Mkuze Game Reserve – Solitude in Nature
Mkuze Game Reserve, in the north of Zululand, makes up a portion of the well-known Greater St Lucia Wetland Park World Heritage Site. Declared a protected region in 1912, Mkuze encompasses some 40,000 hectares of diverse natural beauty and panoramic splendor. Offering an amazing wildlife experience in the KwaZulu-Natal province, Mkuze Game Reserve is a romantic getaway for couples, an adventure for families and the ultimate African holiday destination for international tourists.
Mkuze Game Reserve is probably best known for its astonishing abundance of bird life. Avid bird watchers can expect to spot dozens of birds, since there are over 420 species residing in the reserve. The landscape is breathtakingly attractive as the Mkuze River winds its way around the eastern and northern borders of the game reserve. An impressive fig forest lines the rivers banks and magnificent fish eagles soar above the waters. The Lebombo Mountains, which create the eastern boundary of Mkuze, merge into a great diversity of habitats which range from acacia savanna through to woodlands and swamps. The Mkuze Game Reserve is also home to a very rare ‘sand forest’. This great diversity in habitat and plant life creates the ideal environment for a wonderful variety of animal species. A number of majestic species – such as elephant, leopard, cheetah, kudu, rhinoceros, nyala and eland – roam the park. Accompanying them are creatures such as warthogs, hippopotamus, hyena, lizards, snakes, frogs and other little creatures.
It is not always easy to spot animals in the wild as they are well-camouflaged and move very quietly through the vegetation. To provide visitors with further opportunities to view wildlife, Mkuze has 3 hides at the Kwamalibala, Kubube and Kamasinga water pans. Several species can be seen at these waterholes, particularly in the drier winter months. During spring it is a real delight to visit the Nhlonhlela and Nsumo pans where you can view hippopotamus, crocodile, geese, ducks and pelicans. You can also round off your African bush experience by stopping at the KwaJobe Zulu cultural village.
Mkuze Game Reserve has several accommodation options for visitors. At Mantuma Camp you can choose from chalets or safari tents, while the Nhlonhlela Bush Lodge is a fantastic 8-bed lodge with a communal lounge and kitchen. The bush lodge looks out over the stunning Nhlonhlela Pan so you will always have plenty to see even if you don’t go out much. If you are visiting KwaZulu-Natal soon, be sure to include Mkuze Game Reserve on your vacation itinerary.