Balule Nature Reserve

PUBLISHED 23 NOV 2017   

Balule Nature Reserve is one the country’s premier wildlife regions, open to the Greater Kruger Park and with an innovative  approach to conservation management, research and development.

Balule is unique in that one can purchase and own property in this Big-5 game reserve open the Kruger national park, and thus contributing to wildlife conservation, while  enjoying the unique lifestyle in the African bush.  Property investment in the Greater Kruger Park is a very solid investment. An example: in 2003 a 21 hectare piece of land in Olifants West would have cost R600,000, and now more than 10 years later the selling price is more than R2,200,000. The reason for the increase in investment value is largely due to rarity and high demand for people wanting to own a part of the Kruger Park.

Properties in the Greater Kruger Park are rare and subdivision is not allowed. This means no further development will occur, yet human population continues to grow. In most parts of the world one is spoilt for choice with regards to a beach house, or mountain chalet. But where in the world can you enjoy the largest mammals and predators of Africa? And still be relatively close to good road networks and airports.  Hoedspruit  the nearest town which is a unique tourist town and becoming the number 1 tourism place in the Lowveld.

Allow Century21 Wildlife Properties to introduce the Balule Private Nature Reserve, its history and let the real estate professionals guide with properties we have for sale in Balule.


General information on Balule Nature Reserve.

Balule Nature Reserves consists out the following game reserves:

  • Olifants West Game Reserve
  • York Nature Reserve
  • Parsons Game Reserve
  • Grietjie Nature Reserve
  • Olifants North
  • Olifants South


People use the terms Nature Reserve or Game Reserve,  but factually  there is little or no difference. All these reserves  have the same animals and considered to be “Big 5”. Each reserve has got their own entrance gates, security personnel, roads, constitution and protocols. What makes them unique is that they are all member of the Balule Nature Reserve (BNR). Balule is part of one of the largest eco systems in the world: The Greater Kruger Park which is proclaimed by the UNESCEO as part of the Kruger to Canyons Biosphere Reserve.

All the land in Balule is privately owned and connected to the Greater Kruger National Park by neighbouring with Klaseri Private nature on it’s eastern side.



Balule Nature Reserve is situated north-east of Hoedspruit in the Limpopo province and not more than 15 km away. The perennial Olifants river meanders through the heart of Balule. The border of Balule is with Klaseri in the east and the tar R40 on the west.




Flora and Fauna

Lion, Leopard, Rhino, Buffalo and Elephant form the much sought after Big-5, but also plains game can be found such as Zebra, Wildebeest, Kudu, Nyala, Waterbuck, Impala, Giraffe, Warthog and a variety of birds (more then 400 frequents the area). Cheetah and Wild Dog do occur, and smaller mammals like Civet, Genet, Vervet Monkey, Porcupine, Bushbaby and Mongoose are often spotted.

The Olifants river has permanent residence in the form of Hippo and Crocodile, while Fisheagle prefers the higher grounds the  Baboons like the relative safety of the larger trees at the end of the day.

Balule consists of mixed savannah woodland vegetation with typical lowveld trees such as Leadwood, Knobthorn, Tamboti, Appleleaf, Bushwillow, Marula, Weaping boer bean and amongst the Olifants river the large Fig trees. Mopani can be found north-east of the Olifants River.


In Olifants West, York, Parsons and Grietjie you have full title deed. Meaning you can buy and own real estate  in the Greater Kruger Park! Sizes vary from 12-22 hectares, as well as larger farms or up to 1000ha.

Each game reserves has a committee which is nominated by the members and these committee members manage the reserves and implement rules and regulations. They also have full time staff working for the committee to help run the reserve.  Management activities include maintenance of any necessary  fences, servitude roads, wildlife managements, research, counter poaching, veld and land managements.

 Land owners however need to provide for their own water, usually via boreholes, maintenance of their house and camp  and own roads on their private piece of land.

Olifants North and South are registered shareblock companies, and they work on a basis whereby the holding company owns  the land and the shareholders get to use and enjoy the land. Each shareholder has an exclusive use right on his particular house, so that although the house is owned by the company, no other shareholder can use that particular house.

By purchasing shares within the holding company one receives the right of use of a specific unit as well as the right to traverse the land owned by the company. It is possible to own 100% of the shares in a house, in which case a house gives you exclusive usage. It is also possible to own a portion of shares and then you would have a partner who shares the house with you.



Syndication of a house occurs when a group of members (e.g. 3) own a share. By owing a share in a syndicate one is entitled to make use of the house over certain periods of the year,normally managed by a roster. The benefit of a syndicate is that all costs of maintenance for the house are shared.

Traversing is well organised and often a game-vehicle can be purchased together with shares



In the early 1990’s various landowners in the present Balule Nature Reserve came to appreciate the need to drop fences between their properties.

These properties, most of them inherited and used for game farming in the widest spectrum, were not viable as cattle farms. In the past –before the western boundary fence of the Kruger Park was erected in 1961 –  an annual migration took place between the Kruger and the private farms on the west, mainly of zebra and wildebeest.

When this fence was removed in 1993, the old migration did not re-establish itself, probably because there were no longer any surviving animals in the Kruger Park populations that had retained the migratory behaviour and, more likely, the APNR (Association of Private Nature Reserves –of which Balule is one-) was no longer an attractive habitat for wildebeest and zebra.

By removing the fences between the farms in Balule the animal gene pool was extended, overgrazing was avoided and it allowed for movement of animals over a far greater area. The very absence of fences was aesthetically pleasing to landowners and the shared animals meant that game that had never been seen in a particular area was now present.

By the end of the decade, almost all the landowners had voluntarily joined in this venture. The hunting was curtailed and the animals became less skittish. With the presence of game-vehicles bearing tourists armed only with photographic equipment, the animals became relaxed and were photographed regularly.

The two reserves to the east between Balule and the Kruger Park are Olifants Game Reserve and Klaserie Game Reserve. The fence between Kruger and Klaseri Game Reserve came down first and the Kruger authorities soon realized that this was the way to go. It was recognized that the fence on the tar road between Phalaborwa and Hoedspruit was the obvious place to have the western boundary of Kruger Park. Once all the fences were correctly equipped with high voltage capacities and as soon as the authorities were satisfied that Balule was ready for incorporation, it was a matter of months before the fences were removed between the Klaseri and Olifants Game Reserves. Balule was thus incorporated into the most famous Game Reserve in the world. An impressive 40 000 hectares were added to Kruger Park!