The Songimvelo Game Reserve is located South of Barberton in the South-Eastern part of the Mpumalanga Province on the South African-Swaziland Border. The diversity of living things that occur in the Barberton Area today form a stark contrast to the ancient, single-celled organisms that are captured in the rocks here. It took more than 3 billion Years before multi-cellular life evolved and only about 425 million Years ago, vegetation Colonised Land followed by the first land animals. And since then Mother Earth went full throttle with a variety of species arising and disappearing over time. According to science, humans are late comers to the Planet with anatomically modern man appearing a mere 100 000 Years ago! Singimvelo is a plural word that means: 'we are conserving nature' in the siSwati language of the Nguni People.
The Reserve is approximately 490 km squared, in size. Which makes it the largest Provincial Reserve in South Africa. The broken landscape, several Waterfalls and spectacular Gorges of the Komati, Msoli and Lomati Rivers makes this Reserve one of the most diverse and aesthetically attractive wilderness Areas in the Country. Since it was proclaimed in 1983, more than 20 species of large herbivores have been re-introduced to Songimvelo. The Reserve provides an extensive Habitat for Elephant, White Rhino and the largest population of Buffalo! In addition to the above, 23 fish species, 50 reptile and amphibians and 330 bird species have been recorded in the Reserve, including some Endangered species!
Songimvelo Game Reserve is considered to be the Area with the highest recorded plant diversity in Mpumulanga with more than 1440 species already identified. Since 1991 at least four species new to science have been collected from the reserve. In addition, 15 rare and endangered plant species have been found, including the occurrence of the only remaining wild population of the Woolly Cycad.
The Archaeological, Historical and Cultural value of Songimvelo Game Reserve enjoys International acclaim amongst scientists! The preservation of some Rock Exposures in the reserve yield key information on the origin and Evolution of the earth’s crust, the nature of early life as well as the character and development of the Ancient Ocean and atmosphere. The Geology includes the best preserved truly ancient rocks on earth. Despite the rock being 3.5 billion Years old, they are so well preserved that their fossils record the earliest life forms on the Planet! It is therefore not surprising that this Region is referred to as the “Genesis of Life”. This feature, together with the Early Stone Age artifacts dating back to 1 million Years which have been found on the Reserve, attracts World-wide attention to Songimvelo. Of further great Archaeological importance are the numerous walled, Village-type ruins which are considered to date back more than 1000 Years and indicate the presence of earlier inhabitants. These vary from San paintings to the theories on temples of Dravidian and Phoenician merchants and even Egyptian slave traders.

30° 59' 45.6", -25° 56' 20.4"