Balule Nature Reserve
Balule Nature Reserve is a protected area in Limpopo Province, South Africa which forms part of the Greater Kruger National Park as a member of the Associated Private Nature Reserves (APNR). As part of a wildlife conservation initiative, all fences separating APNR reserves – Balule, Timbavati, Klaserie, Umbabat, Grietjie Private Nature Reserve – and the Kruger National Park have been removed. The ecological benefits of this initiative has made the region a popular ecotourism destination and conservation efforts have ensured that the wildlife population includes all of the Big Five game: Lion, African Elephant, African Buffalo, African Leopard and Black Rhinoceros.
The Balule area of the Greater Kruger National Park initially consisted of several separate fenced game farms. In the early 1990s, landowners decided to remove the fences separating their properties in aid of conservation in order to increase the grazing area for the local wildlife and to diversify the animal gene pool. By the end of the decade, most Balule landowners had joined in the venture creating a much larger area for game to roam unhindered by fences, and hunting was curtailed. Kruger authorities noted the ecological benefits and decided to incorporate the Balule area into the Greater Kruger National Park by removing the fence between the Kruger Park and Klaserie Game Reserve as well as between the Klaserie and Olifants Game Reserves. Today the Balule reserve covers around 40.000 hectares in area (The area periodically extends as more landowners join the initiative and become incorporated).