Like much of Botswana, Limpopo-Lipadi is dominated by Mopane Forest. This important tree retains its green leaves well into winter and remains the most important food source for animals such as Eland, Elephant and Kudu. Mopane trees are also the source of plagues of mopane worms, the larvae of the emperor moth that local villagers collect, dry and eat like chips! Mopane forest changes colour slowly as it moves into the dry winter, providing several months of stunning autumn colouration at the Reserve.
Our tree species include more than 150 large baobab, white seringa, leadwood, knobthorn, rock fig, Kalahari apple-leaf, green corkwood, weeping boerbean and mopane, among others.
The towering baobab, however, leaves the greatest impression. These giants are scattered across the reserve – each with unique characteristics that help us identify them.
The largest plains area nestled under the Lipadi Hill offers a chance to observe large herds of impala, wildebeest, giraffe and zebra from a distance. This also allows the opportunity to camp under one of the two mighty baobabs found in this area. (Did you know? The word ‘Phiri’ means “hyena”.)
The Eco-volunteer project allows young people to experience the African bush and contribute to conservation. Our 10-bedded farmhouse can accommodate students after a full and active day in the field.
This recycled container is half buried and surrounded on three sides by the waterhole, offering the opportunity for ground-level pictures of birds landing, leopards drinking and elephants splashing in the water. All of this while comfortably seated below water level. We are incredibly proud of this development.
Lipadi Hill, after which Limpopo-Lipadi was named, is a central feature of the Reserve. The hill towers over the eastern side of the Reserve provide breath-taking views of sunsets, the Phiri Plains, as well as a chance to come across the elusive elephant shrew, rock hyrax or the opportunity to spot elephants from on high.
Ensuring the health of the Reserve depends in large on ensuring the health of the surrounding trees and vegetation, which in turn depends on the river. The Limpopo, one of the most spectacular rivers in Southern Africa, is in pristine condition.
Some of the Limpopo’s tributaries running through the Reserve are perennial and are thus abundantly lined with trees. Subterranean dykes trap underground water that preserves trees and other vegetation and provides water for boreholes and waterholes. With all of this in place, we have permanent water to sustain our varied biodiversity.
The seven secluded lodges that make up River Camp are all isolated and private. With hammocks slung between the trees you can laze in the beautiful African sun and listen to the echoes of a fish eagle’s call and hippos snorting and splashing close by. Crocodiles bask on the rocks and sandbanks along the river and the bird life is spectacular. Occasional larger visitors are seen as bushbuck cross to the islands, impala shelter in the shade and warthogs graze on the lawns. In the drier winter months, you may get lucky enough to see elephants occasionally passing along the river banks.
Each lodge consists of two/three bedrooms, lounge, dining area, fully equipped kitchen, pantry, utility room and a fire and braai/barbeque area overlooking the Limpopo River. The bedrooms have en-suite facilities, with a glass-enclosed shower as well as an outside shower. All bedrooms have fans and air conditioning. There is a central area in River Camp which contains a small pool with sun loungers, several braai spots and a boma flanked by a bar area on one side and a dining and seating area on the other. Other facilities include a kitchen, catering facilities, ice-maker and restroom.
“My name is Bugs and I’ve had an interest in wildlife and conservation my whole life. I’ve been fortunate enough to have owned a game farm in South Africa but sold it to become part of the Limpopo-Lipadi family.”
The Reserve ticks many boxes for me. It gives me great pleasure when I visit and I have come to enjoy the company of other like-minded co-owners at the passionate fireside talks. I am a firm believer that the most efficient way to conserve wildlife in Africa is through ownership of both land and wildlife. Through my involvement at Limpopo-Lipadi, I feel I am contributing to a conservation project that provides for many endangered animals, plants and birds.
The Reserve is food for the soul, and I can feel my heartbeat slow down every time I visit. This is why I try to visit as often as possible and often flick through photos to remember the good times. Every visit is unique and a new adventure.
“My name is Claudio, from Rome, Italy. It’s been almost 10 years since I’ve joined Limpopo-Lipadi, and the investment has definitely been worth it.”
The passion I have for Southern Africa’s wilderness drew me to Limpopo-Lipadi instantly. I read about having “my place in Africa”, sharing with like-minded shareholders with a passion for conservation and the commitment to protect and enhance the potential of the Reserve.
