Ithala Game Reserve in KwaZulu Natal
This magnificent reserve, tumbling from the heights of the Ngotshe Mountains a thousand meters down into a deep valley, carved over the eons by the Phongolo River revealing the world`s oldest rock formations, is a game viewers paradise. Situated in the rugged, mountainous thornveld of northern KwaZulu-Natal, Ithala Game Reserve`s multitude of habitats host a spectacular array of wildlife species.
Its scenic beauty aside, Ithala`s most characteristic feature is perhaps its astonishing geological diversity. Some of the oldest rock formations in the world are found here, dating back 3 000 million years. With a topographic profile varying from 400 m above sea level in the north to 1 450m near Louwsberg in the south, Ithala`s terrain extends over lowveld and densely vegetated riverine valleys to high-lying grassland plateaus, ridges and cliff faces.
The area has been occupied by man for thousands of years and there are many sites littered with stone age spear and axe heads dating back some 20,000 years.
Ithala’s big game species include white- and black rhino , elephant , buffalo and, notably giraffe.
The absence of lion makes for a relaxed air among these animals and other game such as zebra , blue wildebeest and a wide variety of antelope. These include impala, oribi, red hartebeest, eland, kudu, waterbuck, tsessebe, common and mountain reedbuck, steenbok and grey duiker.
Predators which are not often seen are leopard, spotted hyaena and brown hyaena.
With its many perennial streams and rivers, and the frequent occurrence of cliffs and rock faces, Ithala is also the ideal haven for a large variety of birds. Sightings of large birds at Ithala may include black eagles, lappet faced and whitebacked vultures, ostriches and secretary birds stalking across the veld.
Ithala offers a wealth of activities for visitors:
* Self-guided auto trails:
Ithala has a number of well laid out auto trails with markers at points of interest. These enable visitors to discover and appreciate aspects of the reserve’s fascinating wildlife and geology in the comfort of their own vehicles.
* Picnic sites:
Picnic sites are situated in several scenic spots which offer spectacular views and are ideal for game watching. These all have barbecue facilities and ablutions.
* Self-guided walking trails:
A number of self-guided trails traverse the wooded mountainside above Ntshondwe camp, inviting guests to enjoy glimpses of the indigenous wildlife while stretching their legs.
* Day and night drives:
Day and night drives are conducted in open viewing vehicles and are a popular tourist attraction in the reserve. These can be booked at Ntshondwe camp office.
Game Lodges in the Louwsburg area surrounding Ithala provide a variety of accommodation options.
The Ntshondwe Camp is managed by Kwazulu Wildlife and provide accommdation in chalets within the Park
How to get there:
Ithala Game Reserve is situated near Louwsburg in northern KwaZulu-Natal.
From Durban it is best reached via Eshowe and Melmoth to Vryheid.
From the Gauteng area the best approach is via Standerton, Volksrust and Utrecht to Vryheid.
From the north coast go via Pongola and Magudu.
From Pietermaritzburg travel via Ladysmith, Dundee and Vryheid.
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