Game Reserves in KwaZulu NatalUbombo Mountain Nature Reserve
This barely known little nature reserve lies to the left of the more frequently visited uMkhuze Game Reserve, directly south of the Phongolo Nature Reserve.
The Mkuze River connects the two, flowing along the southernmost boundary of the Ubombo reserve and the northernmost reaches of Mkhuze. Ubombo, in turn act, as an important corridor for the movement and dispersal of animals and plants between the Phongolo reserve and the Mkhuze section of the iSimangaliso Wetland Park.
Despite its anonymity, Ubombo protects one of the highest densities and diversity of rare and endemic cycad species in KwaZulu-Natal. It also preserves a small section of the most endangered type of vegetation in the province – Lebombo Summit Sourveld - found on the reserve's ridge plateaus and sloping sides.
Ubombo is listed as a birding spot along the Mkhuze Route of the North-East Zululand birding route. The reserve lies right in the transition zone between the lowveld and the tropical coastline and as such serves as a stopover point for many migratory birds.
Head to the grove of fever trees alongside the Mkhuze River where you can spot birds like the pink-throated twinspot, any number of sunbirds, Rudd's and yellow-breasted apalis, red-fronted tinkerbirds, pygmy kingfishers and emeral-spotted doves, amongst others.
The woodland on the slopes of the mountain are also good for birds and you may spot circling raptors around the cliffs.
There are also zebra, kudu, nyala, grey duiker, red duiker, bushbuck, leopard, serval and caracal in the reserve, although population numbers are rather low. It is one of few places where Marley's golden mole, an endemic mole on the IUCN Red List, is thought to still live.
The Ubombo Mountain Nature Reserve is easy to reach from the town of Mkhuze.