North-west Zululand – Vryheid Esikhuma (Mpofini Game Lodge)
About the Birding
The name Esikhuma is given to the mountain, situated roughly 10km to the south of Vryheid. The area surrounding the mountain comprises mixed thornveld, forest and cliffs along the main drainage lines. The site is spread across private land, but birding is possible along the main district roads and in the Mpofini Game Lodge just to the north of the mountain itself.
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 Vryheid, take the R34 to Melmoth. After 9km, turn left down the D34 gravel road. This road takes one under a railway bridge, up to the base of the mountain, and then flanks it on the right-hand side. On the bend, a cliff is visible on the left. Just before the bridge mentioned above, one can turn either left or right and follow the railway line. Either road loops back to the tar road (R34) and both are good for birds.