Ndumo Game Reserve

This relatively small sub-tropical reserve has 430 recorded bird species – the widest diversity of birdlife in South Africa. They thrive on the freshwater lakes, sand forests, acacia savannah and pristine wetlands. The reserve is also home to large populations of crocodiles, while hippopotamus, and white and black rhino can be found. Its remote location makes it one of the last true vestiges of wilderness in the country, although surrounding communities are currently debating the value of conservation in the area. Size: 10 000 hectares. Situated on the southern Mozambican border in the east of South Africa.


Blog posts

Kingdom of the birds, a pied piper called Sonto, and a vegetarian vulture

Ndumo may have been proclaimed in April 1924 to conserve some of the last hippo in KwaZulu-Natal, but it’s the bird life which makes Ndumo world famous among avifaunal fanatics. Amazingly, Ndumo is home to about 85% of the 500 species in the region, making it probably one of the best birding spots in the country.

(Deneys Reitz, Minister of Lands at the time under Jan Smuts, was responsible for the proclamation of Ndumo, and declared famously: "When I had Ndumu game reserve proclaimed, I did my duty to God and to the hippo." Little did he know that he would inadvertently contribute enormously to bird conservation.)

Last time I was at Ndumo, it rained for several days. Fortunately, this time the weather was perfect. Late April and early May is a fantastic time to be up in northern Read more »

Sonto Tembe, legend of Ndumo Reserve

I've spent the past few days in northern KwaZulu-Natal on the subtropical region of South Africa's east coast. It's one of my favourite regions because of it's huge diversity. Ndumo Game Reserve and Tembe Elephant Park are situated a bit inland from the coast, and both these are fascinating protected areas. Ndumo is a must-visit because of it's unrivalled bird life in South Africa (and beautiful pans and fever tree forests), and Tembe is, well, one of the most important protected areas in Africa because it is home to some of the largest remaining "tuskers" on the continent. But more on Tembe in a later blog.

For now, here's a video I did with Sonto Tembe, a Read more »

Ndumo Game Reserve

My last stop on my current Year in the Wild journey was Ndumo Game Reserve in northern KwaZulu-Natal. Check out where it is on Google Maps.

This 10 117 hectare reserve (about 20kms at its widest and 10kms at its longest) lies at the confluence of the Pongola River and the Usuthu River (which forms the border of Mozambique and South Africa). Interestingly, the Usuthu River’s course is slowly moving south, and there is currently a dispute between the Mozambican and South African governments as to where the international boundary actually Read more »

Saving the wild

I’ve recently spent a few eventful days in northern KwaZulu-Natal. I’m up here to finish my current Year in the Wild at Ndumo Game Reserve, on the border of southern Mozambique. This is the last of the 31 protected areas that I originally planned to visit in South Africa. Wow, this past year has gone quickly! All indications are that I’ll be continuing the project in some way next year, because there has been so much else to cover.

While I’ve been in this beautiful part of South Africa, I’ve met up with Chris Kelly, Michelle Swemmer, Christie Fynn and Kevin Emslie from Wildlife Act Fund, an organisation which focuses on monitoring endangered species in northern Read more »