Lissataba, Hoedspruit

Lissataba Nature Reserve at a glance

Lissataba Nature Reserve is a privately owned 2542ha reserve situated near Kruger Park and close to the town of Hoedspruit. There are 54 shareholders with around 50 homes nestled in the rock strewn bushveld and Lissataba is strictly for the enjoyment of homeowners and their guests. There are no commercial lodges.

Lissataba, which means “view of the mountain” stretches 12 km over acacia bushveld littered with rocky outcrops and impressive koppies. Not only does it have stunning Mountain views of the Northern Drakensberg but also boasts 4km of Olifants River frontage. It is not a Big “5” reserve as this has the advantage of allowing owners to get closer to nature by exploring some of the smaller critters on foot or bicycle. There is an extensive network, (150kms) of game drive tracks allowing a more traditional way of exploring the bush.

Lissataba’s aim is to help preserve a good example of Arid lowveld and all the flora and fauna that go towards maintaining a healthy ecosystem whilst providing a unique and special outdoor experience for homeowners. Lissataba was established 25 years ago and enjoyed expert management both ecologically and financially. The reserve is governed by a board of directors elected annually by the shareholders, while day to day management is done by an experienced management couple with the assistance of junior conservation staff. Lissataba Game Reserve is part of the Blyde Olifants Conservancy of 12000 ha. which is all bushveld and aims at protecting the bushveld from agriculture.

The site development is confined to one portion of the property where 16 river and 38 bush sites have been developed. Water and electricity are available at each site and owners pay a monthly levy to pay for the running of the reserve which includes, security, reserve management, fencing, roads, game management, water and electricity.

There are numerous look out points, picnic spots, a bird hide and a campsite for owners to enjoy. Four earth dams are permanently filled, and provide additional drinking water for the Game and locations for interesting game watching, photography or game viewing.

At the administration centre there is a clubhouse with entertainment facilities such as a pool table, Television, education centre, books, a bar and a pool. This centre is a great place to catch up with the reserve management and other reserve owners. There are notice boards with the latest research findings, photos and sightings board. At the main centre one can share stories and sightings, share a beer or relax around the pool and read a book.


It is part of the original Harmony block that was sold in the late 1800’s for then R2 million. After unsuccessful gold exploration in the Harmony block the farms were used for cattle. Then after World War 2 the Harmony Block of Farms were offered for sale by the Government. Mr Daniel Otto van Zyl bought the farm and continued as a cattle rancher until 1968. On the 17 August 1968 Dr Anton Rupert and family bought the portion KT 140, which is now Lissataba.

On the 18 September of the same year it was registered as a Company and promulgated a Nature and Wildlife Reserve in the Government Gazette. In 1980 the South African Ambassador to the Hague, Dr Bodenstein bought the Company from the Rupert's. It is interesting to note that he had all the internal fences removed from the property. In January 1981 the new owner Mr. Louis van der Westhuizen took transfer of the property. The farm was then used for hunting purposes.

In 1983 Holiday Report status was obtained and all hunting was stopped in 1986. During 1988 Share Block registration was Gazetted and in 1989 Mr. Navarre de Villiers sold the first 5 shares This reserve is now a mature reserve with well-established policies for shareholders and environmental planning.


Lissataba Game Reserve is an important reserve in that it offers protection to a number of animals, bird and reptile species that have shown declining numbers in the presence of increased human and farming activities. It is situated on the Olifants River the life blood of the area which is also significant to other reserves such as Balule and Kruger National Park. Lissataba is also a signatory to the Blyde Olifants Conservancy which is 12000 ha in size.

Game at Lissataba includes giraffe, eland, hippo kudu, impala, waterbuck, zebra, wildebeest, nyala, bushbuck, klipspringer, warthog, bushpig, duiker, grysbok, hyena, leopard, civet, cheetah, genet, aardvark, pangolin, porcupine, badger, wildcat and crocodile.


