Luchaba Nature Reserve, Eastern Cape
Close to the town of Umtata, now known as Mthatha, lies the charming 460 hectare nature reserve of Luchaba. Luchaba Nature Reserve lies adjacent to the Mthatha Dam and is home to a variety of wildlife, a series of wetlands and grasslands that support a wide selection of birds, and evidence of the rare Stanley’s bustard.
Luchaba seldom makes it to the essential list of ‘must see’ nature reserves possibly because the reserve is on state land and thus far unproclaimed (although efforts are underway to proclaim it as a formal nature reserve). It is also managed together with the Nduli Nature Reserve that lies next to the N2 highway, at the southern entrance to Mthatha, on land owned by King Sabata Dalindyebo, contributing perhaps to its apparent obscurity.
However, this part of the world, is home to some of the most unspoiled countryside, and the reserve is without doubt worth a visit. Dolerite dykes, rocky outcrops, shales and sandstone form the predominant landscape, whilst highland sour veld, also known as Dohne sour veld, was once home to oribi, Cape buffalo, lion, and leopard. Today this Umtata Moist Grassland biome supports a fair representation of blesbok, black and blue wildebeest, Burchell’s zebra, fallow deer and various antelope that include the red hartebeest.
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The prospect of picnics overlooking the scenic Mthatha dam, easy access to game, and a ‘real African’ feel about the Luchaba Nature Reserve make it a more than viable option, particularly given its proximity to the Nelson Mandela Museum, visited by thousands of local and international tourists every year, in Mthatha.
game and nature reserves in the eastern cape