Mkuze Game Reserve, KwaZulu-Natal
Did you know?
Mkuze is close enough for day drives into the St Lucia wetlands or to the coast.
It’s hard to believe, as one gazes inland from the reeds and mangroves of the iSimangaliso Wetland Park in northern Kwazulu-Natal, that Mkuze Game Reserve is so close, with its gently rolling acacia savannah and woodlands, including groves of scented thorn trees.
It also has swamps, and riverine forest, and mountains and grasslands. In fact, Mkuze crams a bewildering array of habitats into its 40 000 hectares. There are spreading lake-like pans ringed by yellow-barked fever tree forests; rare sand-forests with dark spreading sherbert trees; and wetlands that thrum with birdlife.
In winter, there are huge concentrations of game at the pans and waterholes – black and white rhinoceros, elephant, zebra, giraffe, nyala, blue wildebeest, eland, and if you’re lucky, cheetah, leopard, hyena, red duiker and the tiny suni antelope.
The black rhino you see are descendants of animals that were here since the park was declared in 1912. The white rhino, though, are some of the first that were brought in from what is now the Hluhluwe-Imfolozi Game Reserve by Dr Ian Player and his team in their heroic rhino rescue during the 1950s and 1960s.
There’s also a chance of seeing serval cats, which love hunting around wetlands. Around the camps, you’re almost certain to see large-spotted genets after dark.
Mkuze is also one of South Africa’s top birding spots, with 420 species recorded here. At pans like Kubube and Kamasinga you can leave your car for the cool shade of the hides and contemplate birds and animals for hours. Here you might be lucky enough to spot a red-billed helmetshrike, and almost certainly the gorgeous bush-shrike and pink-throated twinspot.
At Nhlonhlela Pan, you can sit in quiet tranquillity on the shaded viewing platform, watching as jacana birds tread delicately across lily pads and fish eagles stand sentinel, on the lookout for unwary tilapia fish.
Travel tips & Planning info
Who to contact
Mkuze Game Reserve
Tel: +27 (0) 35 573 9004/9001
Fax: +27 (0) 35 573 0031
Ezemvelo KwaZulu-Natal Wildlife Reservations
Tel: +27 (0) 33 845 1000
Fax: +27 (0) 33 845 1001