The Blyde Olifants Conservancy is made up of land owners spanning both the Blyde and Olifants rivers with a common goal “to create a Big Game sanctuary which is registered as a Private Nature Reserve and where all landowners, stakeholders and neighboring communities benefit in a harmonious inter-relationship from the conservation of biodiversity. The idea is to open up the boundaries of small farms to allow the free movement of animals within a much larger protected area therefore increasing the biodiversity and genetic viability in the greater reserve. Traditional migration routes will then be allowed to reform in this very sensitive ecosystem adding to the preservation of the veld. Currently the Conservancy hold regular meetings to discuss the many obstacles to achieving their aim and is still a work in progress.


Lissataba is currently undergoing a survey to better understand the type, amount and movements of predators within Lissataba. This is done by the homeowners, camera traps and the management and research staff recording and reporting all sightings of Lion, Leopard, Hyena, Caracal, Serval and Wild Cat. Cheetah have been re-introduced into the Puza Moya part of the reserve and time will show how successful this introduction will be.

It is extremely hard to estimate how many of these predators use Lissataba Nature Reserve and on what basis, so a database of sightings will assist to judge their numbers and movement. Lucy Hughes, a resident homeowner is the project co-ordinator for Lissataba and up until now interesting sightings by means of camera traps have shown two leopard, brown and spotted hyena.


Lissataba has recently been registered to take part in a nationwide ongoing bird survey. The Birds in Reserve Project (BIRP) is run by the Animal Demography Unit (ADU) University of Cape Town in conjunction with BirdLife South Africa. The aim of BIRP is to catalogue the species of birds which occur in South Africa’s protected areas with the purpose of identifying species which are not adequately protected. It will also benefit management in setting management policies. All home owners can take part in this and information can be obtained from reserve management. A copy of the information booklet is kept at the Lissataba office as well as a bird list of the area.


South African Environmental Observation Network (SAEON)

SAEON’s aim is to carry out long term studies of ecosystems in a bid to detect, predict and react to environmental change. It strives to distinguish between anthropogenic and natural change as well as to unravel the relations between social change and ecosystem change. The Ndlovu node of SAEON is based in the Kruger National Park near to Phalaborwa and is focused on environmental changes within the savanna biome. Lissataba is submitting monthly bird lists to the Ndlovu node as part of their bird abundance survey. They are also submitting, during the spring, the dates that our first returning migratory birds arrive. It is hoped that eventually patterns will emerge that will aid conservationists in their work and through this Lissataba can only benefit.


By road: After the JG Strydom tunnel turn left towards Tzaneen on the R36. Drive 10km and take the first tar road right, this will be the R526. Lissataba will be on the right-hand side, 7.5 km down the road. From Hoedspruit drive towards Phalaborwa on the R40. Turn left onto the R526 and Lissataba will be on the left-hand side 17.5km down the road.

By Air: E30° 47,77 minutes and S24° 16 minutes 10 seconds south Pilot information Lissataba uses Phuza Moya’s airstrip, use of the airstip must be booked via the Lissataba office Phuza Moya’s airstrip is 900 metres long. The surface is a gravel surface. The airstrip runs from East to West, bearing 08 and 26. Elevation is 1600 feet The writing on the surface at the wind socket in rock formations is P.M The airstrip is 500m from the main lodge.


Size: 2543ha

Stands: 54 sites

Stand Size: Approximately 1ha, one camp 50 meters around a central peg

Approximate number of houses built: 49

Pets: No pets allowed

Water: Filtered Water

Power: Eskom, laid underground

Ownership type: Lissataba was a share block and has recently converted to full title stands with members owning the common land view the Home Owners Association. Shareholder can choose to hold their property as shares or as full title. Full title allows one the opportunity to get a mortgage bond in order to purchase a home here. Whether you are a full title owner of shareholder your usage and enjoyment will be exactly the same.

Rules applicable: Lissataba Architectural requirements, Lissataba Shareholders rules. Governed by a Board of Directors elected annually by the Shareholders.

