Mkuze Falls Private Game Reserve

Mkuze Falls Private Game Reserve

The Mkuze Falls Private Game Reserve is host to an impressive variety of wildlife. Mkuze Falls is one of few private game reserves where you can view the " The Big Five "Take a journey with us and discover the richness and diversity of this unique part of the world we call Paradise, where "rush-hour" is unheard of. The unique ecosystems of riverine, wetland, lowveld bushveld and montane grassland provide the diversity and large quantity of birds and animal species.
The reserve is home to the Big Five, cheetah, hippo and a vast number of plains game. For ornithologists and bird-lovers, Mkuze Falls and its wetlands are an absolute must. There are more than 400 species of birds in the area. More specifically the reserve is home to the Fish Eagle, Giant Kingfisher, Narina Trogon and the spectacular Purple-crested Lourie to mention a few.

For those seeking a little adventure, there is the magnificent Maputaland coast to explore and fishing is available on Pongolapoort Dam. The Zululand Battlefields are in close proximity and there are many sites of historical importance to visit. The Reserve is located on land that once formed part of the 'Boer Republic', created when the pioneer leader, Piet Retief, bought the land from Dingaan, half- brother of the great Zulu King, Shaka.

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Mkuze Falls Private Game Reserve

Mkuze Falls Game Reserve is a haven to the African 'Big Five' as well as Cheetah, Hippo, Crocodile, spotted Hyena, Giraffe, Wildebeest and Zebra. Numerous species of antelope are also resident in the reserve and the elusive Nyala occurs in greater numbers here, than anywhere else in the world.

African Elephant
The African elephant is the world's largest land mammal. They are are generally placid but can be extremely dangerous if threatened. An elephant will "mock charge" trumpeting loudly, flapping its ears with its trunk extended in order to frighten off intruders. If an elephant is intent on attack, the charge assumes a decidedly different approach. The elephant is completely silent, its trunk is rolled up or held down out of harm's way and the tusks are extended. Elephant live for about 65 years. Gestation is about 22 months. A female weighs about 3.8 metric tons and the male 5.8 metric tons. Males have the larger tusks weighing in at about 90kg, on average. A record pair from an elephant in Central Africa weighed 200kg.

The African Lion is one of the most exciting animals to see for most tourists. This 'King of the Jungle' has earned its reputation for being the most fearsome and powerful predator in Africa. Prides are territorial and intruders are warned off by roaring. Most hunting is done by the females, while the males appropriate kills generally and the cubs get leftovers. The prey includes large and small mammals, birds and even reptiles. The females leave the pride to give birth of up to six cubs. The cubs are introduced carefully to the rest of the pride at about six weeks old. The female cubs generally stay in the pride while the males will leave after two to three years.

Cape Buffalo
The Cape buffalo has a well-deserved reputation of savagery, ferocity and cunning. They travel in large herds for protection from predators and will not hesitate to use their impressive horns to defend themselves from any perceived threat. Buffalo need to wallow in order to regulate their temperature and require good grazing, shade and plentiful water. They normally graze at night and will retire to a shady spot during the heat of the day to ruminate (chew the cud). Buffalo live for about 22 years. Males weigh about 700kg and females are about 100kg lighter. Horns are about 1.2m and they give birth to one, or more rarely two, calves.

The white rhino's name was derived from its original name, 'Wydt Rhino'. Wydt (wide) referred to the width of the rhino's mouth. The white rhino uses its square shaped lips and crops grass very close to the ground producing a natural lawn. Their habitat is grassy woodland and they prefer shorter grass. The white rhino is considerably larger than the black and is lighter in colour. The white rhino lives for about 40 years and their gestation period is about 453 days.

The leopard is a silent, solitary and secretive animal and the largest of the spotted cats in Africa. They enjoy surveying their surroundings from elevated vantage points where they may watch for prey. They are efficient hunters and prefer forested, hilly areas with rocky outcrops and hiding places. They are also found in long grass and bushy areas. Their favoured prey is small to medium-sized antelope, baboons, bushpigs, warthogs and jackals, although a wide variety of other animals is also hunted. The leopard usually drags its prey up into the high branches of a tree in order to protect the kill from other scavengers. The adult male is approximately 60kg and the female, 30kg. Their litters may number as many as six but normally the female gives birth to two or three cubs after a gestation period of about 100 days. The life expectancy of the leopard is 21 years.

The cheetah is the fastest mammal on earth, capable of speeds of up to 75km per hour over short distances. It is believed by geneticists that all cheetah are descended from a single female, after the species was nearly wiped out thousands of years ago by disease. This fact has led to a limited gene pool which, in conjunction with the intricate courtship ceremony, has led to enormous difficulties in breeding.  The cheetah is unable to retract its claws and generally prefers to live on open plains. Life expectancy is sixteen years. Females weigh about 40kg and males are generally about 10kg heavier.

Burchell's Zebra
Burchell's zebra can be easily distinguished from other zebras by the brown "shadow" stripe between the black stripes. Each zebra's stripes are unique and the female ensures that the foal looks at her immediately after birth. Her stripe pattern is "etched" into the foal's mind and serves to identify her. Those foals unlucky enough to see another zebra cannot identify their mothers and are normally rejected by the other animal and will die. Burchell's zebra generally favour open woodland and savannah. They are preyed upon by lion, spotted hyena and wild dogs. The gestation period is about 360 days and females give birth to one foal, occasionally two, and they live for about 20 years in the wild (double in captivity). An adult weighs about 320kg. Males can be identified by their thicker necks.

Nyala are normally found in groups of two or three, but may form herds of up to 30 animals. The are found in the Zambezi valley, in  Mozambique and in Northern KwaZulu-Natal. They are preyed upon chiefly by leopard and by lion and can be taken by crocodile. Young are taken by smaller predators including the baboon. The nyala was originally known as the Angas' bushbuck. Gestation is about 255 days. Males weigh 110kg, females 75kg. The shoulder height of the male is about 110cm. The female is slightly smaller at 95 cm. Both have yellow legs and the female is predominantly yellow. Their horns are about 80cm long.