The Balule Conservation Project is located in the beautiful Balule Nature Reserve
, in Limpopo province, South Africa. The reserve is part of the Greater Kruger Park
and is about 5 hours drive, or a 1-hour flight, from Johannesburg.
The Greater park was formed in the early 1990’s by the removal of the fences that bordered the world famous Kruger National Park and many of the private game reserves that surround the National Park. This created a massive area (the national park alone is over 2 million hectares – about the size of Wales) for wildlife conservation, allowing free movement for animals throughout the region, and the reassertion of many traditional migration patterns.
As an example of the diversity inherent in the region there are 336 species of trees, 49 of fish, 34 of amphibians, 114 of reptiles, 507 of birds, 147 of mammals, including ‘The Big 5’ (Lion, Buffalo, Black Rhino, Elephant, Leopard), plus Hippo, Giraffe, Zebra, Crocodile and many species of antelope.
However the area offers more than wildlife, there are San bushman rock paintings, major archaeological sites at Masorini and Thulamela, there is evidence that Homo Erectus was found in the area and all in all there are over 250 known cultural heritage sites.
In a recent exciting development, the Kruger National Park has joined with the Parcque Nacional de Limpopo in Mozambique and Zimbabwe’s Gonarezhou National Park to form the Greater Limpopo Transfrontier Park (also known as the peace park), with a total area of 3.3m hectares. This innovation has allowed increased freedom of movement as well as the ability to relocate unsustainable herds, in particular to restock the war ravaged Mozambiqian park.