Mapesu Private Game Reserve
At 72 km2 (7,221 ha), the reserve is part of the Limpopo Valley Conservancy which borders Mapungubwe National Park, a UNESCO World Heritage Site. It also lies within the Greater Mapungubwe Transfrontier Conservation Area (GMTFCA), a large 5,909 km2 transnational conservation area that unites South Africa, Botswana and Zimbabwe.
The area has enormous biodiversity, mainly due to its varied habitat. Mapesu is located in the Mopane field dominated by Colophospermum mopane (commonly called the mopane tree, butterfly tree or turpentine tree) on the Beit Bridge archaeological complex. The reserve consists of undulating plains with some drainage lines and some hills (Limpopo Ridge Bushveld) in the east and south. There are numerous (artificial, some solar-powered) waterholes with abundant drinking water on the property, including one natural dam/swelling place, which was dug larger and deeper to allow some hippos to settle there later, and to create wallowing places for rhino, buffalo and elephant. There is also a river from which the reserve takes its name, the Mapedu, which flows through the site on a seasonal basis.
This area was once dedicated to cattle ranching, which led to overgrazing and the encroachment of mopane trees. However, through our various conservation efforts, we aim to return the area to its beautiful natural state. This is a long-term strategy where we do not sacrifice nature for convenience; it will take sweat, effort and a lot of time to restore this piece of Africa to its former glory and we are well on our way.
There are also 49+ mammal species that are currently in the reserve or have recently been in the reserve. In September 2016, we released a herd of elephants; in 2017, cheetahs; in 2018; sables, giraffes, buffaloes; and in 2019, with great effort, rhinos and many more species, all of which continue to make up the flora and fauna of the reserve. We have also aligned ourselves with the Endangered Wildlife Trust's Cheetah Meta Population Project, where we have reintroduced two cheetahs to the reserve and offer volunteer programmes that bring an up-close and personal experience to the world of conservation.Mapesu.com