Ithala Game Reserve was once part of the old Pongola Game Reserve, the first to be proclaimed in South Africa, and is now administered by Ezemvelo KZN Wildlife.
Situated in the Northern Natal Mountains near Louwsburg on the R69, and just 42km from Vryheid, Ithala is a short detour off Route 66 and well worth a visit. On offer is a modern up-market facility, situated within an authentic 30 000ha African Game Reserve.
Surrounding the magnificent Ithala Game Reserve are the distinctive jagged dolerite cliffs of the Ngotshe Mountains. Reaching heights of 1450 m, and plunging into valleys 1000 m below, these are the result of centuries of erosion and carving by the Phongolo River. This has resulted in revealing some of the world’s oldest rock formations. The results are a great variation in terrain, from low-veld to high-veld, grassland plateaus, ridges and cliffs.
There is evidence of early Stone Age man dating back 20,000 years and older in many sites, with signs of early smelting operations, and artifacts such as axes and arrow heads being found.
There are a total of six rivers flowing through the cliffs and finally into the Phongolo River. The region is home to herds of tsessebe, klipspringer, crocodile, leopard, cheetah, blue wildebeest, red hartebeest, giraffe, white and black rhino and warthog.
Nesting in the cliffs are a variety of raptors such as black eagle, Wahlberg’s eagle, fish eagle, martial eagle, and the rare southern banded snake-eagle.
A breeding colony of the threatened bald ibis (umXwagele) make this their home, along with lappet faced and white backed vultures, ostriches and secretary birds.
Of the predators found, there are spotted hyena, brown hyena, as well as the elusive leopard and serval.
For more detailed overview of Ithala and the following camps: Ntshondwe Camp, Ntshondwe Chalets, Ntshodwe Lodge, Mhlangeni Bush Camp, Mbizo Bush Camp, Thalu Bush camp