Southern Zululand – Eshowe Lake Phobane
About the Birding
Lake Phobane (previously known as Goedertrouw Dam) is conveniently situated about 15km north of Eshowe and is the second biggest dam in KwaZulu-Natal. It is fed by seven rivers, of which four flow all year round. The dam is set in the Umhlatuze Valley with the Mabelebele Mountains offering a spectacular backdrop for this beautiful dam. The habitats along the dam vary from dry acacia scrub to tall mixed woodland, riverine forest patches and mountainous areas with cliffs up to 100m high dropping into the water.
About the Birding Site
Southern Zululand is perhaps the premier forest birding route in all of KwaZulu-Natal, home to a rich diversity of species in a mix of different habitats. Starting on the warm coast of Zululand, between Mtunzini and Richard’s Bay, the route offers many estuarine swamp forests supporting impressive numbers of threatened species including the Mangrove Kingfisher and Black-throated Wattle-eye. Coastal forests here are equally rich in species and are perhaps the best areas anywhere in South Africa to search for the Spotted Ground Thrush (mainly a winter visitor) and Palm-nut Vulture.
Other Related Information
From Eshowe head towards Melmoth/Ulundi on the R66. About 10km out of Eshowe is a dirt road to your left (signposted Goedertrouw Dam and Shakaland). Follow this road (suitable for a sedan car) for 7km and cross the dam wall to find the secure parking area on the northern shore.
Notable points of interest include the:
Lake Phobane parking area: -28.7757, 31.4705