Ithala Game Reserve
Ithala Game Reserve
Ithala has become a favourite with tour guides who are familiar with all the reserves in KwaZulu-Natal. It’s location makes the journey from Durban longer, but the rewards are astonishing to the national and international traveler alike. Overlooked by the Ngotshe Mountains, the deep valley is a game viewers paradise, with a spectacular array of wildlife species. Some of the oldest rock formations in the world are found at Ithala, dating 3,000 million years. There are also many sites with evidence of stone age man, dating 20,000 years. The altitude varies from 450m to 1450m, so there is a great variation in terrain, including lowveld, highveld, grassland plateaus, ridges and cliff faces.
Ithala’s big game species include white rhino, black rhino, elephant, buffalo and notably giraffe so numerous that they have been selected as Ithala's logo. The absence of lion makes for a relaxed air among these animals and other game such as zebra , blue wildebeest and a wide variety of antelope. These include impala, oribi, red hartebeest, eland, kudu, waterbuck, tsessebe, common and mountain reedbuck, steenbok and grey duiker. Predators include spotted hyaena, brown hyaena, the elusive leopard and serval. Sightings of large birds at Ithala may include black eagles, lappet faced and whitebacked vultures, ostriches and secretary birds stalking across the veld.
Ntshondwe, Ithala's main camp, is ingeniously camouflaged against a plateau at the foot of the cliffs of the Ngotshe mountain. Towering above the camp, the cliffs provide the ideal haven for raptors, their calls echoing from rock face to crevice as they soar into the sky in territorial display. The various chalets are situated around the visitors' centre which has a fully licensed restaurant, a bar and an open game viewing deck which overlooks a small pan. Other amenities include a swimming pool built around a giant rock, a fully-equipped conference centre, and an imaginatively stocked curio shop which also carries a range of basic provisions.
39 thatched chalets blend into a lush setting of acacias, wild figs, cabbage trees and other indigenous flora. A variety of self-catering chalets, with two to six beds each, some of which have being designed for use by the handicapped, are available, while other chalets without catering facilities are geared for tour groups and conference delegates.
This exclusive luxury lodge offers complete privacy in spectacular surroundings.
It accommodates six guests in three bedrooms with bathrooms en-suite, and has a small swimming pool, a sun deck, kitchen and barbecue area overlooking the valley below.
Mhlangeni Bush Camp
Set on a rocky outcrop overlooking a stream, the Mhlangeni bushcamp accommodates up to ten guests in five two-bed units. A central open-plan lounge and sun-deck offer excellent views, as do the showers! The services of an attendant are provided and a field ranger is available by prior arrangement to take guests on game walks.
Mbizo Bush Camp
Mbizo is ideally situated beside a series of rapids and pools near the spot where the Ngubhu and Mbizo rivers meet. A total of eight guests can be accommodated here, in two separate bush chalets constructed of wood , reed and thatch. Each has two bedrooms, it's own lounge, kitchen and viewing deck. The camp has two separate ablution facilities. The tariff includes the services of an attendant and field ranger to take guests on walks by prior arrangement.
Thalu Bush Camp is tucked away at the foot of a steep slope on the banks of the Thalu river. A picturesque barbecue area overlooks a large pool in the river where swimming is permitted. Thalu accommodates four people in two bedrooms linked by a kitchen, lounge and viewing deck. An attendant is provided and a field ranger is available by prior arrangement to take visitors on game walks.