovers at the Sable Dam Hide. In 2009 a number of two track low maintenance bush trails were opened in the Phalaborwa area of the Kruger for use with high clearance vehicles such as SUV’s. Driving these bush tracks makes traversing the Kruger in this area feel like being in your own private game reserve because you hardly see other vehicles while using them.

Activities offered by private operators such as cruises on the Olifants River.


Landscape and vegetation

The landscape of Mahlathini Private Game Reserve is characterized by a series of low rolling hills and shallow valleys cut by seasonal stream beds draining to larger watercourses that eventually flow into the Letaba River. An impressive feature of the landscape in this part of the world is the abundance of magnificent tall termite mounds.

The dominant overlying vegetation in the reserve is Mopane-Bushwillow woodland. This eco-zone reflects seasonal changes more dramatically than any other veld type in the Kruger lowveld. Summer rains trigger the first flush of new leaves transforming a parched, leafless and grey dominated terrain into a lush green thicket. As summer merges into autumn and early winter, the veld transitions through a palette of greens, yellows and blazing oranges until the harsh dry season takes hold once again. Closely correlated with these dramatic seasonal changes are the life cycles of insects, reptiles, amphibians, birds and mammals.

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Easy Access to the East African Coast

Mahlathini Private Game Reserve is the ideal springboard for adventure trips to the East African coastline via the Giriyondo border post which is 92 km from Phalaborwa Gate and 42km north of Letaba Camp. The Giriyondo Border Post between the Kruger National Park and the Limpopo National Park has added a whole new dimension to African adventure travel between South Africa and Mozambique. Once across the border the distance to the Massingir exit Gate of Limpopo National Park is 70km (about 2 hours travel). From there it’s about 216km via Chokwe to the town of Macia on the EN1. From Macia one can go directly to the resort town of Bilene (32km) or head north up to Xai-Xai (55km).



Set on 21ha of virgin African bush, Shikumbu Lodge is the only private residence in Mahlathini that offers a shared ownership investment opportunity.



Mahlathini Private Game Reserve