NDUMO GAME RESERVE – JEWEL OF THE NORTH

GPS co-ordinates: 32d18’48.85″E 26d54’32.48″S


Ndumo Game Reserve is 10 117 ha in extent, and is situated in the Maputaland area of KZN near theTembe Elephant Park on the Mozambique border. The Usuthu River forms its northern boundary and the Pongola River flows through the reserve to its confluence with the Usuthu River. Ndumo is perhaps best known for its magnificent bird life with the highest bird count of any protected area in South Africa – some 430 species. Many tropical East African forms are found here at the southern limit of their range. The game reserve has a variety of habitats which include many beautiful pans “all set about with fever trees,” extensive wetlands and reed beds as well as acacia savanna and sand forest.

There is also a wealth of aquatic bird life on the many pans within Ndumo.

Noteworthy examples of the birds to be seen here are black egrets, pygmy geese, white-faced ducks, crested guinea fowls, jacanas and Pel’s fishing owls. Fish eagles are ubiquitous and their call accompanies visitors on their game and bird viewing drives. The Nyamithi and Bhanzi Pans are great attractions for the birder, and one can see a great many waders and water birds. There is an attractive viewing hide on the southern shore of Nyamithi Pan where visitors may pass some pleasant time watching birds and relaxing.

Illustration 1: A Spoonbill catches a nap at the water’s edge

Whilst Ndumo is best known for its magnificent bird life, game viewing can be most rewarding. Species such as hippos, nyala, bushbuck, impalas, as well as grey- and red duikers can also be seen. Ndumo also has good populations of both black- and white rhinos, giraffes and the shy, rare suni antelope. Visitors may also be lucky enough to see buffalos, although these are usually only found in the swampy, flood plain areas. The large population of crocodiles in the various pans and in the rivers is a particular feature of this reserve and the area is one of the unusual interest to entomologists.

Visitors may drive through certain areas of the reserve in their own cars, or may book a guided open-vehicle tour to interesting areas. These tours are well worth taking, as the guides are well-informed about the local wildlife, and know the game reserve very well. Depending on the demand, morning and afternoon tours are conducted, and arrangements to participate in these tours are made at the Reception office. For the more energetic, day walks in the bush may be taken in the company of a guide and here too, bookings should be made at the reception office the day before the intended walk.

Illustration 2: A game-drive vehicle at Nyamithi Pan

Resort accommodation consists of seven 2-bed “squaredavels, each equipped with a hand basin with hot and cold water and a refrigerator. The resort is served by a communal kitchen and ablution block with hot and cold water, and has Eskom electricity and a large swimming pool. Bedding, crockery and cutlery is supplied. Swimming in any of the pans and/or rivers is definitely not a good idea due to the presence of crocodiles and the bilharzia parasite. Residents in the squaredavels use the communal kitchen and dining room, which are adjacent to the swimming pool. Mosquito nets are provided, but visitors need to provide their own insect repellents. Ndumo lies within a malaria area and visitors are strongly advised to consult their local pharmacy or medical practitioner with regard to suitable anti-malaria medication.

An added bonus for the caravanning and camping enthusiasts is that the resort has a campsite comprised of 14 shady stands. Campers share the communal ablution block with the resort residents.
The small shop at the Reception office stocks beer, wine, soft drinks and ice-cream. No foodstuffs are avaible. Should you need added provisions there is a store about 2km from the Ndumo entrance gate.
For full information go to www.kznwildlilfe.com

Illustration 3: One of the squaredavels at the Ndumo resort

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