I manage to visit the Reserve three to four times a year. As soon as I set foot on the red soil, I get that feeling… The thin air, the light, the scents, the friendly staff members and wonderful guides. It’s all pleasantly familiar and reassuring… I’m home.
“It’s been nine years since my friend Ingrid and I became shareholders at Limpopo-Lipadi. Ever since Henneke (Karoly’s mum) took us to South Africa we fell in love with the African bush. We decided to take the plunge and go for it! You only live once, right?”
We have been visiting at least twice a year ever since, which is quite a challenge some years as we both have families with young children, who by the way, love to tag along :-).
Twice a year was not enough to quench Ingrid’s African thirst, so she and her family moved from The Netherlands to the Eastern Cape last year, to start a gorgeous B&B there.
Visiting Limpopo-Lipadi brings me both peace and excitement. Peace, when I wake up before my alarm clock and I indulge myself in a private bush concert. Excitement, when we go on a game drive and a sighting becomes an interaction. Lots of laughs with so many great people from around the world. The fact that we share this beautiful piece of earth, gives us a special connection that is difficult to put into words.
“It was my dream to be a part of a conservation project like Limpopo-Lipadi in order to contribute to wildlife and habitat conservation. Limpopo-Lipadi was the right opportunity in the perfect country for this type of investment.”
Born and bred in South Africa, I have been very lucky to spend much of my childhood in wilderness areas across Southern Africa. I have been involved with Limpopo-Lipadi since its early stages and it has been amazing to see the area rejuvenate and improve – particularly with wildlife sightings.
I visit the Reserve whenever I can, which luckily is fairly often. Even though I get to regularly experience some of the top wildlife destinations in Africa, Limpopo-Lipadi is unique and a true home away from home. There’s something very satisfying in looking out over a wilderness area, knowing that you are playing a part in preserving such a magnificent place.
“We are from New South Wales, Australia and Limpopo-Lipadi is a rare and wonderful experience for us. We discovered Limpopo-Lipadi while on an African safari about 6 years ago and the rest is history.”
Visiting the Reserve is always a high priority. There is something mystical that draws us there. The peace perhaps as we gaze out over the river with the chatter of those pesky monkeys and the call of the birds ringing in our ears. The thrill of what we will see on a drive gets us up each morning, but an afternoon snooze is equally compelling. As is meeting up with mates and sharing a drink with friends at sundowners.
Peter’s main role with Limpopo-Lipadi has been as a member of the Game Reserve Council. He takes great satisfaction in this role as it was always our intention to participate and be of help to the Reserve.
“Some of my fondest memories include jogging with my wife through the Reserve (something that is probably not to be recommended – this was in pre-lion days); fishing with Actor at Dan’s picnic spot with two huge crocks sunning themselves on a large rock just a little upstream; climbing Lipadi Hill at daybreak, bumping into Manorem, Thelma and Baby Banda on foot on the way back to the vehicle; having breakfast by the river watching a croc eat fish.”
I am from the US and my house (farm) is in Millbrook, New York which is about two hours north of New York City. I am married to a Brazilian from Rio de Janeiro and we have two adult children, both boys.
I was drawn to Limpopo-Lipadi when I was putting together a group of people to join me in acquiring a small reserve in Southern Africa and happened to see an advertisement for Limpopo-Lipadi in Africa Geographic. This provided me the opportunity to own a piece of a Reserve without having the cost and work associated with trying to do it myself. I became a shareholder in 2007.
What I look forward to most when visiting the Reserve is being able to control our own schedule. Also, since I have been a shareholder for over 10 years, and have been on the Board twice, I know many of the other shareholders and staff. As such, visiting the Reserve is like a reunion with old friends who are like-minded in sharing a passion for the bush and enjoying low human density. The fact that there are usually only 1-2 other vehicles out at any time and most, if not at all, are occupied by people and guides that I know is very unique experience compared to the commercial reserve experience.
The majority of our staff complement, consisting of more than 70 hard working individuals, come from local villages and receive in-house training at the Reserve to create a superior shareholder experience. In the long run, we are playing our part in the development of tourism in the Tuli Block, fostering the emergence of a range of hospitality skills amongst the local population.
Both new to Limpopo-Lipadi, but not new to hospitality, we each bring our own expertise to our Reserve,” says Linky (right), Lodge Manager, who joined us at the beginning of October 2018. Grace (left), Lodge Operations, joined us on 1 November 2018. Linky has had a career in guest relations and lodge relief management in the Delta and now brings her experience to Limpopo-Lipadi.
