Ophathe Game Reserve was proclaimed in 1991. Situated on the southern banks of the White Mfolozi river, this 8825 ha reserve is less than 10 kms from Ulundi and, more significantly, at the edge of the eMakhosini valley.
The initial purpose for proclamation of Ophathe was "to serve as a sanctuary for the endangered Black Rhino and possibly other endangered species as well. "
Fauna and flora were to be managed and conserved so as to allow sustainable utilization of resources and protection for sensitive ecosystems.
Falling from the heights of the Lebombo Mountains down across the Phongolopoort Dam to typical african savannah in the west, this reserve is the oldest proclaimed conservation area in Africa.
Proclaimed on the 13th of June 1894 by President Paul Kruger and reproclaimed in 1903, ostensively to protect declining game numbers, but in reality as a stratagy for the old Transvaal Republic to gain access to the sea, the reserve contains a large number of special ecosystems and habitats. These include the unique veld type called Golela, which is an important Suni antelope breeding habitat.
The species rich Lobombo Mountain forests found in deep moist soils in the south-east facing valleys and slopes on the eastern side of the reserve, and the western savannah with Themeda grassveld dotted with knobthorns and maroela trees.
The area boasts a bird list of over 300 species and a range of plains game including white rhino, giraffe, blue wildebeest, kudu, impala, nyala, warthog, waterbuck, common and mountain reedbuck and zebra. Elephants have just been recently re-introduced!
Ozabeni lies north of Lake St Lucia, west of the Maputoland Marine Reserve, east of the Mkuzi river and swamps, and south of Sodwana Bay National Park and Mbazwana town.
Covering an area of 46 OOOha, it is generally flat and low lying except for the dunes along the eastern perimeter.
Dotted with many pans and small lakes, the entire area is part of a wetland system draining into Lake St Lucia. During the preceding centuries, rivers changed course, dunes have moved and sediments have flooded over the area gradually filling the ancestral Lake St Lucia with silt until the northern-most sections formed into what is now the Ozabeni, a flat, low-lying wetland draining into modern St Lucia, now much reduced in size.
Much of the land is covered either by grasses in the drier sections or reeds and sedges in the wetter areas whilst the eastern dune lines are covered in dune forests.
Along the north western section of the reserve is found more bush which transforms into dry sand forest.
Eleven pans and small lakes are found in the area, Lakes Neshi, Mozi, Yengweni, Mdlanzi, Mpanza, Ntshangwe, northern Bhangazi and Ngobezeleni (which drains straight out to sea at Sodwana Bay), Bikibiki, Mfula and Ndlebeni.
Situated in southern Zululand, near the town of Eshowe, are two beautiful indigenous forests Dlinza and Entumeni. Both consist almost entirely of coastal scarp forest with a few glades of grassland. Known for their birds and plants, the forests are also home to a number of mammal species. The forests are currently visited by bird watchers from all over the world with the hope of catching a glimpse of one of the rare species which occur there.
Both forests have hiking trails which allow easy access for visitors to enjoy their unique cool atmosphere. Early morning is the best time to visit as the forests echo with bird calls before the heat and cicada beetles take their toll a little later in the day.
Known for its arboretum, this reserve is situated conveniently between Uvongo and Margate.
Founded in 1962, Skyline Nature Reserve includes 76 indigenous coastal tree species, about 300 other indigenous trees and 400 exotic tree species.
A series of one-hour self-guided trails are demarcated.
Although game such as blue and grey duiker, and bushbuck occur, the emphasis is on botanical species. Most tree species are clearly labelled.
Steeped in history, from the Bushmen to the British, and including an Anglo-Boer battlefield, this reserve offers a lot to the visitor.
There are five major ecosystems present; grassland, forest, wetland, mixed woodland and cliffs.
This ensures a high biodiversity, with many special plants, animals and birds.
The 900ha reserve borders on the historical town of Vryheid in northern Zululand.
The many trails in the reserve take the visitor through or past all of these ecosystems, and allows one to take in beautiful views of Vryheid and the surrounding area.
Some of the animals occurring in the reserve include eland, zebra, impala, blesbok, mountain and common reedbuck, bushbuck and oribi.
Many grassland orchids and wild flowers grace the plateau and the forest hosts many tree and shrub species.
