Bokoni Verlorenkloof

People from the North

Your Origin Safari should include an overland visit to the Bokoni settlements on the Mpumalanga escarpment, 3 hours east of Johannesburg. At the Verlorenkloof private reserve are scattered the remnants of the forgotten world of the Bokoni.

Archaeology and history

From 1500 until the 1820s, Bokoni society dominated the area. It successfully combined cattle farming with crop production, making extensive (and unique at the time) use of stone terracing. It represented the largest intensive farming system in south and east Africa and its remnants provide ample evidence of high levels of innovation, skill and agrarian specialization.

The stability of Bokoni society and economy was destroyed in the 1820s by the armies of new, more militarized states such as the Swazi and Zulu kingdoms which intruded into the area. Its population rapidly dispersed or were taken captive and assimilated into the societies of its conquerors.

At Verlorenkloof extensive evidence of the stone terracing used for crop production and the intricate circular stone kraaling systems that protected cattle at night can be seen and explored. The reserve has in excess of 120 recorded sites which are being surveyed by archaeologists and historians.

Accommodation and activities

Accommodation in the reserve, both catered and un-catered, is in beautiful, well-appointed and spacious ‘crofts’, each of which offers spectacular views of the surrounding mountains and indigenous forests. The Reserve is criss-crossed by mountain streams and pools that support trout fishing and bathing.

Verlorenkloof serves as a perfect stop-over to the lowveld and the Kruger National Park. Visitors interested in the Anglo Boer War (1899-1902) can explore the ruins of forts, artillery placements, trenches and grave sites in the small towns and villages that surround the Reserve.


The Bokoni ruins are located in an area of outstanding natural beauty. The Verlorenkloof estate occupies a beautifully secluded valley along the Drakensberg escarpment, incorporating highveld grassland, afro montagne forest and pristine bushveld. It is a renowned botany and birding hot spot, with  over 300 bird species and 450 plant species now recorded.

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