The Executive Mayor of Capricorn District Municipality Cllr John Mpe led a pack of 30 people to hike the Wolkberg Wilderness Mountain on 12 July 2019. This was part of the tourism program existing in the district municipality. The tour was also used as part of identifying investment opportunities in the part of the area. The district and its local municipalities namely Blouberg, Molemole, Leplle-Nkumpi and Polokwane were represented by their political leadership and management from both CDM and Limpopo Tourism Agency (LTA).
Wolkberg Wilderness Mountain is one of only 3 proclaimed mountain wilderness areas at Ga-Molepo bordering Tzaneen and Sekhukhune, encompassing some 24,000 ha. It is a place where one can hike wherever you like, with no fixed trails of overnight facilities – you can camp wherever suits you at the end of the day. The elevation range starts off at around 1000m ASL (Above Sea Level) and continues up as high as 2054m ASL on Serala.
The vegetation ranges from indigenous forest through bush to alpine grasslands. This area is home to some very special species of bird, grasses and plants.
About 65 beautiful waterfalls such as Cascades have been identified in the area. Wilderness Area is situated approximately 80 km south-west of Tzaneen and South-East of Polokwane. The 2 127-m Wolkberg, part of the northern Drakensberg and Strydpoort ranges, with its great, vertical quartzite krantzes, countless kloofs, cool, deep and densely forested ravines, massive buttresses and folded and interlocking spurs, was appropriately proclaimed a wilderness area in 1977.
This beautiful scenes was experienced by Mpe and the team yesterday as they reach the always ‘cloudy mountain’ but yesterday it was sunny. It has a valuable catchment area that produces clear, silt-free water that the team tasted.
Many streams in steep ravines flow to the Mohlapitse River, a tributary of the Olifants. The entrance to this river is through a magnificent gorge flanked by perpendicular, aloe-covered cliffs.
Smaller branches of the Letaba River, the Thabina and the Letsitele, also originate in the Wolkberg. These rivers, with their sensational waterfalls and potholes in dolomitic rock below the black quartzite layer, are refreshing after a long, tough hike.
The steep, quartzitic cliffs of the Black Reef Series provide impressive landmarks. Serala Mountain is standing at 2 050 m the highest peak in the Wolkberg and in Limpopo with its three sisters, Marake (1 790 m) and Tandberg (also called the Knuckles or the Apostles), a well-known feature.
Executive Mayor Mpe en invited hikers, were called upon to exert a medium to high fitness level, and traveled for almost 5kms within the wilderness.
The indigenous high forest pockets we visited first found in deep, wet valleys host species such as the Outeniqua and real yellowwoods, wild fig, lemonwood, wild peach.
The Wolkberg is rich in birdlife; the hamerkop, bat hawk, black eagle, lilac-breasted roller, blackcollared and pied barbets, pearlbreasted swallow and crested francolin are all present.
This Wilderness remains a project that CDM together with LTA should devise a long term plan with budget to develop infrastructure like roads, accommodation, hotels’ etc. Investers are also invited to come view this area as part of investment. There are lots of opportunities in the Wolkberg Wilderness.