The Olifants River Game Reserve is registered as a Share Block under the Share Block Control Act, and since October 1993, has enjoyed proclaimed Nature Reserve status. In 2005 the existing fence system between the reserve and its neighbours was dismantled and the reserve is now an ecologically integral part of the Greater Kruger National Park/Great Limpopo Transfrontier Park.
As a Share Block company, the reserve is jointly owned by its members, the shareholders, who have exclusive rights to occupy one of the 85 recreational units on the property. These lodges, positioned along the river frontage and on the hilltops, each conform to a common set of aesthetic standards, ensuring they blend in with the surrounding landscape. Our average unit occupancy is 10 units.
The reserve is a private property. No commercial tourism activity is permitted and with the exception of the management teams and staff, there are no permanent residents on the property.
Ecosystem & Climate
ORGR is situated in a semi-arid ecosystem, characterised mainly by wooded grassland. Restricted rainfall ranges between 300mm – 600mm per annum and temperatures range from the low 20C in Winter, up to a highs of over 40C in the Summer months.
Across more than 6500 hectares and 230km of roads, the reserve comprises a wide variety of habitat types, supporting a myriad diversity of associated wildlife species. Here in abundance, the Big-5 are found along with more rare species such as the African Wild Dog and the shy Sharpe’s Grysbok. A paradise for keen birders, the reserve is home to a prolific number of species ranging from the highly visible Ostrich to the elusive Pel’s Fishing Owl, with almost 400 other species having been sighted.
Facilities & Services
Our range of convenient facilities and services include:
- An oasis-like communal clubhouse featuring a large swimming-pool, viewing deck over the river, big screen TV, free WIFI and self-catering facilities;
- A fully maintained bush airstrip, numerous scenic waterholes, several hides and some idyllic picnic sites.
- A well-equipped office admin centre where a friendly, professional management team is on hand to take care of all our members’ needs through a comprehensive suite of services. This includes unit cleaning, laundry, shopping collection and delivery, transfers to town/airport, emergency call outs (24/7), the supply of fuel (petrol & diesel) and management of third-party suppliers in respect of vehicle or unit maintenance requirements.
Members and their guests are free to traverse the vast property in their own game viewing vehicles at any time of day or night, adhering to a clear code of conduct to ensure the best possible experience for all. Vehicles are equipped with 2-way radios to ensure sightings can be called in and shared timeously with others. Off-road traversing is not permitted.
In terms of a reciprocal traversing agreement ORGR members also have access to the beautiful Olifants North reserve directly across the river, extending the accessible road network by an additional 90km. Olifants North offers a slightly more rugged landscape with some exceptional viewpoints and an equally rich variety of game and birdlife.
The concept of community outreach within our region is fuelled by a two-way philosophy, with each being equally important. The humanitarian aspect of social upliftment is the primary motivating force. This dovetails with the vital need to generate goodwill and trust from the surrounding communities, which will be instrumental in counteracting crime levels including poaching of all animals. The rural communities surrounding the Greater Kruger are some of the poorest in the country. With this in mind the Balule Outreach Trust was established in February 2012 to raise funds from landowners within the ORGR (and its neighbours) and engage in community development programs in the Hoedspruit and Phalaborwa communities of Limpopo Province.
The Trust is registered as a non-profit organisation with the Dept. of Social Development and with the South African Revenue Service as a Public Benefit Organisation and since its inception has made significantly tangible difference to the lives of numerous communities. Initiatives include educational bursaries, feeding schemes, building and equipping classrooms and eco-friendly toilets, in support of the Sigagule community (managed by the South African Medical Expeditions (SAME) Foundation. If you would like to learn more about our Outreach initiatives, please follow the link below. If you would care to donate, please click on the Donations form. All donations are subject to tax relief in terms of Section 18A of the Income Tax Act.
We aim to be a leader in conservation management practices within the region. The Olifants members are extremely cognisant of their responsibilities as custodians of a protected wilderness area, and the company has a fully developed Land Management Action Plan.
Believing that we must at all times “touch the earth lightly” in all we do, conservation management on the reserve extends to various areas, including erosion control, road management, water management, alien plant control, land rehabilitation, tree protection, appropriate veterinary interventions and fire control.
The Olifants reserve is prime rhino territory and home to populations of both white rhino and their more endangered black counterparts. Having suffered steady losses over many years at the hands of sophisticated poaching syndicates, we have in more recent times, significantly increased our anti-poaching resources.
The reserve now has a professionally equipped and well-armed full time Anti Poaching Unit (APU) headed by a dedicated Security Manager. The APU members are equipped with AK47s and specialist thermal night viewing equipment, supported by camera traps for early detection of intruders as well as a K9 unit for rapid response. Coupled with the dehorning initiative undertaken in Balule in 2019 rhino, casualties have been almost completely eliminated.