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Komatiland (Komatieland) Forests


Komatiland, or ‘Komatieland’ as it is also  sometimes spelled, is not a region per se – but refers to 18 areas along the Drakensberg Escarpment that are under plantation, owned and run by Komatiland Forests (KLF), and managed as eco-tourism destinations by Komatiland Eco-Tourism  – an arm of SAFCOL (The South African Forestry Company Limited).

The Plantations (State Forests) stretch across high altitude areas of the Limpopo Province, Mpumalanga and Kwa-Zulu Natal and consist of 91% Pine, 7% Eucalyptus and 2% Acacia trees grown for paper pulp and other softwood timber industry. However, most areas under plantation are mountainous and so pockets of indigenous forest have been preserved in valleys and on ridges that cannot be harvested. Sadly, these areas comprise much of what’s left of South Africa’s unique Afro-Montane Cloud Forest – making the eco-tourism and preservation efforts of KLF and Komatiland Eco-Tourism that much more important. Thanks to their efforts, much of these areas have therefore been made accessible through some of South Africa’s Best Overnight and Multi-Day Hiking Trails.

The Komatiland Overnight Hiking Trails are not the only eco-tourism activity promoted. There are many Day Trails, and there is access and facilities to view waterfalls and enjoy picnic spots in some areas. These areas are a delight for anyone who enjoys nature, swimming in mountain streams and rock pools under waterfalls, but they are a particular treat for birders. Turacaos are common among many other species restricted to the Afro-Montane forest regions, and in some areas far less common species include the Bush Shrike, endemic to the Woodbush State Forest in Limpopo, and the Cape Parrot, South Africa’s only remaining indigenous parrot species which has long been extinct in the Cape Province where it was first recorded.

These areas are also the only places where you can see both Vervet and Somango Monkeys enjoying a common habitat, and in Kaapschehoop in Mpumalanga, protected wild horses flit beneath the trees, adding another dimension to the treasures that can be enjoyed in the Komatiland Forest plantations and surrounding nature reserve areas.

More on Komatiland Forests (KLF) and the Komatiland Plantations

More info on the town of Drakensberg More info on the KwaZulu-Natal area