North-west Zululand – Louwsberg Ithala Game Reserve
About the Birding
Ithala Game Reserve is situated between the Ngotshe Mountain in the South and the Phongola River in the north. Covering an area of over 29 000 hectares in size, Ithala is dominated by an undulating topography with rolling hills, high cliffs, wooded drainage lines, riverine forest, grassland and thornveld habitats. Moreover, with an immense altitudinal difference of over 1000m, the reserve attracts an incredible diversity of species including well over 330 bird species.
About the Birding Site
North-west Zululand is one of the most varied of the birding routes in KwaZulu-Natal ranging in habitat from high altitude temperate grasslands in the west, to low lying subtropical thickets in the east including several large wetlands. Given this incredibly high habitat diversity, it is no surprise that the route also boasts an impressive checklist of birds including 58 of Southern Africa’s endemic and near-endemic species, many of which are confined to the extensive grasslands and wetlands.
Other Related Information
Travelling from Johannesburg, drive through Vryheid and take the R69 to Louwsburg. Turn left to Louwsburg and follow the signs. The reserve lies about 10km past the town. Coming from Durban, travel up the N2, turn off onto the R66 at Phongola, proceed for about 20km and then turn right onto the R69. Continue to the Louwsburg turnoff and follow the signs.
Notable points of interest include the:
Main entrance: -27.5464, 31.3134