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Mkhambati Nature Reserve, Eastern Cape

The magnificent Horseshoe Falls, Mkambathi Nature ReserveVisitors to the Wild Coast will soon discover it to be a place of breathtaking scenic beauty. Nowhere is this beauty more evident than in its spectacular nature reserves, of which the Mkhambati Nature Reserve is no exception.

The 8000ha reserve is situated on a truly magnificent and scenic stretch of the coast, between the Msikaba and Mtentu rivers. These rivers, as well as the many other rivers in the reserve, play host to the beautiful forested ravines for which the Wild Coast is so renowned. Grassland covers a large portion of the reserve, while unique and beautiful areas of swamp forest are found in patches throughout the reserve.

Amongst the grasslands, visitors will find grazers such as the Red Hartebeest, Eland, Blesbuck, Blue Wildebeest and Gemsbok. Birds in this area include the Common Waxbill, Gurney’s Sugarbird and the Greater-Collared Sunbird.

The forested ravines are home to a number of unique species of flora and fauna. These ravines are the only place in the world where the Pondo Cononut Palm grows. They are also home to a fascinating array of birds, including Trumpeter Hornbills, Rameron Pigeons and Cape Parrots. The ravines are generally navigable for approximately 2km from the coast, and canoeing along the forested banks provides visitors with a fantastic opportunity to view the amazing plant and animal life here.

Of all the rivers in the reserve, the Mkhambati is perhaps the most spectacular, as three separate waterfalls plunge into the ravine as the river makes its way to the sea. Hikers will enjoy seeing the spectacular Horshoe, Mkambathi and Strandloper falls on a hike along the river.

For its diversity of vegetation and wildlife, the Mkambathi Nature Reserve comes highly recommended to visitors in the Wild Coast.

Getting there: from East London, take the N2 to Umtata. Here, take the R61 and follow to Flagstaff. Here, look out for signs for the Mkambathi road going towards the coast.

For more information on the Wild Coast, visit ShowMe Wildcoast.

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