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Mhlopeni Nature Reserve conserves a superb area of valley bushveld and upland grasslands between Greytown and Muden. It is a privately owned reserve of 1 325 ha. The roads are rather primitive but access by all vehicles is possible. Once in the reserve, all exploration can be performed on foot. An information brochure which includes a map, history, geological and other information and tree, mammal and bird list is available. A weekend visit should produce 80-100 species of birds.

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Specials

White-bellied Korhaan, Verreauxs' Eagle, Secretarybird, Cape Vulture, Acacia Pied Barbet and Half-collared Kingfisher,

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Birding

1) A must for all birders is to visit the Verreauxs' Eagle nest above the hutted camp. Superb views of the chick in the nest can be obtained from July to December. Cape Vulture frequently roost on the cliffs and Rock Kestrel are usually in attendance. Allow an hour for the walk excluding the time spent watching the chick.

2) The bushveld around the camps and on the walk to the Verreauxs' Eagle nest is very rich. Regular birds include Green Wood-Hoopoe, Common Scimitarbill, Acacia Pied Barbet, Fiscal Flycatcher, Brubru, Orange-breasted Bush-Shrike, Grey-headed Bush-Shrike, Chestnut-vented Tit-Babbler, Long-billed Crombec and Grey Penduline-Tit. These birds are regular breeders and some fascinating nests can be found in the reserve near Mphafa hutted camp. Quiet observers in the camps will be rewarded with visiting Cape Robin-Chat, White-throated Robin-Chat and White-browed Scrub-Robin.

3) The river systems harbour other interesting birds such as Giant Kingfisher, Half-collared Kingfisher and African Pygmy-Kingfisher (the latter nesting near the Mvumvu hutted camp), Little Sparrowhawk, Purple-crested Turaco, Trumpeter Hornbill, Crowned Hornbill, Red-fronted Tinkerbird and Swee Waxbill.

4) The main house views a wonderful cliff with nesting Southern Bald Ibis (spring and summer) and African Harrier-Hawk. Around the house Greater Double-collared Sunbird, Mocking Cliff-Chat and Cape Rock-Thrush have become acclimatised to human proximity and allow close approach.

5) At night the camps are productive for African Wood-Owl, Barn Owl and Fiery-necked Nightjar.

6) The grasslands hold such species as White-bellied Korhaan, nesting Secretarybird and Blue Crane. The grassland walk takes approximately 4 hours.

As the reserve nestles in the corner of the Tugela Valley system, bushveld birds more reminiscent of Zululand regularly occur and include Green-winged Pytilia, Marabou Stork, Tawny Eagle, Brown Snake-Eagle, Namaqua Dove and Grey Go-away-bird.

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General

Mhlopeni Nature Reserve is 24km from Greytown on the Muden road (turn left at the signboard) and the range of accommodation is offered from camping, hutted camps with basic chalets to A-frame tents.

Contact Mr or Mrs Alcock - telephone 033 4961722.




Adam Riley 2001.
Rockjumper Birding Tours

Rockjumper Website



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