Southern Zululand – Melmoth Nkandla Forest
About the Birding
Nkandla Forest is situated about 30km south-west of Qudeni Forest, as the crow flies, and about 56km north-west of the town of Eshowe and 68km from Melmoth. The Nkandla Forest comprises 1600 hectares of climax mistbelt forest and is one of the most outstanding examples of this habitat type anywhere in South Africa. The forest covers the crown and south-western slopes of the ridge, which lie above the Umhlathuze and Tugela rivers at a height of between 1100m and 1300m above sea level.
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
Directions from Melmoth or Vryheid:
At the Melmoth Total garage on the R66/R34 through town, zero your trip meter. Proceed north on the R66/R34 to Vryheid/Ulundi. At 4.5km turn left onto the R68 signposted Babanango and Nkandla.
Some features to note along the way:
At 17km you will see on the left a gravel road to KwaMagwaza Mission Hospital at 26.5km a gravel road to your right going to Mtonjaneni the Babanango turn off is at 28.3km on your right at 32km you will pass a signpost for Fort Prospect the bridge over the Umhlathuze is at 40km …