It’s easy to fall in love with Ithala Game Reserve near Louwsberg in northern KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa. We certainly did. You’ll find a scenic fusion of ancient rocks and cliffs, rivers, rolling hills and wildlife. Take a high-clearance vehicle or 4x4 to navigate the rugged thornveld, and you're set to discover 16 things to do at Ithala Game Reserve.
3. Take a walk around Ntshondwe camp to enjoy the scenery, including the large boulders that fell from the cliffs above the camp hundreds of years ago. It’s a good chance to identify some of the trees of the area too, like euphorbias, acacias, wild figs and cabbage trees.
4. Go on a self-guided nature walk at Ntshondwe resort. The Plum-coloured Starling and the Porcupine trails will each take about an hour, the Klipspringer trail about 90 minutes and the longer Bushpig trail about four hours. Try to be quiet and you may see buck, dassies and birds like chestnut-vented titbabbler, Cape bunting, bearded scrub robin and grey penduline tit, even a trumpeter hornbill or Verreaux’s eagle soaring overhead.
6. Spend some time in Ntshondwe’s hide in front of the reception building. The hide overlooks a waterhole where you could see animals, including elephants, come to drink.
7. Duck into the info centre at Ntshondwe to learn about the Wonder Mine, one of two gold mines from the early 1900s that operated inside what’s now the reserve. There are also displays about the history of the park, some of its geological features, rhinos, dung beetles, Ithala’s common frogs (there are 29 species in the reserve) and a leopard monitoring project.
9. Listen to and absorb the sounds of the bush, from the chittering of small birds or the call of the painted reed frog to the braying of zebra and rumbling of elephants.
11. Take a coolbox with you on your game drive and stop off at Onverwacht, Phongolo or Ngubhu for a picnic in the bush. Tables and benches, some shade and toilets are provided. Make sure you clean up after yourself and don’t leave food lying around for baboons or monkeys.
13. Enjoy a meal on the deck overlooking the waterhole at Ntshondwe for a chance of seeing animals even while you’re in camp.
Note that, apart from the tarred road between the entrance gate and Ntshondwe resort, the roads at Ithala are rugged, so you need a high clearance or 4x4 vehicle for driving around the park.
Ithala Game Reserve
Tel 034 983-2540
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