Mkhuze Fig Forest
Did you know?
The sycamore fig has a symbiotic relationship with a fig wasp, which pollinates it, and lives inside the fruit.
The enchanting Mkhuze Fig Forest forms part of the Mkhuze Game Reserve and lies within the iSimangaliso Wetland Park World Heritage Site, along KwaZulu-Natal's Elephant Coast.
The Mkhuze Fig Forest is one of the most fascinating parts of the Mkhuze Game Reserve. The Mkhuze River curves along the reserve's northern and eastern borders and along its banks you'll come upon the forest, the only unspoilt indigenous fig forest of its kind in Africa.
The fig forest is just one of Mkhuze Game Reserve's many diverse natural habitats, which stretch from the eastern slopes of the Lebombo mountains in the east, to expanses of acacia savannah, wetland swamps and a variety of woodland and riverine forests. A rare sand forest also forms part of the reserve.
The fig forest enchants travellers with its rich birdlife and massive, rare sycamore fig trees – some with a circumference of 12m! The trees have intricately buttressed trunks and yellow bark, which makes them glow in the forest.
You may prefer to explore Mkhuze from the confines of your car, but for a more enriching experience, take in the beauty at close range by hiking through the fig forest along the banks of the Mkhuze River.
These sycamore figs have the virtue of bearing fruit all year round, which means they are a favourite with all kinds of bird and animal species.Birds, bats, baboons and monkeys help themselves from the branches, while buck and warthog graze them from the ground.
Because of the rare bird species that nest here, and those attracted by the fruit, a staggering 420 bird species have been recorded at Mkhuze. Along the way you'll also discover pans and waterholes where wild animals drink daily. Larger species include leopard, elephant, cheetah, hyena and the delightful and diminitive suni antelope.
Game drives and guided birding tours are especially popular and a guided fig tree walk in Mkhuze comes highly recommended. Look out for special species like the yellow-rumped tinkerbird, the green twinspot, the blue-mantled crested-flycatcher and the trumpeter hornbill.
Travel tips & Planning info
Who to contact
Mkhuze 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
How to get here
Around the area
Tours to do
The Fig Forest Guided Walking Trail is considered one of the highlights of a visit to Mkhuze.
What will it cost
A guided fig forest tour costs approx R180 per person. Accommodation generally costs between approx R180 and R320 a night, depending on whether it is a chalet or champing, and how many people are sharing.