The Soutpansberg area is a biodiversity hotspot and home to more tree species - over almost 350 species of flora - than any other similar ecosystem in South Africa, including Kruger. Species include yellowwoods, giant stinkwoods, forest fevers, cabbage trees, proteas and ancient tree ferns. You may not think this means much, but hear me out. Let this sink in: the Soutpansberg is home to 30% of SA tree species, 60% of its birdlife, 40% of its mammals and 30% of its reptiles, but takes up just 0,5% of the country's surface. Yoh.
After the first rains of the season we visited the Soutpansberg, a mighty towering panorama of mountain. Being so high, the area experiences higher rainfall and we were welcomed by misty scenes and lush verdant forest gorges. At first we were a bit bleak about the weather, but the moody mist-covered peaks really set the scene and was wonderful to hike in.
A high number of plant and wildlife species are found only here and nowhere else making these mountain slopes very special places.
Not to mention the unbelievable views! Above, you can see the Hamasha Gorge and beyond it, plains stretching out towards Zimbabwe.
You can spot five different primate species in the Soutpansberg; both the lesser and thick-tailed bushbabies, samango and vervet monkeys and chacma baboons. We only heard baboons braking from the dense thickets but didn't spot any of the others.
The Soutpansberg Mountains run for about 130km from east to west and are up to 60km wide. At the edge of the plateau, we ventured out to see if any vultures were riding the thermals.
There's a lot to explore and take in in this beautiful part of the world, I will be back.