Dr. Charles van Riper III

Professor, School of Natural Resources and the Environment
USGS Research Scientist Emeritus

Sonoran Desert Research Station
125 Biological Sciences East ~ University of Arizona ~Tucson, AZ 85721-125
(520) 626-7027 ~ (520) 670-5100 fax ~ (520) 491-0721 call

         twitter with Charles van Riper  
Read More About Dr. van Riper ~ Visit his Research Lab & Students

Africa Study

 Introduction | Methods of Study | Study Areas | Venetia Limpopo | Credits and Funding | Wildlife of Africa |
Predators | Classic African Animals | Small Antelope | Large Antelope | Small Mammals
Venetia Limpopo

Venetia Limpopo Nature Reserve is owned by DeBeers Diamond Mining Company, with the wildlife managed by local game wardens.  Not far from the town of Aldays (about 20 miles south), the reserve is situated close to the confluence of the Shashe and Limpopo rivers, which form the International boundaries between South Africa, Zimbabwe and Botswana. In excess of 80,000 acres and host to a number of large mammals (including lion, leopard, cheetah, elephant, rhino and hippopotamus), this is one pristine game management areas in northern South Africa. Lying at an elevation of between 1600 and 2400 feet, it is set in the rugged landscape of the Limpopo valley floor. Winters are generally mild with temperatures averaging between 40F and 80F, while the summer temperatures can reach extremes of up to 120F.

Beautiful riverine forest bordered by impressive sandstone cliffs form a part of this area, which also includes rolling hills covered in mopane trees and interspersed with low lying wet lands and dense growths of Acacia and Ilala palms. The bush is generally thick in late summer and fall, but visibility becomes better as the mopane trees start losing their leaves. There are numerous waterholes throughout the area and a major reservoir system. The four ecologically important river systems within the reserve are dry most of the year, flowing only during the summer rainy season. Due to the nature of the terrain, animals are often difficult to detect beyond 100 meters. The area is an endemic malaria area and suitable precautions are necessary.

 The main camp is located on the banks of the Kolope River, with the facility consisting of insect proof tents with two twin beds and attached shower and toilet. There is a central lapa where evenings are spent around the campfire, often listening to the roar of lions. There is no electricity, so lighting is provided by kerosene and gas lanterns.

There is an incredible variety of plant, bird and animal life in the area. Conducting surveys is hard but species found in the area include Lion, Leopard, Cheetah, Rhino, Elephant, Hippo, Crocodile, Giraffe, Eland, Kudu, Blue Wildebeest, Zebra, Gemsbok, Impala, Warthog, Grey Duiker, Steenbok, Waterbuck, Klipspringer and Bushbuck.


Hosting Beyond The Sidewalks