Who knew the Soutpansberg mountains peering out as they do over the arid savanna of the Limpopo catchment, was one of the hotspots of biodiversity in South Africa; or that it had more tree species than any other comparable ecosystem in the country, including the famed Kruger Park; or that it was part of the Vhembe Biosphere Reserve?
Leshiba is located at the summit of the range and surrounded by lush vegetation and massed rock strata. The focal point is a lodge that is very different from any other, maybe the most unique in all of Africa. It could be called a living artwork and was created on the site of a ruined Venda village, the work being overseen by acclaimed Venda artist Noria Mabasa.
Using much the same materials as would have been used in the original village (where some of the builders and current employees once lived), it seems to have risen from the ground (the principal building material is clay mixed with crushed termite mound).
The gardens are festooned with Venda sculptures, but it’s the buildings and interconnecting structures that stand out; entering the place is like walking into a kind of African Narnia, with virtually living forms there to greet you. And beyond that is the game-filled mountain wilderness.