Southern Zululand – Mtunzini Ongoye Forest Reserve
About the Birding
The Ongoye Forest Reserve lies about 150km north of Durban, between the towns of Mtunzini, Eshowe and Empangeni. It is a large remnant patch of coastal forest, 3903 hectares in extent and laying along a ridge line overlooking the Indian Ocean. This beautiful forest is interspersed with patches of rolling grasslands between granite outcrops. Ongoye Forest is the only place to see the endemic race of Green Barbet in southern Africa.
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
At Mtunzini, turn off the N2 freeway and head inland (west). At a T-junction turn right (north) and take the old road north to Empangeni (R102). About 4km north of the Forest Inn, turn left onto a dirt road, just before what was an old Shell Service station. Follow this road for 4.5km and turn right onto D1554. Continue on this road to just past the Manzamnyama School on your left. After 5Km’s turn right onto a small track …