The Prelude taken from TV Bulpin’s “Lost Trails on the Lowveld”
First Published in 1950 by Howard Ti8mmins, Cape Town
Although the demise of the tsetse fly has in allowed for extensive changes to the Lowveld, due to the subsequent and inevitable settling of man – both pioneers and tribal communities, the region still sings of the images of old as described above in the famed book “Lost trails of the Lowveld” by renowned historian and publisher, TV Bulpin.
It is still in many ways and relative to the modern developments of South Africa, an area of extensive wilderness and home to a myriad of the animals, birds, plants and reptiles that have filled the imaginations of hunters, traders and authors alike for many a century in Africa.
Not only is the Lowveld home to the world renown Kruger National Park – but it is also home to the largest privately owned conservation area in the world. This entails private nature reserves and conglomerations such as Sabi Sands, The Timbavati, Klaserie and Umbabat Reserves, Olifants Nature Reserve, Balule, Selati, Harmony, Makalali, Thornybush, Kapama, Blue Canyon Conservancy and much much more.
The modern day Lowveld is of its own, a patchwork quilt with a enigmatic pattern of landuses, vegetation types and settlements. From the national and provincial parks, to the private reserves, conservation and tourism play a dominant role in the area, this is followed by agriculture (mainly mango and citrus in the central region, avo’s and nuts further south and sugar cane in the deep southern region). The escarpment edges are lined with commercial forestry plantations, blending into small reserved patches of indigenous forests, mountain edges, waterfalls, river gorges and plundering pools. Mining too has established a strong hold in this colourful area of active development and intermingled amongst all of this is a range of settlements although the majority are areas of extreme and high poverty with typical African rural households, they extend to smaller regions of more affluent and established homes and settlements.
This mix of wilderness and settlements of mountain escarpments and savannah grasslands, of waterfalls, river gorges and dry open plains, greats an entire universe in one region. You will find no shortage of activities to be done, vistas to be marveled at, people to meet and scenes to be remembered when you visit the Lowveld.
Just as it created wonder, awe and inspiration to those initial visitors centuries ago, so it will not fail to do the same to you and will leave you far wiser for the experience and having felt the ability to reconnect to a history, to remove yourself from the boardroom, your planning schedule and the daily school runs and to take yourself back to a time of instinct and survival where nature ruled your days activities and your ability to live another day.