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Modjadji Cycad Reserve

The Modjadji cycad is one of the largest in the cycad family, some reaching 13 meters high, with their cones weighing in at 34 kg, the cycads seed between December and Feburary, the best time to view them. And the Modjadji Cycad Reserve is the largest concentration of one species of cycad in the world. With an area of 560 hectares, this unique forest is like walking through a prehistoric wilderness, with these giant cycads looming over you and that eerie sensation that you are being watched by monsters and dinosaurs from another era. The area has been watched over for centuries by the Bolovedu tribe and their queen, the Modjadji (Ruler of the day) - Rain Queen.

The story of the first rain queen is debateable, but legend has it that the first rain queen Princess Dzugugnini was conceived between her mother and grandfather, scandal in the royal family sent her and her son into exile further south where the Bolovedu tribe was formed. The Rain Queen, was said to have taken her rain making powers with her and every year in November her successors hold a rain making ceremony at the royal compound. The rain queen is not allowed to marry but may have many illegitimate children and many "wives", when the queen feels like she is going to die, she takes a poison and her oldest daughter oldest becomes the new Rain Queen.

So more that just a nature reserve with fascinating scenery, there is a network of walks which drop down from the mountain onto the veld below where over 170 species of birds and game such blue wildebeest, waterbuck, nyala, impala and bushbuck can be viewed. There is also a small museum dedicated to the history of The Rain Queen.

For more information contact Modjadji Cycad Reserve Tel: +27-82-2004596

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