North-east Zululand – Lower Mkhuze including the Mpempe Pans
About the Birding
Lower Mkhuze constitutes a large wetland floodplain system down-stream of Mkhuze Game Reserve including the Muzi Pans. The area is controlled by Ezemvelo KZN Widlife and forms part of the Greater St. Lucia Wetlands Park – a UNESCO World Heritage Site. The Mkhuze River crosses the main Hluhluwe-Sodwana road and heads into Yengweni and Muszi Swamps areas before ultimately filtering into the northern parts of Lake St. Lucia.
About the Birding Site
The Mkhuze area, situated just inland from iSimangaliso Wetlands Park, is world-renowned as a mecca for birders laying at the ecotone between two distinct climatic zones and supporting a high diversity of habitats. Habitats in the region include cliffs, rocky ridges and scarp forests on the eastern slopes of the Lebombo mountains, through to acacia savannah, mixed woodlands and grasslands surrounding Lower Mkhuze. Numerous large pans are also scattered throughout the region and, although water-levels vary from year to year, are widely regarded as the most important waterbird breeding sites anywhere in South Africa.
Other Related Information
To the bridge over the Mkhuze River: From the N2 highway, take the Hluhluwe off-ramp 50km north of Mtubatuba. Turn right back over the freeway and drive into town. Take a left turn at the T-junction, proceed for about 2km, and then take a right-hand turn to False Bay. Proceed up the R22 tar road for about 50km, taking care over the frequent speed control bumps. The bridge is not sign-posted, but the riverine forest will make it quite visible. Stop just before or after the bridge and walk back onto it.