Medike Nature Reserve

Are you looking for the perfect 4×4* mountain wilderness escape, managed primarily for the conservation of habitats and species such as Leopard and Brown Hyaena? The Soutpansberg Mountains in the Limpopo Province, South Africa’s northernmost mountain range, are full of magic and mystery and alive with thousands of species of insects, plants, reptiles, and amphibians, many of which are endemic (found nowhere else on earth). The Endangered Wildlife Trust (EWT) identified the urgent need to protect this region, the threatened species living in the extraordinary variety of habitat types, its crucial role in water production, and its value as a centre of cultural heritage for many communities.

The EWT has embarked on a long-term journey to realise our dream of establishing the formally protected Soutpansberg Protected Area (SPA), spanning more than 27,000 hectares. This area includes the EWT’s properties, Medike East and West Nature Reserve (2,733 hectares).

Medike Nature Reserve is home to several iconic, rare, endemic, and Endangered species. The reserve boasts 58 butterfly, 15 scorpion, 19 amphibian, 61 reptile, 59 mammal, 229 bird, and 237 tree species. Among these are the Vulnerable Leopard, the Near Threatened Brown Hyaena, Natal Red Duiker, and the Endangered Mountain Reedbuck.

* Please note  that Medike is only accessible  by high clearance or 4×4 vehicles

The Soutpansberg is recognised as:
  • a Priority Conservation Area by the South African National Biodiversity Institute (SANBI)
  • a Critical Biodiversity Area by the Limpopo provincial conservation authority
  • a Strategic Groundwater Source Area
  • part of South Africa’s National Protected Area Expansion Strategy (NPAES)
  • part of the UNESCO Vhembe Biosphere Reserve proclaimed in 2009
  • an Important Bird and Biodiversity Area (IBA).
Soutpansberg Protected Area

Rates (excludes additional activity costs specified below)

Day visitors: R100 adults, R50 children under 12 (these fees go directly towards the development and maintenance of trails on the reserve, which double up as anti-poaching patrol routes).

Hiking

Medike offers an extensive network of self-guided hiking trails, either meandering through the trees or climbing up onto the cliff edges for spectacular views over the Sand River Gorge. The reserve is currently open for day hikes.

   

Activities and accommodation

Birding

The Soutpansberg is a birding paradise, with 229 bird species recorded on Medike. Birders have the opportunity to see a range of different birds, such as the majestic Verreaux’s Eagles soaring over the cliffs, the various storks wading in the river, the Narina Trogon in the forests, and the nearby colony of Cape Vultures. Birders are also welcome to enjoy our birdlife as day visitors on the reserve.

Using the extensive network of trails on the reserve and surrounding properties, the EWT and neighbouring landowners are working together to develop three trail routes: 42 km, 21 km, and 10 km. Stay tuned and we will let you know when these breathtaking trails are up and running (no pun intended)!

Ranger experience

Spend a day out on patrol with Medike’s experienced Field Rangers and Researchers and experience what it is
like to be at the forefront of biodiversity conservation. Learn how to look out for snares and other signs of
poaching, service camera traps and learn how to image tag, while enjoying a day out in the bush.

Dependent on reserve management schedule and advanced booking is preferable. Only available to overnight visitors.

Rates: R240 pp (fees go directly towards conservation of habitat)

Paid Volunteer Research

Durham University’s Primate and Predator Project, Durham University is now based and operating from Medike Nature Reserve!

Should volunteers wish to partake in long term primate and predator research to contact primate.predator@durham.ac.uk  Unfortunately, the Primate and Predator Project do not accept assistants for less than three months.

Should you wish you wish to partake in research for a couple of days, please see below.

Research experience

Become a scientist for the day by monitoring the biodiversity on the reserve. Join an EWT researcher on a hike to download pictures from camera traps around the reserve. Identify animals captured on the photos and see if you can find a leopard!

Dependent on reserve management schedule and advanced booking is preferable.

Rates: R240 pp  (fees go directly towards conservation of habitat)

Accommodation

  • Camping: The new and improved campsite makes an excellent base for overnight visitors wanting to explore
    the mountain. The site can accommodate a maximum of 4 groups of campers with rustic, basic amenities
    available:
     Two open-air toilets
     Two open-air showers (gas heated shower)
     No wifi or electricity at the campsite
     Running water
     Must be self sufficient

Rates: R150 per person per night. Children under 12 years of age, R75 per night. Kids under 6 years of
age stay for free.

BOOKINGS: For more information and reservations, please contact: bookings@ewt.org.za

The Log Cabin: Enjoy an extended stay on Medike in our charming, rustic Log Cabin, situated near the Medike reception at the bottom of the gorge, within a stone’s throw of the Sand River. The cabin sleeps two to four people and is self-catering.

  • Open plan kitchen, lounge area
  • Wooden deck (not suitable for children under five years)
  • Solar power
  • Fridge with freezer compartment
  • Gas stove
  • Bathroom with gas-heated shower
  • Bedroom upstairs in an open loft area with double bed (bedding & towels provided)
  • Two single beds can be added in the lounge area on request
  • WiFi only (free). No cell phone reception.
  • Dishwashing liquid
  • Braai area, wood can be purchased at R20 a bag (Please do not bring any wood onto the property, due to the risk of Shot Hole Borer Beetle infestations of our indigenous trees).

Rates: R300 pppn + R50 pppn conservation fee; Children under 12 at R175 pppn

PLEASE NOTE – The Log Cabin will not be available until January 2022