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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 recently purchased 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).
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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 is organising our first Soutpansberg Trail Running event. From a 5 km fun-run to a 50 km ultra-marathon, and more, these events will be sure to attract runners from all different walks of life.

Mountain biking

Bring your mountain bike and explore using the existing rugged dirt roads throughout the reserve. Specific mountain bike trails have not yet been established

Ranger experience

Spend a day out on patrol with Medike’s experienced Anti-poaching Unit Rangers and experience what it is like to be on the forefront of biodiversity conservation. Learn how to look out for snares and other signs of poaching, 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

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)

Interested in biodiversity and conservation research? Medike offers volunteer researchers the opportunity to stay on the reserve for an extended period while undertaking their research projects using Medike as a field site or assisting in ongoing monitoring of management progress in the reserve. Volunteers are instrumental in monitoring the biodiversity on the reserve, which includes setting up an extensive camera trap grid. This was made possible through the generous support of Douglas Wilson, who supplied the cameras, and Durham University and the Predator and Primate Project for oversight and training of our rangers.

Rates: R6,000 pp/month, which includes self-catering accommodation, free WiFi, and a shopping trip to the closest town of Louis Trichardt/Makhado every two weeks. Fees go directly towards conservation of habitat.

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

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

Camping: a campsite is located conveniently close to Medike Reception and makes an excellent base for overnight visitors wanting to explore the mountain. The site can accommodate a maximum of six people, with rustic, basic amenities available:

  • One open-air toilet
  • One open-air shower (cold water only)
  • Braai area
  • Washup area

Rates: R125 pppn.

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

COMING SOON:

  • Ficus House and Hilltop House (located on Medike East) will soon be open for self-catering guests, offering a perfect mountain retreat for a large group of friends (max 16 people)
  • Hike up the mountain and enjoy a night under the stars in the rustic Mountain Top campsite.

ADDITIONAL ACTIVITIES COMING SOON:

The EWT is in the process of developing a Green Flag Accredited Multi-day Soutpansberg Hiking Trail! This trail will offer outdoor enthusiasts an incredible opportunity to explore the many facets of the mountain, traversing several properties with an experienced guide. You will have the option of slackpacking and enjoying lodge-style accommodation and game drives, or camp out under the stars, enjoy wildlife sightings, wonder at a bushman painting and much more!