Kingdom Trails - Nature Trails in a Pristine Nature Area Kingdom Trails - Nature Trails in a Pristine Nature Area
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Natural History

  Kingdom Nature Reserve (Photos: Petri Viljoen(  

The Kingdom Nature Reserve covers an area of 15,000 ha between Witbank and Loskop Dam in Mpumalanga Province. Two main rivers, the Olifants and Wilge, meander between soaring cliffs and lush riverine bush. Most of the area is mountainous with gorges and red granite cliffs dropping steeply down to the rivers. The property’s altitude ranges between 1,120 m and 1,460 m, and between about 1,140 and 1,450 m in the hiking trails area itself. Annual rainfall for the region fluctuates between 600 and 750 mm.

The area lies within the Grassland (Rocky Grassland and Moist Sandy Highveld Grassland) and Savanna (Mixed Bushveld) vegetation types. This ensures a rich species diversity. At least 120 tree species have been identified. Numerous riverine, woodland, water and savanna bird species have been recorded. Fish Eagles breed along the rivers and Black Eagles (Vereaux Eagle) are frequently seen near the cliff faces. The African Finfoot is one of the interesting river residents often encountered.

The large variety of large mammals on the property include eland, blue wildebeest, zebra, giraffe, kudu, impala, nyala, bushbuck, gemsbuck, tsessebe, waterbuck, mountain reedbuck, klipspringer, oribi, warthog, bushpig, leopard, brown hyena, black-backed jackal, baboons and vervet monkeys.

Rock paintings have been recorded by the Archaeological Department of University of Witwatersrand. The rock paintings are, however, not in an accessible area.

  Kingdom Trails (Photo: Petri Viljoen)  

The Kingdom Nature Reserve was the vision of Dr Edward King Snr, who was born in 1910 and grew up in the Free State, the second son of a farming family impoverished by the Boer War. He would travel by horse buggy to deliver milk to Bloemfontein, two hours before school began. As a child he had no shoes, and in winter with a cold wind blowing off the Maluti Mountains, he sat watching a colony of ants hard at work, and vowed to work as hard himself to own a farm with much water. In 1960 that dream became a reality. Today it is owned by his four children and their families.

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Kingdom Trails - Nature Trails in a Pristine Landscape