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Hoedspruit

The Lowveld of Limpopo is dry and drab before the rains. A haze of ochre dust hangs over everything and the air seems too heavy to breathe. But between the seasonally thinned-out trees, you can see a huge variety and a number of animals. Lions lounge around lazily, cheetahs rest up in the shade, and antelope browse delicately on the sparse acacias. But after the first rains everything turns green, the young impala lambs wobble about on rickety, stilt-like legs and everyone rejoices with relief.

And this is every bit as true right in the town of Hoedspruit, as it is deep in the bush on the biggest game reserve. The town itself is small, with one of everything but no extras, and most of the attractions are decidedly bush-oriented. Almost all the locals you see will be wearing khaki and driving dusty 4x4s.

Just outside the town is a wonderful reptile park, where visitors can get the opportunity to demystify and de-demonise a range of reptiles, including snakes and crocodiles. There are so many game farms to choose from in the vicinity, and the Kruger National Park is close by. There is a great horseback safari for experienced riders, and the nearby Olifants River offers wonderful rafting.



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