“I look forward to surprising the co-owners and guests with ‘guest delights’. These are nice surprises, like setting up brunch in the bush or drinks for sundowners at a beautiful spot.”
Grace has worked in customer services and as front of house management in North- and Central Botswana. “At Limpopo-Lipadi I am responsible for organising the logistics of our lodges, from shopping to inventory and everything that crosses my path.”
Linky: “What surprises us is how the staff really treat each other like brothers and sisters. Working at Limpopo-Lipadi is unique as our guests are not one-time visitors but co-owners of the Reserve. So, instead of bringing a wow-experience for just a couple of days, we strive to really get to know our shareholders and their preferences in order to continually delight them. Our responsibilities include managing the lodges, housekeeping staff, chefs and groundsman.”
I have been at Limpopo-Lipadi for over 10 years. My career started as a groundsman and I steadily worked my way up to become responsible for the bush dinners, camp-out set-ups as well as being the resident barman.
All of this was made possible through the in-house training I received. Keep an eye out for me at the Reserve and be sure to ask for my signature gin & tonic, a crisp beer or anything else to quench your thirst. I am proud that I have been given the opportunity to grow in my skills and my desire is to continue my growth in the hospitality industry.
I have been a guide for more than 35 years and my passion for the bush still remains strong. I still learn every day from both nature and the people I meet. Before I came to Limpopo-Lipadi in February 2016, I worked in Chobe National park in the Okavango Delta.
What I really appreciate about Limpopo-Lipadi is that our guests are mostly co-owners of the Reserve and return on a regular basis. My relationship with the shareholders is always evolving as I learn what they like to do and see. It’s important for me to understand their needs and people enjoy the fact that I like to chat and crack a joke or two. It brings me much joy when I have the opportunity to share my knowledge of the bush with people. I am proud of my work.
I come from the village of Tsetsebwje, which is close to the Reserve. I have three children that are 15, 5 and 18-months old and I am very proud of them. Since I started working as a housekeeper at Limpopo-Lipadi in March 2009, I have enjoyed the friendship and fun that myself and my colleagues share.
Through the in-house training programme I was proud to be promoted to Head of Housekeeping. Whenever I have free time on my hands, I love to work as a seamstress. People come to me for uniforms, placemats, tablecloths and more.
Although I’ve only been at Limpopo-Lipadi since August 2017, I feel ‘at home’ here. I come from the neighbouring village of Tsetsebwje and received further education in Finance in Selebi-Phikwe and Francistown. I am based at the Reserve and am responsible for the reservations and billing.
I have recently completed an online Lodge Management course through Bush Campus. Whilst Lodge Management is on leave, I take over the relief lodge manager position. I have a son who is 3,5 years old and he is my pride and joy! I am an ambitious woman and have started to learn and execute IT-related work. I aspire to be successful in the industry I work in.
It’s been 8 years since I started working as a guide at Limpopo-Lipadi…Time flies! I am married to Kedi who is one of the chefs here. We have two boys and two girls. I am proud to work as a guide and love working with my colleagues and the management. Shareholders enjoy going on drives with me as I know a lot about wildlife, birdlife and the identification of plants.
I have worked at Limpopo-Lipadi since April 2009 and I come from a village called Moletemane, not far from here. I have 5 children who I’m very proud of. A typical day of work for me starts with passing by all the lodges to clean the fire-pits in the boma as well as collect the garbage.
During the day I gather firewood and in the evening I make sure all the fires are burning by the time our guests come back from their evening drive. In the winter I make a fire inside the lodges so that our guests can stay cosy and warm around the fireplace. I also work as a gardener as there is always enough work to be done.
When people ask me: ‘Lucky, why are you always smiling?’, I answer that life at Limpopo-Lipadi is good. It is safe and beautiful here. I get to drive around in nature all day, meet wonderful people and have great colleagues. What’s not to like?!
I have worked at Limpopo-Lipadi for about 10 years and before that I worked elsewhere as a guide in the Tuli Block. I love that I have the opportunity to get to know the shareholders and understand what they enjoy most. I am known to have eyes everywhere and as people always notice how I am able to spot even the best-hidden tracks and animals.
