KwaZulu Natal, a perfect setting for a safari with it’s mountains, walk through savannah, ancient forests and pristine white sand beaches.
KwaZulu Natal boasts an abundance of game that roams freely in protected areas including sightings of the Big 5 and a wealth of flora and fauna from thorn trees to dung beetles to bearded vultures. No other province in South Africa is home to such a diversity of natural features as KZN. There are beautiful grassy plains, cascading rivers, snow covered mountains, rolling hills, forests, beaches, the warm Indian Ocean and coral reefs. What makes this province special is it’s array of both private and state game reserves, marine reserves and conservation areas. The province is also steeped in culture and history stemming from the Zulu people who you will meet on your journey.
Kosi Forest Reserve
This 11000 ha tropical paradise of crystal-clear blue water is home to marshland, raffia, wild date and palm, mangrove swamp and sycamore fig forest. Providing a home for around 250 species of bird, among them the fish eagle , palmnut vulture, whitebacked heron, the night heron and purple and reed kingfisher. Small animals such as Bushbuck, duiker and monkey inhabit the forested parts whilst you will always enjoy sightings of hippopo and crocodile as they bask in and around the lakes. Highlights include the leatherback turtles coming onto the beaches to lay their eggs around December/January as well as the traditional fish traps which have been used for 700 years. As most of the ‘roads’ in the area are sand tracks, a 4X4 is required to fully access all the areas of the park.
Hluhluwe Umfolozi Game Reserve
KZN became famous throughout the world in the 1960’s for it conservation efforts during “Operation Rhino” which was largely based at Hluhluwe-Imfolozi game reserve, the oldest game reserve in Africa. This unprecedented conservation effort saw rhino return from the brink of extinction and the conservation legacy continues to this day. Hluhluwe Game Reserve boasts a large population of both black and white rhino. The Big 5 roam freely including wild dog and cheetah and as the Park covers some 96 000 ha it contains an immense diversity of fauna and flora. Hluhluwe is characterised by hilly topography,and this northen section of the park is noted for its wide variety of both bird and animal life.
Nambiti Private Game Reserve
Set within 22 000 magnificent acres near the town of Ladysmith, only 4 hours drive from Johannesburg/Pretoria and 2,5 hours from Durban and close to the renowned KZN battlefields, a major attraction of this region. Malaria Free, this reserve boasts the attractions of the Big 5, with a biodiversity (it encompasses grasslands, riverine bush, savannah and thornveld) that ensures a thrilling and unprecedented diversity of game (there are 40 other game species) and birding sightings.The undulating terrain of the south with its open acacia-clad valleys rises up to the flat open plains in the centre (which host good concentrations of plains game) which then descend again to the riverine valleys of the north where the Sundays River cuts its path through the reserve
iSimangaliso Wetland Park
The iSimangaliso Wetland Park, declared South Africa’s first World Heritage Site in ’99 consists of 332 000 hectare Park boasting 3 major lake systems,8 interlinking ecosystems, 700 year old fishing traditions, most of South Africa’s remaining swamp forests, Africa’s largest estuarine system, 526 bird species and 25 000 year-old coastal dunes – among the highest in the world. The area has close on 400 species of birds and makes up part of the breeding grounds used by Loggerhead and Leatherback Turtles, which can be viewed on evening ‘turtle safaris’ arranges by most private camps in the area.
Phinda Private Game Reserve
An ecologically diverse private game reserve that spans a number of different and unique habitat types ranging from endemic sand forest to typical savannah broad-leafed woodland. Fabulous wildlife photographic opportunities available as well as spectacular scenery. Close big 5 encounters under the guidance of expert guides in open safari vehicles can be expected. The reserve is also renowned for its relaxed cheetah population and healthy black rhino numbers. Birding on the property is incredible with well over 400 bird species recorded so far. There are six lodges on the property each distinctly different from each other so it is a popular destination for returning guests.