Nkandla Forest

Nkandla Forest covers the ridge between the Thukela and Mhlatuze rivers, lying between 1100 to 1300 metres above sea level

KwaZulu Natal Game and Nature ReservesThe Nkandla Forest

56 kilometres north-west of the town of Eshowe, once the capital of Zululand, is the beautiful Nkandla forest; one of the most magnificently beautiful in the province.

Nkandla Forest is a rare type of high wet rain forest of which there are few examples left.

Nkandla covers the ridge between the Thukela and Mhlatuze rivers, lying between 1100 to 1300 metres above sea level where a constant moisture and continuous mists mean that a world of trees, lush understorey tree ferns and cycads exist, just waiting for a visit. Below the ridge runs the Nsuze River.

Only locals will know this, but there are horses said to roam wild in the forest, eagles soar above the trees and you're advised to take a guide into the forest with you as there are paths that disappear beneath all the greenery and lushness, making it difficult to navigate.

Nkandla is thought to lie in a transition zone between mist and scarp forest because it is home to many rare plants. The forest habitat alone is worth the conservation of this forest type. On top of its vegetation, there are many birds found in the forest. Knysna turaco, orange ground thrush, forest canaries, grey cuckoo-shrikes and white-starred robins are but a few. Head for a part of the forest known as 'thrush alley' if you want to be sure to see the thrush.

With over 147 bird species to see, it is unsurprising to find that Nkandla is on the Zululand Birding Route.

Nkandla forest is run by KZN Wildlife and you don't need a permit to visit, but contact the birding route for a guide to accompany you on a hike or walk.

Popular Attractions near Nkandla Forest

Dlinza Forest Nature Reserve

Found just outside the little town of Eshowe, the Dlinza Forest is one of two indigenous forests that lie close to one another in this southern part of Zululand; the other is Entumeni. Dlinza, 250-hectares of incredibly beautiful forest bisected...

More info and contact details: Dlinza Forest Nature Reserve

Did you know?

In Zulu history, Nkandla Forest has always been considered a magical forest and a home to the supernatural.

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