South Coast – Weza-Ngele Forest

About the Birding

Weza-Ngele Forest is one of the largest and most accessible tracts of Afromontane mistblet forests in all of KwaZulu-Natal. The forest is located roughly 80Km inland from the coast and ranges in altitude between 1250m and 1550m above sea level. It is traversable by a network of trails that cover a large part of the forest, along which it is possible to see all of the main special species including the Cape Parrot, Orange Ground Thrush and Bush Blackcap.

Roughly 220 species of bird are possible within the forest and totals of around 70 species are possible on a day’s visit.

To maximise your chances at seeing the Cape Parrot, attempt to visit the forest early in the morning and late in the afternoon and watch for the birds flying above the forest canopy. They are usually heard before they are seen, announcing their presence with their loud calls. Two other primary targets within the forest always include the near-endemic Bush Blackcap and the Orange Ground Thrush. The latter frequents mixed-species foraging flocks in the canopy, while the Thrush prefers steep and damp ravines in the densest parts of the forest interior. Other notable species to look for include the Common Square-tailed Drongo, African Olive Pigeon, Lemon and Tambourine Doves, African Emerald Cuckoo (summer), Narina Trogon, Trumpeter and Crowned Hornbills, Olive Woodpecker, Terrestrial Brownbul, Grey Cuckooshrike, Chorister Robin-chat, White-starred Robin, Yellow-throated Woodland Warbler, Bar-throated Apalis, Green-backed Camaroptera, Blue-mantled Crested Flycatcher, Olive Bush-shrike, Southern Double-collared Sunbird, and Dark-backed Weaver. Seeding forest grasses attract both the Swee Waxbill and Green Twinspot, the latter best-detected by its high-pitched contact calls. Barratt’s Warbler is noticeably common at this site – though is challenging to see.

Key species:

Orange Ground Thrush, Cape Parrot, Barratt’s Warbler, Bush Blackcap, Knysna Turaco, Green Twinspot

About the Birding Site

The South Coast Birding Route in KwaZulu-Natal – spanning from Durban to the southern provincial border between KwaZulu-Natal and the Eastern Cape – comprises a variety of rich sub-tropical habitats ranging from coastal and inland wetlands to extensive grasslands, woodlands and forests. The forest birding to be had in this region is arguably some of the best anywhere in South Africa, featuring an interesting community of birds that is intermediate between the rich afromontane and coastal forests.

It is the only route within KwaZulu-Natal where these two diverse forest assemblages overall and, for this reason, birding in this area is extremely rewarding. Several species reach their northernmost limits within this route including the sought-after Knysna Woodpecker and Knysna Warbler, while other notable highlights include the Magpie Mannikin, Knynsa Turaco, and Red-headed Quelea. Moreover, the route boasts many of KwaZulu-Natal’s most revered birding sites including Vernon Crookes Nature Reserve, Oribi Gorge Nature Reserve and the Weza-Ngele Forest among others. Several days are recommended in the area to afford yourself with the best chances of finding the most sought-after species.

Key species:

Orange Ground Thrush, Cape Parrot, Barratt’s Warbler, Bush Blackcap, Knysna Turaco, Green Twinspot

Other Related Information

The forest is situated between the towns of Harding and Kokstad, and North of the small forestry town of Weza. From Durban follow the N2 freeway down the coast to Port Shepstone and then inland to Harding. About 28km after Harding, the Ingeli Forest Lodge is visible on the left-hand side of the road. Immediately after this, the N2 goes directly through a large part of the forest. It is best to park at the Ingeli Forest Lodge parking area to gain access to the forest.

Other related information:

Notable points of interest include the:
Ingeli Forest Lodge: -30.5372, 29.6855

The nearest towns to Weza-Ngele Forest are:
Kokstad: 40km
Harding: 28km
Port Shepstone: 103km

Access and facilities:
Weza-Ngele Forest is under state control. A day-permit, for which there is a nominal charge, can be obtained from the Ingeli Forest Lodge reception. A network of trails and forestry roads pass through the forest and it is best to ask for directions to these from the reception desk at the Ingeli Forest Lodge, from where a map may be obtained. Refreshments, toilet facilities and a comprehensive bird list covering the Weza-Ngele area are also available at the lodge.

Recommended accommodation nearby:
Luxurious accommodation is available through the Ingeli Forest Lodge in 44 spacious country rooms, all featuring their own verandas and overlooking their forests. A variety of room types are available to suit families, and corporate clients. Moreover, rooms can be split into sharing rooms to accommodate larger groups. Features available through the hotel include complimentary wifi, a restaurant and bar, laundry services, swimming pool, kids playroom and playground, trail running routes, mini gold and an animal farm.

For more information, or to make a reservation, please contact:
ANEW Resort Ingeli Forest
Tel: +27 (0)39 553 0600

The nearest Birder Friendly Establishments are in the nearby village of Margate. For more information, please visit:

Local guide information:
A BirdLife Community Guide operates out of the nearby Umtamvuna Nature Reserve and Oribi Gorge. For more information, please contact: Mpendulo Innocent Mzindle on cell: +27 (0)73 893 0241. Alternatively, please visit:

Text prepared by:
Daniel Keith Danckwerts (Rockjumper Worldwide Birding Tours)

Key species:

Orange Ground Thrush, Cape Parrot, Barratt’s Warbler, Bush Blackcap, Knysna Turaco, Green Twinspot

Contact details:

For more information, contact:

Ingeli Forest Lodge
Reception tel: +27 (0)39 553 0600