Heaven to bird watchers and a paradise for photographers!
The uMkhuze Game Reserve, which celebrated its centenary on the 12th of February 2012, is today an integral part of the greater Isimangaliso Wetland Park (a World Heritage Site) and is one of South Africa’s most ecologically diverse conservation areas. It is located in the north of Kwazulu-Natal province, roughly 500 kilometres south-east of Johannesburg or 350 kilometres north of Durban, very near the N2-national highway which makes it a very easy-to-reach destination.
The reserve is probably best known as a mecca for bird watchers, with over 400 bird species having been identified here.
This abundant birdlife is attracted to the reserve by the wide array of habitats, stretching from the slopes of the Lebombo Mountains through gently rolling bushveld and dense woodlands to thick riparian forests, swamps and the magnificent watery expanse of Nsumo Pan.
With the exception of lion, uMkhuze provides sanctuary to good numbers of almost all South Africa’s big game and large predators. (EDIT: Lions were reintroduced to uMkhuze in late 2013)
Photographers have been well catered for, with several hides and platforms available in which visitors can easily spend hours or even the entire day watching the continuous processions of animals and birds slaking their thirst at the water’s edge.
Mantuma is the main camp in uMkhuze. Here you will find a curio shop with basic items for sale, a swimming pool and the delightfully named “Rhino Dine-O” take-away kiosk catering to the needs of the reserve’s guests. The elegant nyala often make themselves at home amongst the huts in the unfenced Mantuma Camp. A spacious and very shady camping area at the Emshopi entrance gate accommodates up to 100 campers at a time.
uMkhuze Game Reserve offers so much to experience that there’s always something left to explore and that’s ample reason to return again and again!