Commercial rights: No, only residential. At the Administration centre there is a Clubhouse with entertainment facilities, a pool and 5 thatched rondavels with separate kitchen available to property owners. Game Drive Vehicle parking.

Game: Well stocked plains game, Giraffe, Waterbuck, Wildebeest, Zebra, Nyala, Kudu, Warthog, Leopard, Jackal, Lions occasionally, Crocodiles and Hippos.

Birds: many types of Raptors, Water Fowl, Grassland & Riverine birds and Owl

Vegetation: Lowveld Bushveld, some open areas, Marula, Tamboti, Knob thorn, various Acacia, Rock fig, Leadwood, Weeping Boerbean

Development lay out: Two distinctive development areas, Pure game area only accessible by game drive vehicles, Site development is confined to one corner of the property with16 River sites 38 Bush sites

Stand views: Drakenberg Mountains, Olifants River, Bushveld and trees

Other features: Part of the Blyde/Olifants Conservancy of 12,000 ha, fences dropped to Phuza Moya. Total size in excess of 5,000ha.

Roads: Well-maintained dirt roads, 30km/h speed limit, roads weave through natural terrain such as trees and rocks

Distance to town: 42km to Hoedspruit by road, 14km by air.

Rivers and water: 5 dams, 4 Km of Olifants River frontage

Location: Entrance on the Tzaneen, Orighstad Road R526

Best features: Exclusive quiet reserve, well stocked game, privacy of the bush, good views, river and dams

Activities: Walking trails, bird hide, walking and cycling allowed on the residential part of the estate. Main house design: Thatch, standard colours, single storey, no exterior lighting at night, indigenous plants only, no lightning conductors


Lissataba was a share block and has recently converted to full title stands with members owning the common land view the Home owners association. Shareholder can choose to hold their property as shares or as full title. Full title allows one the opportunity to get a mortgage bond in order to purchase a home here. Whether you are a full title owner of shareholder your usage and enjoyment will be exactly the same.

If a purchaser purchases shares the purchase of a house or they will be purchasing shares into the overall holding company. This is the Lissataba Share Block limited. A buyer will be purchasing 1/54th or 1.8519% in the overall farm. This will include the land as well as the game. The purchaser will have full user rights to the particular house or stand that is being purchased and it cannot be used by any other shareholders.

The Share Block Company is guided by the Share Blocks Control Act no 59. of 1980. This act lays out how the Share Block will be managed and what legal requirements are required. This act offers the purchaser protection on purchase in that relevant information needs to be disclosed on the purchase of shares. This information includes the financial position of the shareblock, statutes and articles of association and shareholders rules and guidelines. There is further protection to the shareholders of a Share Block in that they cannot be held liable for debts of the company.

The Share Block control act covers items such as what restrictions are applicable, what consumer protection the purchaser has, main object of the share company and use agreement, capacity and powers of the Share Block company, duties of the Share Block developer, rights attached to the shares of a company, sales of shares and directors of the Share Block, and insurance of immovable items.

The purchaser obtains not only the right to construct a lodge on his site but also obtains a share in the Reserve as well as in the Game, as full usage of the reserve under the rules as laid out by the directors. Share Block Rules applicable: Lissataba Architectural requirements, Lissataba Shareholders rules. Governed by a Board of Directors elected annually by the Shareholders.

Legislation has been passed, the effect of which is to make transfers of share in a Share Block company, a property transaction for duty purposes. Previously, such transactions were dealt with as any other sale of shares. The implications are that normal transfer duty is applicable on non-movable items of the purchase. This value can be made up as Solar system, allocated loan, shares, value of shares. Exemptions would be movable items included in the purchase such as game viewers (vehicles) and furniture and fittings. Share transfer tax is no longer applicable to a Share Block company. VAT is not levied on a transaction on which transfer duty is payable. To be deducted, the value of movables must be disclosed in the sale agreement.

The transfer duty will depend on the purchasing entity.

For more information and advice on Lissataba, please contact Rob on 083 469 3820. This is truly a piece of wild African bushveld. Let me take you to this special reserve.

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