Ithala Game Reserve

Situated in the rugged, mountainous thornveld of northern KwaZulu Natal, the reserve's multitude of habitats host a spectacular array of wildlife species

KwaZulu Natal Game and Nature ReservesThe Ithala Game Reserve

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.

More recently, in the last few hundred years, with the advent of the Nguni people, iron smelting took place in Ithala and there are a number of smelting sites adjacent to deposits of banded ironstone which was crushed to provide the iron ore. Ithala has provided the setting for many historic events, from Shaka's reign and those of successive Zulu kings, to a number of gold mining enterprises in the early years of the 20th Century.

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.

Popular Activities in Ithala Game Reserve

Bivane 4x4 Trail


The Bivane 4x4 Trail is a 17-kilometre one that winds, climbs and plummets through the Ithala Game Reserve in KwaZulu-Natal. This part of the country is balmy, with subtropical climate conditions almost all year round. The vegetation is lush and green...

More info and contact details: Bivane 4x4 Trail

Ithala Game Reserve 4x4 Trails


The thala Game Reserve 4x4 trail is a self-drive rocky mountain track with river crossings. Booking beforehand are essential because only three vehicles are allowed at one time. The Bivine Trail is better suited to low range vehicles, while the...

More info and contact details: Ithala Game Reserve 4x4 Trails

Did you know?

Ithala's big game species include white and black rhino, elephant, buffalo and notably giraffe.

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