Tag Archives: Mantuma Rest Camp

Our 2017 in pictures

Looking back at the places we stayed at during another year of enjoying South Africa’s beautiful wild places.

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Close Up

This toad was waiting for us at the back door of our cottage in Mantuma Rest Camp at uMkhuze Game Reserve, in the iSimangaliso Wetland Park, when we visited in December 2014.

Close Up

Close Up” is the theme for this week’s WordPress Photo Challenge.

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

Summer in the bush: uMkhuze, 18 December 2014

This morning we departed from Ithala and headed here to uMkhuze Game Reserve, part of the greater iSimangaliso Wetland Park World Heritage Site. And what a welcome; encountering two of the reserve’s lionesses on a guided night drive!

uMkhuze 18122014

 

uMkhuze Game Reserve

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!