Expert Reviews – Mkhuze GR

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Mellow Mkhuze
Overall rating
3/5

If you’re into birding then you’ll love Mkhuze Game Reserve – its home to some 400-odd different species which have flourished in the park’s swamps and woodlands. For bigger mammal lovers like myself, the park has four of the Big Five (no lion) as well as nyala, wildebeest, warthog, impala, kudu and other smaller antelope. The park also offers rare sightings of hyena – heard but sadly not seen in my experience. Birders should make sure they take a stroll through the Fig Forest which provides numerous bird and monkey sightings, while the three hides offer excellent viewing of the larger mammals. At Nsumo Pan Hide I easily spied hippo and crocodiles and at Kumahloha hide I was amazed by the constant parade of wildlife coming down to the pan including rhino, giraffe, kudu, wildebeest, zebra and baboons.

A well-located reserve and home to a good cross-section of KwaZulu Natal’s game species
Overall rating
3/5

Mkhuze features the usual acacia savannah, but as it lies just to the northwest of the iSimangaliso Wetland Park, it also features tropical swamps and well-watered riverine forest. The roads were easy to navigate, but some passed through areas of thick bush, which were not ideal for game viewing. The grasslands, however, were more open, where we found giraffe, wildebeest, kudu and nyala, and at the airstrip we were lucky to see cheetah (they love the flatness of airstrips). Although I did see rhino, they aren’t as prolific as in Hluhluwe-Imfolozi. At the pans, we were able to get out of the car and walk down to some hides to watch the many aquatic birds. Mkuze’s appeal is its location; easily accessed off the N2 highway and not far from the coast, offering a good combination of safari options with the other Maputaland reserves.

Feathers and Fever Trees
Overall rating
3/5

Although it was recently incorporated as the 40 000 hectare uMkhuze Section of the iSimangaliso Wetland World Heritage Site, Mkuze is one of Africa's oldest game reserves. With Sand Forest giving way to gently undulating grasslands, peppered with flat-top acacias and fever tree-choked drainage lines, the park is well-known amongst ornithologists for its varied habitat and rich birdlife. Twitchers tend to concentrate their energies on Nsumo Pan and the neighbouring fig tree forests, while wildlife enthusiasts focus their energies on Kumasinga Hide: the most productive of Mkuze's four recently refurbished game-viewing hides. Despite ongoing problems with poaching, Mkuze still boasts excellent densities of most antelope species. The reserve is also home to rhino, leopard, cheetah and wild dog and a programme to reintroduce lions has just been approved, so it won't be too long before the final member of the Big 5 makes a welcome reappearance in Mkuze Game Reserve.

Average Expert Rating

  • 3.4/5
  • Wildlife
  • Scenery
  • Bush Vibe
  • Birding

Rating Breakdown

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