North-west Zululand – Pongola Hlatikhulu Forest
About the Birding
Hlatikhulu Forest is situated atop the Lebombo Mountains, north-west of the town of Jozini. The forest combines features of the high-altitude mist-belt and low-altitude forests and is thus unique in structure featuring a fairly low canopy and an extremely thick understory. A pleasant mix of low and high-altitude forest species occur, as well as more widespread forest species. High altitude species include the Bar-throated Apalis, Olive Woodpecker, White-starred Robin, Cape Batis and Olive Bush-shrike.
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
Take the Jozini turn-off from the N2 highway 10km north of the town of Mkuze and proceed straight through the town. You will cross over the Pongolapoort Dam wall, and as you get to the other side, zero your clock in your vehicle. Travel north along the tar road for 3.4km, and turn left onto a gravel road. There is a signpost here “Msiyane High School”…