KwaZulu Natal Tourist AttractionsWeza-Ngele Forest
Where? The Weza-Ngele forest straddles the N2 between Kokstad and Harding in southern KwaZulu-Natal.
How? Call +27 (0)39 553-0600
The Weza-Ngele Forest is home to the endangered, and rarely spotted, Cape parrot. For birders it's a piece of paradise.
A large Afromontane mistbelt forest, sadly reduced in size from its original magnificence (logging continues despite the forest's significance), Weza-Ngele lies close to Harding in KwaZulu-Natal – the largest and most accessible tract of Afromontane forest in KZN.
The forest is just off the R56 (the alternative route through the Transkei between the Eastern Cape and KZN) in the nether regions of the southern 'Berg. Google maps' closest map marker is the Ingeli Forest Resort.
The forest is a magical mix of yellowwood, Natal krantz ash, red stinkwood, sneezewood, forest elder and forest tree fern alive with forest birds – more than 220 birds are found in this region, 70 of them in the forest alone.
The best time to spot parrots is at dawn, when the birds leave the roost, or late afternoon when they return. Short walking trails through the forest are well marked, and include a half-day circular hike.
But it isn't just the birds that make this forest so special, although the chance of spotting a Cape parrot, orange ground thrush, or bush black cap definitely make the trip worth it. The forest is also home to dwarf chameleons, and is one of the only places where beneath the dead leaves lives a pink, velvet worm with fuzzy skin - the critically endangered velvet worm, Opisthopatus roseus, lives only in Weza-Ngele Forest.
Find Weza-Ngele between Harding and Kokstad, just north of Weza, the forestry town.
Ingeli Forest Lodge has designed a series of single track MTB trails through the Weza-Ngele forest. The lodge is fully equipped for riders, providing a high-pressure hose in the parking lot, shower and toilets for day riders and a swimming pool.