North-west Zululand – Ulundi Opathe Game Reserve
About the Birding
Opathe Game Reserve is a spectacular rugged reserve, comprising over 8 800 hectares of lush bushveld, mistbelt forests, and highveld grassland. The reserve is rich in Zulu history, at the north-eastern end of the Valley of the Kings (eMakhosini). Ophathe falls within the immediate catchment of the White Umfolozi River, with diverse topography varying from 987m above sea level in the south-west sector of the reserve to 270m above sea level in the eastern sector.
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
Off the main tar road linking Melmoth and Vryheid (the R68 which becomes the R34), take the R66 to Ulundi. The main entrance to the reserve is on the right-hand side of the road approximately 1 km before crossing the White Umfolozi River to Ulundi.
Notable points of interest include the:
Main entrance: -28.3760, 31.3703
Mars cottage: -28.3931, 31.4511