North-west Zululand – Umfolozi Game Reserve
About the Birding
The Umfolozi Game Reserve is the larger of the two sections within the Hluhluwe-Umfolozi Complex and is a well-known and frequently visited destination, in north-western Zululand. Although probably better known as a ‘Big 5’ reserve, the park is rich in birdlife and is considered one of the top birding destinations in all of South Africa. Umfolozi is home to more than 45 species of raptors and, for this reason alone, it is worth visiting the reserve.
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
There are two entrances to the park, one from the west and one from the east. The western gate is the main gate, situated on the R618. From Durban, take the N2 highway northbound to Mtubatuba. Turn left on the R618 and continue for about 30km. Nyalazi Gate is situated on the left-hand side of the road, and the park is well signposted.