Overview – uMkhuze GR

Philip Briggs
Expert
By Philip Briggs

Philip lives in South Africa and has authored many guidebooks to African destinations, including the Bradt and Insight guides to South Africa.

Philip lives in South Africa and has authored many Africa guidebooks, including the Bradt and Insight guides to South Africa.

Philip is the author of many Africa guidebooks, including the Bradt and Insight guides to South Africa.

Philip is the author of the Bradt and Insight guides to South Africa.

uMkhuze is one of South Africa’s little gems. It is seldom visited by overseas visitors, but popular with local birders and photographers. Several photographic shelters give close-up viewing opportunities of a wide variety of animals coming to drink in the dry winter months. Although not a typical Big Five reserve, all of these sought-after animals are present.

Best Time to Go May to September (Dry season)
High Season None (Busy during South African school holidays)
Size 400km² / 154mi²
Altitude 26-350m / 85-1,148ft

Pros & Cons

  • Good wildlife viewing
  • Three excellent wildlife shelters
  • Renowned birding destination
  • Good facilities and roads catering to self-drive visitors
  • Reasonably priced rest camp
  • The wildlife shelters get very busy during school holidays
  • Big cat sightings are rare

uMkhuze GR Safari Reviews

  • Wildlife
  • Scenery
  • Bush Vibe
  • Birding
  • Wildlife
  • Scenery
  • Bush Vibe
  • Birding

Wildlife

uMkhuze offers great wildlife viewing and is home to the Big Five. Both rhino species are present, and white rhino sightings are very common. There is a constant stream of animals drinking at the waterholes in front of the wildlife shelters. These include large numbers of zebra, blue wildebeest, warthog and nyala. Chacma baboons often put up a show as well.

Scenery

uMkhuze is part of the wetland system that makes up iSimangaliso Wetland Park. The uMkhuze River meanders along the reserve's borders with big fig trees covering the banks. A rare type of sand forest occurs in the reserve and is home to many special birds. Nhlonhlela and Nsumo are two scenic pans surrounded by yellow fever trees.

Weather & Climate

Summer in uMkhuze (October to April) is strikingly hot and humid, and thunderstorms blow in many afternoons. The hottest period involves the months around the start of the year. Winter (May to September) sees almost no rain and is much milder.

Best Time to Visit

The best time to visit is in the dry winter months (May to September), when clear skies and processions of wildlife at waterholes can be expected. The Wet season (October to April tends to be very hot and animals can be hard to spot as they disperse in the lush vegetation.

Want to Visit uMkhuze GR?

uMkhuze GR Safari Reviews

  • Wildlife
  • Scenery
  • Bush Vibe
  • Birding
  • Wildlife
  • Scenery
  • Bush Vibe
  • Birding
Most Helpful Expert Review
Mellow uMkhuze
3/5

If you’re into birding then you’ll love uMkhuze 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...

Latest User Review
Alan Crawford  –  
South Africa ZA
Reviewed: Mar 19, 2017
5/5

This game reserve is about an hour's drive north of the Hluhluwe iMfolozi Game Reserve and is a very good park for birding. The large water pans, when full, contain an abundance of water birds. The park also contains the big five and has...

Full Review