Ithala Game Reserve, KwaZulu Natal
The magnificent Ithala Game reserve, tumbling from the heights of the Ngotshe Mountains a thousand meters down into a deep valley, carved over the aeons by the Phongolo River revealing the world's oldest rock formations, is a game viewers paradise.
Situated in the rugged, mountainous thornveld of northern KwaZulu Natal, the reserve's multitude of habitats host a spectacular array of wildlife species. Its scenic beauty aside, Ithala's most characteristic feature is perhaps its astonishing geological diversity. Some of the oldest rock formations in the world are found here, dating back 3 000 million years.
With a topographic profile varying from 400m above sea level in the north to 1 450m near Louwsberg in the south, Ithala Game Reserve's terrain extends over Lowveld and densely vegetated riverine valleys to high-lying grassland plateau, ridges and cliff faces. The area now proclaimed as Ithala has been occupied by man for thousands of years and there are many sites littered with stone age spear and axe heads dating back some 20,000 years. There has even been a middle stone age tool discovered by archaeologists which pushes the date back to anything up to 250,000 years.
Ithala's big game species include white and black rhino, elephant, buffalo and notably giraffe. 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 including tsessebe, eland, red hartebeest and mountain reedbuck amongst others.