Ithala Game Reserve


Although it's not as well known as other reserves in the province, a trip to Ithala should be on the itinerary of anyone who is looking for spectacular views. There is a nice selection of wildlife to view (the reserve is known for its giraffes) and it contains other points of interest for nature and history buffs, including some of the world's oldest rock formations, as well as spear and axe heads dating back to the Stone Age.

Most of the 300 sq km are taken up by the steep valleys of six rivers (tributaries of the Phongolo), with some open grassland on the heights, rugged outcrops and bushveld. Animals include black and white rhinos, elephants, tsessebes, buffaloes and giraffes (the park’s emblem as they are believed to be indigenous to Ithala Game Reserve) and rare bird species.

Many of the mountain roads, which offer the best views of the park, are in bad shape. As of now they can be passed by vehicles with high clearance and good traction, but it's likely that eventually only 4WD vehicles will be able to traverse them. Contact the reserve beforehand to ask before you visit.

Guided walks (R250 per person) and wildlife and night drives (R500 per person) are available. There are several accommodation options, including chalets and camping.