Manyelanong Game Reserve

Manyelanong Game Reserve

Manyelanong is the name of the hill north of the village Otse, which is 15km outside Lobatse on the Gaborone road. In the sheer cliffs of the hills, the tiny Manyelanong Game Reserve protects a breeding colony of Cape vultures. The place was known for many years as Otse Vulture Colony. The Cape vulture is an endangered species and fully protected under the laws of Botswana. Cape vultures have nested in Manyelanong for hundreds of years, but in the last 40 years or so their numbers have diminished considerably. In the late 1960s, the population dropped to 50 pair, but numbers have since increased. Today there are just under 70 breeding pairs of birds in the colony, but it is still one of the largest colonies of vultures in Botswana. The vultures can usually be clearly seen flying about the area and, when in season, the young birds are sitting on the rocks, which cover the hill.

Visitors are asked not to make excessive noise, disturb the birds in any way or leave any food lying around. At present it is though that the birds fly several hundreds of kilometres to the Kalahari Desert to scavenge food.

Nearby, north along the western side of Manyelanong Hill, is Refuge Cave, a large fault 50m up the cliff. Pottery has been found here, and the cave was probably used as a hiding place during the Boer invasions of the 1870s.