Summer at uMkhuze

uMkhuze Game Reserve, in the iSimangaliso Wetland Park and World Heritage Site, was the third destination of our epic summer 2014 bush holidays. We arrived at uMkhuze’s western gate, Emshopi, on the 18th of December, after an easy 164km drive from Ithala Game Reserve. Our reservation was for three nights in an extremely spacious cottage at Mantuma Rest Camp. When we say “extremely spacious”, we are not lying; you could have held a dance in the lounge!

Mantuma, uMkhuze, December 2014

Mantuma, uMkhuze, December 2014

We’ve already shared with you our experiences at two of uMkhuze’s biggest attractions, the Nsumo Pan and Kumasinga Hide, and in this post we’ll focus on some of the things we saw in the rest of this unique reserve.

Nsumo magic

Nsumo magic

Zebra reflections

Zebra reflections at Kumasinga

Of the bat, it has to be said that uMkhuze is one of South Africa’s best known birding destinations. The variety of birds is absolutely staggering, thanks to the diversity of habitats the reserve protects, and we were lucky to add a couple of new “lifers” to our birding tick list.

uMkhuze protects a sizable piece of sand forest, a very rare plant community in South Africa. An equally rare little antelope, the suni, lives only within this habitat. We had several sightings of them, but getting even a half-decent photograph of these shy creatures proved very difficult!

A pair of suni in the sand forest

A pair of suni in the sand forest

We also had our first sightings of large predators (on this trip) at uMkhuze. Lions were reintroduced to the reserve a year ago, and we were thrilled to find two females during a guided night drive. On our last afternoon at uMkhuze, we found a very shy spotted hyena lurking in the bush.

uMkhuze protects large populations of other well-known African mammals and they certainly were not shy to show themselves!

uMkhuze has its fair share of creepy-crawlies too!

I’ve already mentioned what a diverse reserve uMkhuze is, and there’s no better place to see this than from the top of the observation tower just a few kilometers south of Mantuma Rest Camp.

uMkhuze really is a gem in the crown of South Africa’s wild places, and we always enjoy visiting here. Leaving through the Ophansi Gate on uMkhuze’s eastern boundary we felt like we should have stayed a bit longer still, thankfully we could console ourselves by thinking about the great destinations that were still waiting for us on our summer trip to the bush!

Driving through the riverine forest at Ophansi Gate

Driving into the riverine forest at Ophansi Gate

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26 thoughts on “Summer at uMkhuze

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  4. Spokie sny spoor

    Oehoe … weer pragtige fotos, Dries. Soveel mooi diere gesien. Hou van jou seun wat ook so fotos neem. Die Header met die sonsondergang is vir my pragtig.

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    1. de Wets Wild Post author

      Baie dankie Spokie! Klein Joubert geniet die fotografie vreeslik, hy neem al fotos vandat hy 18 maande oud is 🙂 . Sy Pa en Ma gaan eendag hom rondry in die Parke en hy kan n lewe maak uit fotos en films!

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  5. Noortje Russel

    So gorgeous… all these wonderful animals! I’ve been to South Africa (and many parks) a few times, many years ago (for months)… and your photo’s always give me a kind of melancholic feeling, longing for that beautiful nature and all these special animals, wanting to go there again, but at the same time enjoying your wonderful capture of it! Thanks 🙂

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  6. mjculverphotography

    Another lovely post dear de Wets!!! You certainly managed to snap a really good shot of the suni. You should be proud of that one. So super that you got to see lion, that’s extra special. Joubert and his camera……..precious. Have a lovely weekend from both of us.

    Marks and Joey

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      1. mjculverphotography

        It’s been a great week, thanks so much Dries. We’ve just acquired two huge big monitors for our desktop. You know the saying “all the better to see you with”? Well now we can see without squinting at the screen.

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