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PelicanLocated in northern Kwazulu-Natal, South Africa, the uMkhuze Section of the iSimangaliso Wetland Park World Heritage Site was proclaimed in 1912..

It falls within the iSimangaliso Wetland Park (formerly known as the St. Lucia Wetland Park) World Heritage Site. Ezemvelo KZN Wildlife (EKZNW) is the conservation management authority for KwaZulu-Natal province in South Africa, and has as it’s mandate the conservation of indigenous biodiversity in the province.

A place of great beauty and high contrasts, the uMkhuze Section of the iSimangaliso Wetland Park (also referred to as uMkhuze Game Reserve) is renowned for its astonishing diversity of natural habitats and is a mecca for bird watchers. From the eastern slopes of the Ubombo mountains along its eastern boundary, to broad stretches of acacia savannah, swamps, a variety of woodlands and riverine forests as well as a substantial and rare sand forest found in the heart of the reserve.

The uMkhuze River, with a picturesque stretch of fig forest along its banks, curves along the Reserve’s northern and eastern borders. This diversity of habitats means a wide variety of animal species including black and white rhinoceros, elephant, giraffe, nyala, blue wildebeest, warthog, hippo, impala, kudu and other smaller antelope. Cheetah, hyena, suni, wild dog, lion and leopard are among the rare species occurring in uMkhuze.


uMkhuze is unquestionably among the top ten birding spots in Southern Africa. It boasts a list of over 450 species, a wide range of habitats, and relatively easy access to most areas. To ensure you make the most of your birding experience, a two to five day stay is recommended. Lists of over 100 species are usual and over 200 for longer visits in summer. The park office will provide detailed directions, maps, and arrange game guards if required. Booking (on arrival) is generally necessary for guided walks and night drives.

owl Birding specials include Southern Banded Snake-Eagle, Pel’s Fishing-Owl, Broad-billed Roller, African Broadbill, Flappet Lark, Eastern Nicator, Olive-tree Warbler, Rudd’s Apalis, Gorgeous Bush-Shrike, Neergaard’s Sunbird, Pink-throated Twinspot, African Pygmy-Goose and Dwarf Bittern. The sand forest around kuBube and kuMasinga hides supports Crested Guinea fowl, African Broadbill, Eastern Nicator, Rudd’s Apalis, Gorgeous Bush-Shrike, Neergaard’s Sunbird and Pink-throated Twinspot. Nsumo Pan has a number of hides and a pleasant picnic site where you can watch hippos. Birds include Pink-backed Pelican, Yellow-billed Stork, Goliath Heron, African Pygmy-Goose, Lesser Jacana, Whiskered Tern and occasionally, Pel’s Fishing-Owl and the south side of Nsumo Pan for large colonies of Yellow-billed Stork and Pink-backed Pelican in the breeding season. Fish eagles swoop over the pans, snatching prey spotted from their perches in the fever trees.

The Fig Forest walk (escorted) is best in the early morning, and birds include Southern Banded Snake-Eagle, Green Malkoha, Broad-billed Roller (summer), White-eared Barbet, Scaly-throated Honeyguide, Blue-mantled Crested-Flycatcher and Green Twinspot. Look out for Senegal Lapwing and Olive-tree Warbler at the Airfield in summer. Night drives yield a variety of owls, nightjars, plovers, coursers and nocturnal animals.

Three game viewing hides have been constructed next to the kuBube, kuMasinga, kwaMalibala pans. Visitors park their cars and enter the hides on foot. Depending on the surface water in the reserve, but normally during the drier winter months, large concentrations of game may be seen at the waterholes. Visitors are therefore offered excellent views of most of the reserve’s larger mammals. These hides offer unique opportunities to photographers and many famous wildlife pictures have been taken there.

Facilities include a good network of roads, game viewing hides, guided trails, picnic sites, night drives, private bush camp, tented Safari Camp, camp site, swimming pool and hunting in the Control Hunting Area (CHA). The shop sells curios and a limited range of supplies.


 

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The nearest town which has a full range of services is Mkuze which is 27 kms away.

Gate Opening and Closing Times:Summer ( October to March ) 05:00 to 19:00 Winter (April to September ) 06:00 to 18:00 | Camp Telephone Number: +27 35 5739001 / 573 9004. The office is open from 08:00 to 16:30

How to get there: For visitors from the south, the turn off to Mkhuze is signposted 35 kms north of Hluhluwe. From this point, the road is gravel. Approximately 15 kms further is another signposted road through the Lebombo mountains. The entrance to the reserve is 10 kms along this road which is clearly signposted. Visitors from the north must travel to Mkuze village which is 18 kms from the entrance gate and 28 kms from Mantuma camp.