Expert Reviews – uMkhuze GR
Mike is an award winning wildlife writer, editor of Travel Zambia magazine and author of the Bradt Guide to Southern African Wildlife.
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Hide and seek
The allure of uMkhuze always calls me back. Though very small by African standards, this gem of a park has a special ambience and – whether an aardvark in the headlights or a python on the trail – often springs surprises. Sandwiched between the aloe-studded Lebombo Mountains and the St Lucia Wetland complex, its picturesque savanna woodland supports a wide selection of herbivores, including both rhino species and numerous nyala. A small elephant population has been introduced, and I have seen leopard here both by night and day.
Visitor a can enjoy guided day walks, night drives, self-guided trails and picnic sites – although the place never seems crowded. Best are the excellent viewing hides, each overlooking a different waterhole in its own distinct habitat. Photographers love these, and I have spent entire days watching the wildlife traffic coming and going. Other highlights include Nsumo Pan, teeming with hippos and crocodiles, and the fig forest trail, which winds among giant riverine trees. The birding is outstanding – arguably the best in South Africa – with such local specials as African broadbill and pink-throated twinspot among an astonishing 420 recorded species.