North-east Zululand – Mkhuze Game Reserve
About the Birding
Mkhuze Game Reserve (now included into the Greater iSimangaliso Wetlands Park) was proclaimed in 1912 to protect well in excess of 40 000 hectares of open woodland, riverine forest, pristine sand forest, acacia thornveld and numerous large pans. It is widely regarded as one of the premier birding destinations in South Africa, boasting one of the highest checklists for any protected area in the country (exceeding 400 species!). This includes several of South Africa’s most sought-after species, most of which are readily found within the reserve.
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
From Hluhluwe town, take the N2 north. Signposted approximately 50km’s north, is the town of Mkuze. Follow the road through town to the T-junction, (avoiding the left-hand fork to the business centre). Here take a right turn and follow the gravel road, suitable for sedan cars, for about 10km. Look out for the signboard which indicates the left turn leading into Mkhuze Game Reserve. If coming from the north, Mkuze village is about 60km from Pongola Town.