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Relax, unwind your soul and blend with nature in our four major state managed nature reserves

Blouberg Nature Reserve

Blouberg Nature Reserve, is a protected area situated close to Vivo which is west of Makhado (formerly Louis Trichardt) town, in the Limpopo Province, of South Africa. Blouberg Nature Reserve covers an area of 9,360 ha from the eastern portion of the Blouberg mountain range down to the savanna near the Brak River. Its topography renders a diverse array of habitats which, in turn, accommodate numerous species of plant and animal life.


There are two nature reserves in the area namely, Maleboho nature reserve and Blouberg
nature reserve. We have the German mission in Senwabarwana and Liepzig that are seen as
heritage site and also the 1903 prison in the Blouberg Mountain. We also have the Lutheran
church next to Helena Franz hospital which also reflects on the history of the people in the

As one adventures the Makgabeng mountain, you discover about the 400 stone sites which has the rock art paintings and Iron Age sites. These footprints are able to reflect on how people who were resided in the area lived.

There is an African ivory Route camp at Beauly on the foot of the Blouberg Mountain and a development of a hiking trail on the mountain that will ensure Blouberg is at the forefront of tourism development.

The geographical location of Blouberg between the Waterberg wetlands and the Dongola Trans-frontier Park, which encompasses the Mapungubwe area, is of great significance as the provincial Tourism directorate along the African Ivory route identifies this area. The Municipality is looking at achieving that in partnership with the following key interest groups:

  • Limpopo Tourism and Parks Board,
  • National Cultural History Museum,
  • Blouberg Tourism Association,
  • South African Heritage Resources Agency, &
  • Trade and Investment Limpopo.

Historical background concerning the Helene Franz Hospital and the Bochum Leper institution
Carl Heinrich Robert Franz was born in Nieder- Adelsdorf, Silesia, a district of Prussia on the 7th July 1864. After his ordainment as a missionery, he was sent out to South Africa in 1892 where he worked at various stations of the Berlin missionary society including Adams hoop in the Orange Free State.
In 1894 he was joined by his fiancée Helene Magdalena Elisabeth Schulz who had been born in East Prussia on March 24 1866. She received formal training in general nursing midwifery and medical diagnosis before she left for South Africa to be married to Robert at middlefontein near Nylstroom on the 20th November 1894.
During the Makgoba war she rendered invaluable service to the wounded an event which served as the initial landmark of an illustrious nursing career amongst the indigenous peoples of the Northern Transvaal presently known as Limpopo.
In 1897 Robert Franz was transferred to Blouberg and several members of the Molepo clan followed them to the mission station at Leipzig to further the medical treatment.
The second Anglo- Boer War of 1899- 1902 resulted in a decline in the hospital work. The republican forces approached Helene to treat wounded soldiers. After the British occupation of Pietersburg by the British, Robert and Helene were placed under house arrest and therefore forbidden to leave the mission station at Leipzig.
Mr Wheel right the chief magistrate of Pietersburg placed the Farm Bochum at the disposal of the missionaries to pursue the medical work. King Edward 11 funded the building of a hospital with a central consulting room, two hospital wards with a sister’s complex, dispensary maternity ward, dining room and satellite bungalows for long term and recuperating patients as well as the housing of relatives from outlying areas.

Helene was called upon to manage the hospital, which was initially named the Bochum Syphilitic Lazaretto. Subsequently the facility became known as the Helene Franz Hospital.
In 1908 the Franz family moved to Bochum where they bought an adjacent farm Borkom from the government. With the establishment of the Bochum Hospital, Robert built a church and continues with his missionary work.
Subsequently the Berlin Missionary society granted him permission to conduct his evangelical services from Bochum. It soon became evident that the facility for the treatment of leper patients was urgently required, and in 1914 the Bochum leper institution was established with Robert Franz Hospital.

