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Entabeni State Forest consists of a large network of Afromontane forest in the Eastern Soutpansberg. Covering approximately 1853ha, this is one of the largest remaining indigenous forests in the Soutpansberg. A tropical climate makes for an interesting combination of Afromontane and tropical vegetation elements.

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Specials

Blue-spotted Wood-Dove, Olive Woodpecker, White-starred Robin, Chorister Robin-Chat, Brown Scrub-Robin, Crested Guineafowl, Yellow-streaked Greenbul and Narina Trogon.

Samango Monkey, Bushbuck and Red Duiker are quite common and the Transvaal Forest Rain Frog can be heard calling on misty and drizzly days.

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Habitats

Entabeni is a lovely example of Soutpansberg Afromontane forest ,with a canopy height of 20-30 metres. Extensive pine plantations surround the forest.

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Facilities

There are no visitor facilities besides a path that runs through the forest.

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Birding

1. Entabeni Forest is probably the best place in South Africa to find the elusive Blue-spotted Wood-Dove. Although still uncommon, calling individuals can be heard hooting at up to two individuals per one kilometer at times. The Doves appear to be particularly vociferous in the early morning on overcast and drizzly days. Beware of confusion with the Tambourine Dove, which also occurs in the forest, and the Emerald-spotted Wood-Dove, which is fairly common, especially within 100m of the forest edge. The Blue-spotted Wood-Dove is very shy and elusive and is usually seen darting out of the herb cover when flushed. With a rapid flight, the dove retreats to thick undergrowth and is generally difficult to track down. If you do manage to find a spotted dove, bill colour seems to be a reliable identification guide (spot colour can be unreliable in dark forests).

2. There is a lovely 2.2km path meandering through the forest up to Matiwe Kop – a lookout that commands lovely views over some prime indigenous forest. The first 1.9km is very easy walking with the last stretch taking one up a fairly steep path to the lookout point. As one reaches the last steep section, keep a close watch for the resident Orange Ground-Thrush that are seen fairly regularly. The Orange Ground-Thrush is most often found foraging quietly in the leaf litter. They are generally very skittish so walking quietly is essential. On finding an orange-coloured thrush, check the bill colour, the Orange Ground-Thrush has a black bill.

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General

Entabeni Forest is situated in the Eastern Soutpansberg, close to Levubu village. On entering Louis Trichardt from Pietersburg, take a right turn at the second four-way stop (to Thohoyandou and Punda Maria). Travel about 45km down this road, passing Albasini Dam, Royal Macadamia and ‘U NO ME’ fruitstall. The turnoff is on the left sidegoing up a hill on the left side (at a power substation) and is marked Timbadola Sawmill and Entabeni Forest. The SAFCOL plantation offices are a few kilometres down this road at a boom gate.

The plantation access roads are generally well maintained and the forest is accessible to sedan vehicles. The roads are, however, very slippery during and immediately after rain (especially during harvesting). Visitors should never stray off the main access roads (even in a 4x4) as secondary plantation roads can be surprisingly muddy (and dangerous).

Entry fee: R5 p/p and R10 p/v

Dale Forbes 2001.



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