Lapalala Wilderness Reserve : A Hidden Gem

Located in the heart of South Africa’s Waterberg Biosphere in the Limpopo Province, the Lapalala Wilderness Reserve is a little visited gem. A haven for wildlife enthusiasts, adventure seekers, and nature lovers alike, Lucinda has just returned from spending a couple of nights with Lepogo Lodges. Spanning over 48,000 hectares, this pristine wilderness offers a unique blend of breathtaking landscapes, diverse and plentiful wildlife, and luxurious accommodation.

Lapalala Wilderness Reserve A Sanctuary for Wildlife

Lapalala Wilderness Reserve is home to a rich tapestry of wildlife, boasting an impressive array of species. Visitors can expect to encounter iconic African species such as lion, leopard, cheetah. rhinoceros, elephant, buffalo, giraffe and wild dog as well as an abundance of plains species such as warthog, baboons, and different antelope species including sable and roan. The reserve is particularly renowned for its efforts in rhino conservation, offering guests the rare opportunity to see both black and white rhinos in their natural habitat.

Birdwatchers will also be in their element, with over 300 bird species recorded in the area. From the majestic African fish eagle to the vibrant lilac-breasted roller, the avian life on the reserve is nothing short of spectacular.

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Lions, Lapalala Wilderness Reserve

Activities: Adventures in the Wild

Lapalala Wilderness Reserve offers a wide range of activities that allow visitors to fully immerse themselves in the beauty and tranquillity of the African bush. Here are some of the highlights.

1. Game Drives

In the company of expert guides, embark on thrilling game drives. The guides have an intimate knowledge of the reserve and its inhabitants bringing the area to life and offering the chance to see a huge amount of the wildlife that makes this area their home. Morning and evening drives offer the best chances to witness wildlife in action, from predators on the hunt to herds of elephants grazing peacefully.

Lapalala Wilderness Reserve
Game drive from Lepogo Lodges

2. Walking Safaris

For a more immersive experience, join a walking safari and explore the wilderness on foot. Accompanied by knowledgeable guides, you’ll learn about the intricate ecosystems of the reserve and gain a deeper understanding of its flora and fauna, seeing things which are often overlooked when on a vehicle.

3. Bird Watching

With its diverse habitats, Lapalala is a paradise for birdwatchers. With the diverse habitats in the reserve over 300 species of birds have been recorded in the area. Spend your days spotting a variety of bird species, each more captivating than the last.

4. River Cruises and Canoeing

For a totally different perspective of the reserve and its inhabitants, take a boat trip on the Palala River, which meanders through the reserve. This serene activity offers the chance to take in the sights and sounds of the surrounding bush as you glide along the water.

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5. Conservation Experiences

Lapalala Wilderness Reserve is committed to conservation and education; it was founded originally by two conservationists who’s shared dream was returning farmland to its natural state. Buying farms, Dale Parker and Clive Walker, started the reserve in 1991, and more adjoining land has been purchased since, resulting in the wilderness reserve today. Guests can participate in conservation activities, such as rhino monitoring and vet experiences, learning about the vital efforts being made to protect the reserve’s wildlife.

6. Bushman Paintings

This ancient land has a rich history, and in the company of knowledgeable guides, ancient rock art sites can be visited. These pictures by the San Bushmen, one of the oldest peoples in the world, tell the story of the past inhabitants of this land and the creatures they depicted.

7. Astronomy and star gazing  

With a powerful telescope. marvel at the starry African night sky. An expert guide will bring the stars and constellations to life for you unravelling the mysteries. For a more immersive experience, spend one night under the stars, sleeping out under a mosquito net this really is an experience like no other.

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A night under the stars at Noka Camp

Luxurious Accommodation

Lapalala Wilderness Reserve has one of the lowest number of visitors to a wildlife tourism area in southern Africa. There are just two lodges on the reserve for tourism, both part of Lepogo Lodges; Noka Camp and the exclusive use Melote House. Both offer exceptional comfort and style, ensuring a memorable stay.

Noka Camp

Perched on the edge of a cliff overlooking the Palala River, Noka Camp offers stunning panoramic views and an intimate connection with nature. The camp has an extremely light environmental footprint with only 1% of the lodge touching the ground, solar power throughout, including a solar walkway. The lodge has just five exclusive villas, including one two-bedroom family suite, and each with a private heated plunge pool, outdoor shower, and floor-to-ceiling windows that allow guests to fully appreciate the surrounding wilderness. The main lodge includes a dining area, bar, and gym with panoramic views to enjoy during your work-out.

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The supremely comfortable Noka Camp, Lapalala Wilderness Reserve

Melote House

Melote House is a stunningly beautiful, exclusive use, property, offering panoramic views over the plains with a watering hole in front of the house. With a focus on supreme comfort, the house can sleep up to 12 in the main house with a separate two-bedroom cottage available for larger parties. This is adjacent to the main house. The house features three swimming pools, private spa, wine cellar and gym. The  expansive indoor and outdoor living spaces offer comfortable areas to relax as a group and are ideal for relaxing with views over the surrounding wilderness.

Lapalala Wilderness Reserve, A Gem in South Africa
Melote House, a stunning retreat for families and groups


Lapalala Wilderness Reserve is a hidden gem that offers a unique and enriching safari experience. With its diverse wildlife, array of activities, and luxurious accommodations at Noka Camp and Melote House, it’s the perfect destination for those seeking adventure, relaxation, and a deep connection with nature. Whether you’re a seasoned safari-goer or a first-time visitor, Lapalala promises an unforgettable journey into the heart of the African wilderness.

If you would like to discuss a holiday to stay at Lapalala Wilderness Reserve, or other areas, please do get in touch to discuss your wishes. We would be delighted to help you.