Johannes Franz died on the 3rd November 1955. When the lepers were transferred to westfort the institution subsequently served as a Tuberculosis sanatorium under the auspices of the South African National Tuberculosis Association. Subsequently the Helene Franz Centre for retarded children was founded which is still functioning to this day.
Gottfried Heinrich Franz (G.H Franz) the writer who became regional director of education was the founder of the GH Franz School not far from Bochum in the farm Uitkyk No.3 which is still functioning to this day.
Doctor Mamphela Ramphela formerly Rector and Vice- chancellor of the University of Cape Town and presently a member of the World Bank in Washington, was born at the Helene Franz Hospital on the 28th December 1947(Black Consciousness activist along with Steve Bantu Biko) She attended GH Franz in 1956 when she was in Grade3.

This church was built by Robert Franz between 1908 and 1914 and is now in a bad state of repair. During the heavy rains of 1999/2000, the eastern wall collapse d. Church services in the building would be a hazardous undertaking and have therefore been abandoned.
Since 1914 these white rondovels on the farm Bochum have certainly served as a significant landmark to the Bahananwa who still refer to the establishment as “Kwa lephereng”.

The leper church was built by Johannes (Hans) Franz during his tenure as superintendent of the Bochum leper institution. In this case the funds were provided by Reverend Martin Jackals through the sale of his books. Although it was originally built as Lutheran church other denominations made regular use of the building for their own services.
When the leper patients we moved to West fort near to Pretoria, it fell into disuse. The central hospital complex and concrete rondovels where the leper patients were treated by Johanna Schulz are in a remarkable state of preservation.
A proposal for fencing the wetland Senwabarwana
World wetlands day is an annual celebration which takes place on 2 February. The
It marks the anniversary of the signing of the convention on wetlands in Rasmar, Iran in 1971. South Africa is a signatory of this convention and there are currently 12 wetlands that have been designated Rasmar in the country. In Limpopo we have Nylsvley Nature Reserve which has been designated as Rasmar
The significance of the wetlands
They provide ecosystem services that purify and store water. They also reduce flooding and recharge ground water
Wetlands can be used for spiritual purpose. San Hunter -gatherer lived nomadic type of a lifestyle and they knew their environment well. Their economy was based on what they could hunt and gather from the veldt. During hard times they move closer water sources (wetlands) where all different animals will be coming to graze and drink. At this site different clan will come to know each other and perform various activities such as trance dance, formalized gives exchange, manufacturing and processing of valuable items. It is where new family relationship starts to develop and this let to many successful marriages.

The wetland Senwabarwana
World Wetlands Day is celebrated annually on 2 February. It marks the anniversary of the signing of the convention on the Wetlands (Rasmar) in Ramsar, Iran in 1971. South Africa is a signatory of this convention, and there are currently 12 wetlands that have been designated Ramsar sites in the country. In Limpopo we have Nylsvley Nature Reserve which has been designated as Ramsar site. Wetlands provide ecosystem services that purify and store water, therefore reducing flood and recharging ground water. Wetlands can be used for used for:

  • Spiritual purpose-San hunter –gatherer in the past performed their religious activities around the wetlands. Their religion is referred to as shamanism. It was at this sites where the san practiced formalized gift exchanged, established family relations etc.
  • Provide food-fishes etc.
  • Grazing-During drought San hunter-gatherers used to move to water source areas. The San hunter-gatherers were nomadic hunters move around following games.
  • Raw materials for handcraft-People are using reeds from wetlands and rivers to manufacture mattresses
  • • Educational research celebration-scientific findings by specialist.
    • Provide opportunities for recreation and tourism-learning more about the importance of wetlands and celebrate their existence. They are regarded as attraction sites and have potentials to be developed into tourism destinations
    Threat to wetlands
    • Drilled boreholes close to the water sources in some other areas
    • Unprotected wetlands tend to be contaminated e.g. Senwabarwana wetland.
    • Cattle trembling through the wetlands
    • We propose that Senwabarwana wetland must be fenced off