Sub-Saharan Africa occupies a prized place in the traveler’s imagination, conjuring up visions of timeless cultures, landscapes of sweeping beauty, and majestic wildlife.
South Africa's northernmost province, Limpopo, encompasses all these elements—plus archaeological sites that reveal vestiges of Africa’s first kingdom. Carved out of this fabled valley is the 105,000-acre Venetia Limpopo Nature Reserve. It’s one of seven conservation sites within The Diamond Route, an initiative of The De Beers Group of Companies, of which Forevermark is a part. These conservation areas, which together stretch across nearly 365,000 acres, are located around the Group’s current and past areas of operation.
But it's here in South Africa—renowned as a mega-diverse country that harbors an exceptional number of species—that the company has its oldest and deepest roots and where it has long been dedicated to wildlife conservation.
There is no more idyllic vantage point from which to experience the thriving biodiversity and mind-altering scenery of Limpopo than the Venetia Limpopo Nature Reserve. It varies from the lush forests of the Limpopo River to rocky ridgelines and sweeping floodplains dotted with classic baobabs and mopane trees (look for the distinctive butterfly-shaped leaves). More than 400 species of birds, herds of elephants, and packs of wild dogs have free reign here.
Venetia and the Limpopo River Valley are culturally rich as well, offering a fascinating glimpse into ancient South Africa. In the UNESCO World Heritage-listed Mapungubwe Cultural Landscape, visitors can witness the former royal palaces and other remnants of the Kingdom of Mapungubwe, a wealthy civilization that thrived here from 900 to 1300 A.D. The very earliest sites in the area date back thousands of years, with evidence of Stone Age tools and notable San Rock Art.
“There are so many similarities between diamonds and nature," current manager of the South African Ecology properties, Piet Oosthuizen observes. “As each diamond has its unique characteristics, most animals are unique. Each zebra has its own pattern of stripes and the same for the spots of a leopard."
To visit The Diamond Route is to understand these similarities and feel connected to the eternal rhythms of life—from the classic splendor of the baobab tree and the majesty of the long-necked giraffe, to diamonds on their centuries-long journey to becoming objects of incomparable beauty.
Created in partnership with Forevermark.
© 2016 AFAR Media