Mkhuze Game Reserve

Mkhuze Game Reserve lies east of the Lebombo Mountain range. It covers forty-thousand hectares of pristine wilderness. The reserve hosts a greater diversity of animal species than similarly sized conservation areas. Some of the safaris we offer to the northern part of KwaZulu-Natal visit Mkuze. African Sky can also tailor-make safaris to this area of unique ecology.

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Mkhuze Game Reserve is a real gem in the lake region of KwaZulu-Natal. It is a place of significant contrasts, ranging from mountainous terrain to thick forests and open savannahs.

The reserve is home to 80 species of mammal and 420 different bird species. Mammals include large herds of impala, white and black rhinoceros, giraffes, nyala, blue wildebeest, kudu, and warthog. Lucky visitors can spot cheetahs, hyenas, and leopards. The Nsumo Pan, a king-size bird bath, is revered by avid bird watchers worldwide.

40 000 Hectares
Mammals Species
Bird Species

Reasons to Visit



The varied landscape at Mkuze creates unique opportunities for game viewing and photography. The park is a scenic delight from the Lebombo mountains to densely wooded thickets and open savannah areas. Extensive wetlands that dot the park are home to large hippo and crocodile populations.


Proximity to Other Parks

Mkuze is located in a part of South Africa with an abundance of national parks and other conservation areas. These parks and reserves are easily accessible while staying at Mkuze. Hluhluwe-iMfolozi, iSimangaliso Wetland Park, Lake Sibaya, and the turtle-nesting sights of Sodwana and Kosi Bay are all nearby.


Comfortable Accommodations

Matuma Camp and Nhlonhlela offer comfortable en-suite accommodation in the park. Options range from self-catering tented accommodation to chalets and cottages under thatch. Various campsites are also available in Mkuze. There is a small shop and a filling station at Matuma.

Experiences to Savor at Mkuze Game Reserve

The experiences on offer at Mkuze are all wildlife and nature related, though you have quite a few options to interact with the wildlife and scenery of Mkuze.


Mkuze is one of South Africa's top birding destinations. The park offers four hides near waterholes or wetlands that are ideal spots to observe the rich bird life in the area. The Fig Forest in the southern part of Mkuze is another hotspot for birders, as many species feasts on the fruits produced by these trees.

High Animal Concentrations

The early mornings and late afternoons are the best times to enjoy game drives and bush walks in search of the mammals in the area. The high rainfall and fertile soils at Mkuze support a very high concentration of animals, making this conservation area ideal for game viewing.

Rhino Encounters

Both black and white rhinos are prevalent throughout the park. You can normally spot white rhinos in the open savannah areas, while black rhinos prefer more densely wooded areas. Viewing these magnificent animals in their natural habitat is a delightful experience on any safari in Mkuze.


What are the gate times at Mkuze?
From November to February, gates open at 05:00 at close at 19:00. The times from March to October are 06:00 to 18:00.
Can I drink the water?
Yes, though the water is heavily chlorinated. It is a good idea to bring bottled water or to purchase it at a small shop in Matuma.
Is Mkuze in a Malaria area?
Yes. We recommend consulting your doctor as to the best anti-malaria prophylactics for you.
Will I have access to the Internet?
Internet access is available via the mobile network in some parts of the park.
Is there a shop in Mkuze?
Yes, a small shop that sells necessities and local crafts is available at Mantuma.
What is the closest town?
The town of Mkuze is about 18km from the park.
Where should I stay if I am looking for luxury accommodation?
The Phinda Private Game and Mkuze Falls private game reserves offer the finest luxury accommodation in the area.

Useful Travel Info

Getting There

By Air

The closest airport to Mkuze is Richards Bay. There are daily flights to the airport from Johannesburg and Durban. When traveling with African Sky, your guide will meet you at the airport, from where a short drive brings you to Mkuze or one of the private luxury reserves in the area.

By Road

It is about 500 km from Johannesburg to Mkuze and roughly 350 from Durban. The safaris and tours we offer will typically overnight at other destinations before visiting Mkuze. In all cases, you travel in a private air-conditioned vehicle.

Weather & Best Time To Visit

Mkuze has subtropical weather, with hot and humid summers and pleasant winter days though the evenings might be chilly. The area is best visited from April to September when game viewing is your primary focus. If you are a bird-watching enthusiast, you will have to endure summer heat to spot the maximum number of birds in the area.


The official proclamation of Mkuze Game Reserve took place in 1912. From 1922 game guards were stationed in the area. These men reported to Vaughan Kirby. The first appointed game conservator of Zululand. In the 1920s, some illegal settlements sprang up. The reserve also suffered a lot of poaching until the early 1970s, when authorities implemented stricter game protection measures. The reserve is, however, plagued by the scourge of poaching to some degree even today.


Mkuze is a reserve where you can observe the Big 5 in its natural surroundings. It can sustain high concentrations of mammals due to the fertile nature of its soil and vegetation. Fascinating encounters with hippos and crocodiles, black and white rhinos, elephants, leopards, and lions are highlights of a visit to Mkuze. You could encounter rare animals like Cheetahs, Wild dogs, Hyenas, and the tiny suni antelope. Common antelope species that graze and browse here are impala, kudu, nyala, klipspringer, common and mountain reedbuck, waterbuck, zebra, blue wildebeest, and bushbuck.

It is one of South Africa's top birdwatching destinations. You could spot an incredible 420 different bird species. Excellent bird hides adjacent to water sources cater to avid birders.

Vegetation & Terrain

Significant variance exists in the different habitats at Mkuze. Few, if any, other reserves in South Africa are home to so many diverse ecosystems. The reserve boasts mountainous terrain and an open savannah in its western section. Mkuze is also home to sand forests, riverine forests, and wetland areas.


The primary activities at Mkuze focus on the region's animal and bird life, with 4x4 game drives, bush walks, and birdwatching from well-constructed bird hides. Additionally, you could go on a cultural village tour, a walking safari, or visit a crocodile and reptile park. Regionally there is tiger fishing in the Jozini dam. Mkuze is close to Ithala, Hluhluwe iMfolozi, and the diving spots at Sodwana.

Top National Parks

Kruger Park
Knysna Lakes