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about ukhuze game reserve

The 40 000 ha (400 km2 )uMkhuze Game Reserve was proclaimed as a protected area on 15 February 1912. A place of great beauty and contrasts. A “Big 5” game reserve, uMkhuze is a typical bushveld protected area, having great beauty and contrast in that it has extensive wetlands on its south eastern section. The uMkhuze Section of the Isimangaliso Wetland Park (also referred to as uMkhuze Game Reserve) is renowned for it’s astonishing diversity of natural habitats. From the eastern slopes of the Ubombo mountains along it’s western boundary, to broad stretches of acacia savannah, swamps, a variety of woodlands and riverine forests as well as a rare type of sand forest. The uMkhuze River, with a beautiful 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, buffalo, lion, leopard, giraffe, nyala, blue wildebeest, warthog, hippo, impala, kudu and other smaller antelope. Harder to spot species occurring in the reserve are cheetah, hyena, suni, red duiker and side-striped jackal. The extensive wetlands and Nsumo Pan are host to many water birds, hippo and crocodile. 

uMkuze is definitely 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. A two to five day stay is recommended. Lists of over 100 species are usual, and over 200 for longer visits in summer. Booking (on arrival) is generally necessary for guided walks (Fig Tree Forest) and night game drives. 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 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. 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. 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.

Some useful visitor information

No pets are permitted in the reserve. No firewood may be collected in the reserve.

The water is chlorinated and filtered for human consumption at Mantuma. Mineral/spring water is on sale at the curio shop and Rhino-Dine-O take-away.

Basic foodstuffs and a variety of curio items are on sale at the curio shop.

It is advisable to bring binoculars, a first aid kit, a torch, insect repellent, a hat and sun-block.

Unleaded petrol and diesel are on sale at the Resort.

Visitors are urged to take precautions against malaria before, during and after a visit to the reserve.

Mosquito nets are provided in each accommodation unit.

Gate entry and closure times:

Summer 05:00 - 19:00 (1 November - 28 February)

Winter 06:00 - 18:00 (1 March - 31 October) These times are strictly enforced.

The accommodation complexes are either not fenced or do not have a totally game proof fence surrounding them. Please do not walk beyond the vicinity of your own chalet or campsite after sunset unless it is essential to do so, as wild animals do move within and through the camp after dark.

uMkhuze Mantuma: +27 (0) 71 320 0566

Central Reservations: +27 (0) 33 845 1000

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