Pongolapoort Nature Reserve, KwaZulu Natal
Travel inland in a north westerly direction from the iSimangaliso Wetland Park Heritage Site and you will reach the large Pongolapoort Dam, on the south-eastern shores of which lies the Pongolapoort Nature Reserve.
In a nutshell this incredible reserve is a unique combination of contrasting eco-systems, exceptional bird watching and an abundance of wildlife.
Pongolapoort Dam is also known as Lake Jozini and lies in the heart of the Lebombo Mountains. The nature reserve on its shores, also known as the Pongola (Zulu word meaning 'trough') Nature Reserve, was proclaimed as way back as 1894 by then President Paul Kruger, which makes it the oldest reserve not only in South Africa but on the African continent. It lies within an area of high conservation value that the then president had the foresight to protect.
Most of the land that surrounds the Pongolapoort Dam is protected, either as a public nature reserve, private game farm or communally protected area. Today the Pongola Nature Reserve is managed by KZN Wildlife, and day visitors are welcome to self-drive through the beautiful reserve, to launch their boats on the immense Pongolapoort Dam or to fish here, particularly as it one of the best tiger fishing destinations in southern Africa and the only waters in South Africa to hold tiger fish. But watch out for hippos.
The sanctuary is well stocked with giraffe, wildebeest, zebra, impala, buffalo, hyena and leopard, and it is a birding hotspot with well over 350 recorded bird species. There is but one entrance to the park close to the border with Swaziland and there is a campsite quite close to this gate right at the lake. Expect to rough it as there is no electricity or hot water and the closest shops are 40 kilometres from here.
game and nature reserves in kwazulu natal