Ongoye Forest is an exceptionally rare and diverse habitat. It is probably the most famous example of the extremely rare scarp forests.
The Ongoye range is well-drained by numerous fast-flowing streams such as the Umlalazi and its tributaries the Thondo and the Intuze arising from valley-head springs and is of great importance as a water catchment area.
It has large array of rare and endemic tree and plant species that make it "a must" for the more discerning nature lover.
The many tree rarities include magnificent giant umzimbeet, Millettia sutherlundii, forest mangosteen Garcinia gerrardii, forest water berry, Syzygium gerrardii and pondoland fig Ficus bizanae amongst others. The cycads Encephalartos ngoyanus and Encephalartos villosus are also found here.
Birding and hiking are also very popular all year round. There are about 130 bird species found on the reserve. The green barbet is endemic to the forest. Bushbuck, red duiker and red squirrel are also found. The giant Wood's cycad, Encephalartos woodii, now extinct in the wild, but surviving at the botanic gardens in Durban only occurred here.
South Africa’s most magnificent mountain range is found along the western border of KZN. Soaring to well over 3000 meters high the Drakensberg/uKhahlamba features magnificent rock walls that extend for over 100 kilometers in unbroken fashion. There are several places along the range where you can base yourself while exploring the many activities to be found here. See my other pages within the KZN province and the pages Drakensberg for more on what to see and where to go.
Here are a hotel, a coffeeshop, souvenir shops and Phezulu, where you can watch Zulu dances, with the beautiful 1000 hills in the background.
It is touristic, but I wouldn't call it a real tourist trap.
Magical encounters with our planet's most endearing sea-creatures, a walk in the footsteps of Africa's mightiest historic king, gourmet delights overlooking a warm, moonlit Indian Ocean ... Welcome to our idyllic lifestyle in sub-tropical, natural splendour.
This is the home of the bottle-nose dolphins who are visible all year round and invite you to join them as they frolic their way up the coast.
This is Ilembe territory in praise of wise and courageous King Shaka where the 19th century monarch consolidated his Zulu empire, and handmaidens of the royal household gathered salt from tidal pools while delighting at the spectacle of two hundred bottle-nose dolphins gamboling and feeding in the shallows.
Subsequent waves of colonial adventurers and expatriates from the Indian sub-continent harmonized with the indigenous civilization to create the sophisticated, fascinating cultural mosaic which offers today's visitor our unique blend of ultra-modern facilities and ancient traditions in the most picturesque, malaria-free setting imaginable.
The descendants of Shaka Zulu's dolphins today continue to enthrall, and graciously accept our sensitive, sea-borne excursions to experience their beauty and charm at closer quarters. Further beyond the breakers, the sight of Humpbacked whales en route north to the breeding grounds off Mozambique guarantees even more spellbinding excitement.
The Zulu-Mpophomeni Tourism Experience serves as a unique metaphor for the miracle that is South Africa.
Mpophomeni was founded in 1972 when the original settlement was moved under the segregationist policies of the apartheid govenment. There was much unhappiness about the move and the farmer whose land was expropriated committed suicide and had his ashes scattered over the land.
Mpophomeni housed most of the workers at the British Tyre and Rubber plant in Howick and in 1984 a massive strike was called to protest low wages. The entire workforce was fired and some of the shop stewards wee subsequently shot.
A Wall of Reconciliation was built to commemorate the 120 people who died in the violence and fittingly, is named after Nokulunga Gumede, the five-year old who was run over by a military vehicle during the cyle of violence.
Popularly known as the Golf Coast thanks to a comprehensive selection of 11 fine courses - our 120km stretch of inviting Indian Ocean, expansive golden Beaches and unique variant of sub- tropical Bush could just as easily (and accurately) be afforded a number of perfectly-appropriate titles. Hiker's Heaven... Diver's Discovery... Birder's Beauty... Surfer's Secrets...Angler's Abundance... Beachcomber's Bliss... Adventurer's Adrenalin...Collector's Cornucopia... Whale-watcher's Wonder and even Stargazer's Surprise perfectly describe how visitors are spoilt for choice along the scenic, relaxed route between Durban metro's cosmopolitan Buzz and the Zulu Kingdom's southernmost reaches. Which is not to say we have no Buzz - come nightfall our resort towns hold their own with any South Coast pleasure- palace in the world!
