The Selati Game Reserve is best known for the large numbers of naturally occurring sable antelope of the Matetsi subspecies which formed the nucleus of the current breeding herd. At incorporation in 1993 there were over 150 animals on the reserve which accounted for nearly 10% of the population outside the Kruger National Park.
Today the reserve hosts over 50 different species of medium to large sized mammals. Most of these were present on the different properties at the time of incorporation. While animals have been brought on subsequently to augment the populations and improve the gene pool of the existing species, the biodiversity has been enhanced by the reintroduction of elephant, black rhino and lion. Other large mammals include sable antelope, eland, white rhino, leopard and cheetah and we experience occasional visits by wild dog which manage to penetrate the perimeter fence. Buffalo have been excluded due to the Selati Game Reserve’s special veterinary buffer zone status for foot and mouth disease control. Efforts are underway to get permission to bring on buffalo by deploying new fencing arrangements.
Other rare species include Sharpe’s grysbok, mountain reedbuck, tsessebe, brown hyena, pangolin and Cape clawless otter.
The diverse geological substructure supports six major plant communities. Many diverse species of woody plants have been identified on the reserve; the most prominent amongst these being the cycad Encephalartos dyerianus, the only naturally occurring colony of this species on the planet.
The undulating topography often gives rise to a typical catena affect with Mixed Combretum veld dominating the crests. Dissections of Terminalia trees are found on the poor soils associated with the natural seepage lines and Colophospermum mopane woodland occupies the clayey duplex soils along the drainages and lower lying areas.
The varied habitat on the reserve supports a vibrant bird population with over 280 different species having been identified; the most notable amongst these being the Arnot’s chat associated with the mopane woodlands, the thick-billed cuckoo and Verraux’s eagles nesting on the cliffs of the Mashisimale granitic outcrops.
Reptilian species include the Nile crocodile, both species of monitor lizards and a long list of geckoes, lizards and snakes.