The Moholoholo Rehabilitation Centre in Hoedspruit, Limpopo.
Anywhere wild animals and humans overlap, there’s bound to be fallout of some kind or another. Vultures versus powerlines, predators versus farm animals, antelope on roads versus vehicles, the odd problem animal finding its way into the pantry, or hand-raised animals that have lost their cuteness and grown into their teeth – it’s usually the animals that come off, if not dead last, then second best, often with lasting scars and permanent injuries. When this happens, it’s the people at places like Moholoholo who step in to help.
Moholoholo is home to any number of wild animals of every species that have either lost the human/wildlife battle for space or food, have grown up in an unnatural environment, or have just been in the wrong place at the wrong time. At any given time you could find lions, leopards, caracals, and hyenas, vultures, any raptor, and ground hornbills, as well as duikers, zebras and giraffes, and even mongooses, tortoises and honey badgers. Some will stay forever, with injuries or bad habits that prevent them from returning to the wild, but wherever possible, animals that come to the centre are rehabilitated and released back into the wild.
Moholoholo is also home to Stoffel, South Africa’s world-famous (or infamous) hand-raised honey badger, who made the rounds on Youtube a few years back with his ingenious methods of escape. Old age, good company (in the form of Hammy, a female honey badger), and a custom-made cage have kept him happily in place for the time-being, but it may only be a matter of time before he makes his next great escape…
A visit to the centre is a must for anyone passing through the Hoedspruit area. Not only is a tour of Moholoholo an education in conservation with a first-hand look at mankind’s effect on the animals that make our country remarkable, but it is also a truly unforgettable up-close-and-personal wildlife experience for the whole family. Where else could you get the opportunity to scratch the head of a short-tailed eagle, feed a Cape vulture, feel the rumbling purr of a cheetah or pure muscle of a boisterous orphaned rhino calf, and stand within arm’s length of some of our country’s fiercest predators?
Africa isn’t Africa without its wild animals, and places like Moholoholo and the staff and volunteers who run it ensure that they get the best care possible when they need it. It’s a real treat to be able to take a closer look at some of the animals we’d be lucky to catch a glimpse of in the wild, and to know that in doing so we’re making a contribution to their care.
Read more about our favourite places for close animal encounters in the Lowveld in the March issue of go!/Weg! Magazine.
Photography: Mornings are best for photography at Moholoholo and because you can get so close to many of the animals, you’ll probably use your wider lenses like the 10-22mm, 16-35mm or standard zoom lenses for instance the 24-70mm.
If I want to go…
How to get there: From Hoedspruit, drive 10 km west on the R527 and then turn left on the D1185. Continue for 4 km and then turn left on the R531. Drive for 12 km, past the Swadini turn-off and Kampersrus, until you see the entrance gate on your right.
GPS: S24.50639 E30.90274 (entrance gate)
Cost: R120 per adult and R50 for kids under 12. Tours start at 9:30am and 3pm from Mondays to Saturdays.
Contact: Phone 015 795 5236 or visit the Moholoholo Wildlife Rehabilitation Centre website