uMkhomazi Nature Reserve

  • 1337.jpg

umkhomaziuMkhomazi is situated in the southern part of the Central Drakensberg, 100 km from Pietermaritzburg. uMkhomazi is 6 000 ha in size and forms part of the Maloti-Drakensberg Park World Heritage Site.

The uMkhomazi section of the Maloti Drakensberg Park is one of the most isolated and least explored mountainous areas in KwaZulu- Natal.  The area is not attached to the main escarpment and comprises of a number of elevated ridges protruding towards the Midlands. uMkhomazi is characterized by numerous high altitude wetlands, deep gorges and rolling prairie-like grasslands. It is home to a variety of mammal and bird species. Black Wildebeest, Mountain Reedbuck, Grey Rhybuck and Eland are the more commonly seen mammals but Caracal, Serval, Porcupine and Otter are also found in the Area.

Some of the more common bird species include Bokmakierie, Golden Breasted Bunting and Stone Chat and if you are lucky you may see Lammergeier, Cape Vulture or Black Eagle. uMkhomazi is one of the few areas in the Berg where one can hike for days without seeing another soul. The ideal destination for a wild demanding hike!

Location (Degrees)
29°29'28.2"S 29°42'12.3"E
Location (Decimal)
-29.491158, 29.703406
Type of Hike
Explore
Altitude
1,558
Address
PO Box 105, Nottingham Road, 3280, KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa
Telephone
+27 (0)33 266 6444
Fax
+27 (0)33 266 6444
Accommodation (Ezemvelo)
Six caves are found in uMkhomazi: Cyprus cave, Cyprus cave Annex, McKenzie's caves (two), Sinclair’s cave and Rockfall cave. Cyprus Cave and the annex is a relatively short four kilometres hike from the KZN Wildlife Office and has a permanent supply of water throughout the year. It can accommodate six people.
 
Sinclair’s Cave is more of a difficult proposition and is located approximately twelve kilometres from the KZN Wildlife Office. The route is challenging and due to the nature of the terrain the path is not always easy to follow. Once there however the cave can comfortably accommodate six people and afford them some fantastic views of the Inzinga Valley. Rockfall is nearby but can only accommodate four at best.
 
McKenzie's eastern cave about nine km's from the parking area can accommodate up to five. The main cave can accommodate twelve.
Directions
From Durban/Pietermaritzburg turn off the N3 North at the Nottingham Road/Mount West offramp. Follow the Nottingham Road signs. Just before the Nottingham Road police station there is a signpost marked Himeville/Sani Pass. There is also a Ezemvelo KZN Wildlife sign indicating Lotheni Nature Reserve. Follow these signs. It is 42 km from the turn off to uMkhomazi, (29 km is tarred and the remaining 13 km is dirt road).
 
From Harrismith/Estcourt turn off the N3 South at the Mooi River (South)/Greytown off-ramp. Head towards Mooi River and from there follow the R103 passing through Rosetta, 12 km from Mooi River. Keep along this road until you reach Nottingham Road, approximately 6 km from Rosetta. Just after the Nottingham Road police station there is a signpost marked Himeville/Sani Pass. There is also a Ezemvelo KZN Wildlife sign indicating Lotheni Nature Reseve. Follow these signs. It is 42 km from the turn off to uMkhomazi, (29 km is tarred and the remaining 13 km is dirt road).
Operating Hours
Office hours are 08:00 – 12:30 and 14:00 – 16:30 daily.
Entrance gates open and close between 06:00 - 18:00 throughout the year.