North-east Zululand – iSimangaliso Lake Mavuya
About the Birding
Managed by Sappi since 1989, Lake Mavuya is a large wetland and lake immediately to the south of the Monzi-Futulu Park. While much of the lake is off-limits and used by the surrounding forestry company for sugar cane and eucalyptus plantations, the southern portion has been conserved. Lake Mavuya’s catchment is the meeting place for two rivers – the Mavuya and Ntenja Rivers – and the conservation area extends over 200 hectares including a catchment area of 95 hectares.
About the Birding Site
The iSimangaliso Wetlands Reserve has recently been proclaimed as a World Heritage Site and is one of South Africa’s oldest reserves established in 1895. The lake itself covers an area of around 38 000 hectares and is one of South Africa’s most important waterbird breeding sites. The iSimangaliso Wetland Park includes Mkhuze and Sodwana Bay, though these sites are treated separately. The surrounding habitats are extremely complex and varied including the estuary and its floodplains, numerous pans, dune and sand forests, coastal thickets, mangroves and grassland.
Other Related Information
From Durban or Johannesburg (via Pongola), take the N2 highway to Mtubatuba, which is situated about 100km south of the Hluhluwe offramp. Follow the St. Lucia signs. From Mtubatuba, drive for 16km and turn right at the Monzi/ Futululu signs. Travel for 7km until you cross the Mfolozi River. At the T-junction, on the southern bank of the river, turn to the west (inland) along the L79 and D780 roads. Lake Mavuya is located about 1km to the south and is accessible by following forestry tracks.