In Port Shepstone you can board the Banana Express for a scenic day-trip. It is an old steam train which runs on a narrow gauge railway line, and puffs sedately along the coast and into the the hinterland.
Returning to less-hedonistic pleasures... there's rich, authentic and living Zulu culture to imbibe, plus the unmistakable motifs of sub-continental Indian influence. Easy access to the southern slopes of our much-visited and photographed Berg - the Drakensberg mountain range - offers the traveller yet more-contemplative moments with majestic, inspiring peaks and timeless rock-paintings. This fascinating art form, coupled with archaeological finds across the region, places the Khoi and San folk on the South Coast millennia before King Shaka Zulu tested the limits of his empire during the early 1800's.
Word of the friendly welcome, Eden-like surroundings and vast array of attractions we offer is rapidly spreading far and wide... so come share with us all the splendours of a slice of paradise the Zulu forefathers called Ugu - Edge of the Great Water.
The picturesque, ordered beauty and attractions of Nottingham Road's extensive farmlands remain deeply rooted in antiquity - quite spine- chillingly so in certain particular circumstances! Quaint country taverns and a network of luxurious holiday accommodation proudly perpetuate the district's century-and-a-half-old, hallmark tradition of gracious living resplendent with fine cuisine and a drop of amber nectar. This is 'old families' territory, with vast cattle ranches, sheep farms and horse studs upholding lines of inheritance dating back to our pioneering days. English settlers based at Port Natal- Durban began unlocking the Midlands region during the early 1830s, and governors of the Natal Colony allocated generous tracts of land to consolidate this expansion from the coast. These developments impacted not only on the relatively new Zulu realm forged by mighty King Shaka, but also encroached on the already-diminished domain of nomadic San hunter-gatherers - the indigenous Stone Age people confined by Zulu imperialism to the foothills and peaks of the nearby mountainous Drakensberg range. For the San - degradingly referred to in European-based history as 'Bushmen' - the arrival of domesticated animals in their last foothold heralded a rare and welcome new source of food. Needless to say, the English path-finding farmers held an altogether different view, and Colonial authorities dispatched an ex- Nottinghamshire regiment to quell stock raids. The aptly- named First Sherwood Foresters - now playing 'Sheriff of Nottingham' to the San's 'Robin Hood' - completed their garrison in 1856 and named it after their English Midlands home. The village that evolved alongside the Fort's approach was duly titled Nottingham Road, and we annually pay raucous, mead-fuelled tribute to history with our drawcard Sherwood Medieval Festival.
Umhlanga is about a 30 minute drive north of Durban. It is a favourite holiday spot for Vaalies (people from the landlocked Transvaal). Needless to say I was one of those Vaalies heading down when school closed for summer holidays (Decemebr).
Recognised by the ancient mystics of our land as breathing new life into the human spirit, the inescapable allure of this 200- kilometre- long wonderland owes much to its intense relationship with people...the million-plus years of Stone Age occupation in particular. This culminated in the tragic disappearance, during the late 19th century, of the San hunter-gatherers colloquially referred to as Bushmen. Migrating chiefdoms from the Great Lakes of Central Africa had in the 13th century been humbled by the sheer magnitude of this uKhahlamba - Barrier of Spears - destined to become the western extreme of their Zulu Kingdom. The ox-wagons of Boer settlers negotiated its precipitous passes in 1837 on the Great Trek from British dominion in the Cape Colony to a 'Promised Land'. The name Drakensberg was coined forty years later when a Boer father and son reported seeing a dragon - a giant lizard with wings and a tail - flying high above the cloud-shrouded mountain peaks.
The inscription in late 2000 of uKhahlamba-Drakensberg Park as a World Heritage Site brought long-overdue recognition of its universal value to mankind. Meeting the criteria for both Natural and Cultural listings, the site can now officially boast 'superlative natural phenomena and beauty, unique richness of biological diversity, the conservation of all-important endemic and threatened species plus masterpieces of human creative genius in the form of 35 000 'San rock art images'. Many people have known this for a long time!
If you dont mind asking for new towls, shampoos, soap on a daily basis, this hotel is for you. Claim...more
This safari lodge situated just outside of Hluhluwe game reserve is second to non. A family run...more
R103 Nottingham Road, Pietermaritzburg, 3280, South Africa
Good for: Couples