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LOCAL TIME: 06:35 am | Saturday, 24 August
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Mhlopeni Nature Reserve, Greyton, Kwazulu Natal

Mhlopeni Nature Reserve

Mhlopeni Nature Reserve is considered one of the most beautiful conservancies in South Africa. Impressive views surround you, wherever you are. If your visit is to enjoy the colours, the Aloes bloom June through August. An educational visit will deliver this lands’ rich archaeological heritage, plant, insect and animal life.

The Reserve of 1325ha conserves a superb area of valley bushveld and upland grasslands between Greytown and Muden and is considered a biodiversity gem.

The diversity of butterflies is quite incredible with over 100 species, including Africa’s smallest butterfly.

Mhlopeni Nature Reserve HikeAs a bird sanctuary made up of valley bushveld and upland grasses, Mhlopeni is considered a twitcher’s paradise. Located on the confluence of the north, south, coastal and inland species distribution limits, it boasts abundant birds of prey, with 230 species on the bird list. Specials include White-bellied Korhaan, Verreauxs’ Eagle, Secretarybird, Cape Vulture, Acacia Pied Barbet and Half-collared Kingfisher. A weekend visit should produce 80-100 species.

On the mammal front, the reserve is home to zebra, blesbok, impala, bushbuck, mountain reedbuck and oribi.

Besides biodiversity, Mhlopeni is rich in archaeological sites from early stone age to iron age. Findings dating back 250 000 years have provided interesting artefacts.  One can easily spot these sites by looking for patches of vegetation that look different (fewer hardwoods) due to extensive harvesting of trees for smelting iron from rock.  These areas can be seen from higher viewpoints in the reserve.

Accommodation consists of 4 rustic bush camps, with hot water, showers, toilets, fully equipped kitchens and ‘bomas’ with braai areas, basic chalets, camping and A-Frame tents. Picnic sites are available for day visitors.

Mhlopeni Nature ReserveThere are marked walking trails all over the reserve, and visitors can wander at will enjoying game viewing, bird-watching and the fauna and flora of the rugged terrain. The trails include a variety of shorter walks, and a 2-day hike where a stay overnight in a hut on a neighbouring farm can be arranged.

On the mountain trails, activities include game-viewing and swimming in the natural potholes eroded from the solid white rocks. Flora includes a wealth of aloes, euphorbias, white stinkwood and many varieties of thornbush. If you are vigilant, you may find some Iron and Stone Age artefacts, and watch out for rock art and settlers’ graves.

The warden conducts guided tours to various areas of interest, including climbs to the nest of a black eagle (where the hide is a mere 3 m from the nest itself), Iron and Stone Age sites, and the wagon trails.

An information brochure which includes a map, history, geological and other information and tree, mammal and bird list is available.

Bookings

Booking in advance is essential.

Telephone: 087 095 1042 or (033) 496 1722 and ask for ‘JOY’ or emailWebsite.

Directions

Although the road has been renovated, please be advised it is a dirt road and low slung sedan vehicles are not advisable. Once in the reserve, all exploration can be performed on foot.

Mhlopeni Nature Reserve is 24km from Greytown on the Muden road (turn left at the signboard)

Thank you Rob Stewart for pictures and telling us what a wonderful time you had at the reserve!