North-west Zululand – Ulundi Emakhosini Heritage Park
About the Birding
eMakhosini is steeped in Zulu history. Directly translated from Zulu, this area is known as the ‘Place of Kings’ and served as the home to a number of Zulu kings including Dingaan. The birding site covers the entire stretch of road from the main R34 tar road from Melmoth to Vryheid to the main tar road from Melmoth to Babanango. The surface is gravel but is kept in good condition and is traversable throughout the year in sedan-type vehicles. The bottom of the valley is covered in bushveld and this merges to grassland as one climbs up towards Babanango.
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
From Babanango, take the tar road down to Melmoth and turn left after 3km at the sign “Denny Dalton”. This road continues for about 22km till it reaches the R34 Melmoth/ Vryheid tar road. From Melmoth, travel north up to Vryheid and take the “Babanango” turn-off to the left after about 39km.
Notable points of interest include the:
eMakhosini Opathe Heritage Park: -28.4146, 31.3030