I am incredibly proud of my job! Whether it be fixing the electricity, doing small building projects or repairing the plumbing, I love it all. I have been at Limpopo-Lipadi since September 2009 and I still enjoy working here every day.
October to December are the hottest months of the year with day temperatures averaging between 35°C and 40°C. October brings about intense heat and in November the first rains from the odd thunderstorm are quickly absorbed by the parched lands. You can expect moderate late afternoon temperatures with the possibility of a cooling thunderstorm in the early evenings. December is the most vibrant month as rains are a regular occurrence with breath-taking thunderstorms feeding the mighty Limpopo River.
The intense heat of the summer months begins to subside in March, with summer rains reducing during this time. Game viewing can be difficult during this period as trees and bushes are in full bloom, the grass is thick and animals can drink water from the thousands of puddles across the Reserve. At this time, however, the migratory birds arrive in full force and the green lush bush is a beautiful sight. The animals are happy and well fed, many with young on their tails. There is still a lot to appreciate in this season.
April and May are truly beautiful months in the bushveld. The temperatures range between 25°C and 30°C and the weather is pleasant, with the surroundings still lush and green. From April through to October you can expect excellent game and predator sightings as the bush begins to thin out and animals are drawn to the waterholes on a daily basis. Elephants will drink multiple times a day at various waterholes and the plains are teeming with game such as impala and wildebeest.
Winter in this region runs from June to August and brings with it cold nights, crisp mornings and minimum temperatures of around 8°C. The days are however balmy with temperatures of ranging up to 27°C. Be prepared for a sand coloured safari as Botswana’s most abundant asset comes to the fore. Some of the animals who birth their young during winter include the endangered African wild dogs and the largest antelope, the Eland.
The Tuli Block is considered a “low-risk malaria area”, and no cases of malaria have been reported in a couple of years. Although Botswana has no vaccine requirements, we at Limpopo-Lipadi advise our guests to consult a travel clinic, as they are best equipped to give sound advice for travels in Southern Africa.
From the inception of the Reserve, leopards, hyenas and cheetahs were present and these special predators have made for incredible sightings. The rare caracal, civet and aardwolf are also present for the lucky safari-goer. Soon after the Reserve fences were complete a group of African Wild Dogs were rescued from farmlands in the west of Botswana and brought to Limpopo-Lipadi for release. The pack of incredibly rare African canines soon became our emblem and represents our commitment to conservation. We recently added lions to the ensemble and our small pride is complemented by some free roaming males to increase chances of spotting a lion on any given day.
A recent game count revealed healthy populations of giraffe, impala, kudu, oryx, zebra, wildebeest, hartebeest, eland, bushbuck, waterbuck, klipspringer and other antelope species.
We have plenty of smaller species like aardvark, aardwolf, jackal, caracal, African wild cat, genet, mongoose, baboon, vervet monkey, civet and honey badger. Many of these roam around the River Camp.
The Tuli Block is famed for its elephants and Limpopo-Lipadi is lucky enough to have a breeding herd with a good number of bulls roaming the Reserve freely. Meet the giants of Limpopo-Lipadi.
In the last ten years Limpopo-Lipadi has become home to a number of rhinos who have been thriving in our Reserve, with a number of calves being born over the years. As poaching is on the increase in Botswana, we are putting in every effort to protect these beautiful creatures with a strong anti-poaching unit, as well as the dehorning of our rhinos so there are no horns to be poached. Our sole purpose is that our animals are kept safe and happy, so we will be able to receive rhino cows in this safe environment and breed them as part of our conservation effort and their existence in Botswana.
Meeting our rhinos is one of the specialities we offer at the Reserve. This can be done as part of early morning rhino tracking with the anti-poaching unit, creating the opportunity to get up close to our magnificent rhinos.
Limpopo-Lipadi is a fantastic place for bird watching with nearly 400 species calling the Reserve home. A few outstanding species can be sighted, such as the Southern Ground Hornbill and Black Eagle.
In addition to the different birds of prey, there are numerous arboreal and ground-dwelling species due to the wide variety of habitats. Parts of the Reserve are made up of old cultivated lands that form plains with limited trees, attracting species such as the Secretary Bird and the Kori Bustard. In the summer months you can expect to see the migratory birds that enjoy the plentiful food sources at Limpopo-Lipadi. The life-giving Limpopo River also attracts many water birds.