What Is Mkuze Game Reserve?

Daphne Mallory

Mkuze Game Reserve is a protected area that covers 99,000 acres (40,000 hectares) in northern Zululand, South Africa. Sometimes spelled Mkhuze Game Reserve, it is part of the Greater St. Lucia Wetland Park and has been declared a World Heritage Site. Visitors to Mkuze Game Reserve can see a wide variety of bird species and animal life as well as scenic views of different habitats. There are several lodges within the reserve where tourists can stay, and it is open to the public year round. The summer months, from October through March, are considered the rainy season at this nature preserve, and thick vegetation can make it difficult to view the animals at times. The winter months, from April through September, are considered the dry season, when animal viewing opportunities are better.

Mkuze Game Reserve is located in South Africa.
Mkuze Game Reserve is located in South Africa.

The northern and eastern borders of the reserve are defined by the Mkuze River. Fig forests that line this waterway are home to a large amount of birds. More than 420 bird species can be viewed in Mkuze Game Reserve, and bird watching is often a favorite activity of tourists. Numerous watering holes are present in the reserve, and hides have been set up at three of them. Tourists can enter the hides and watch as wild game come to drink from the watering holes. African wildlife that can be viewed includes larger animals such as elephants, giraffes, and rhinoceros. Smaller animals such as antelopes, blue wildebeest, and warthogs are often sighted. There are even some rare species in the reserve, including hyenas and cheetahs.

Giraffes can be found in the Mkuze Game Reserve.
Giraffes can be found in the Mkuze Game Reserve.

There are numerous activities that visitors can take part in at Mkuze Game Reserve. More than 62 miles (100 km) of roads have been fashioned through the reserve for driving tours. Guided night drives are available, and guided game walks and birding walks are organized on a daily basis from the reserve’s main office. There are also swimming pools at some of the lodges for visitors to cool off in.

The Mkuze Game Reserve contains cheetahs.
The Mkuze Game Reserve contains cheetahs.

Full-service lodges are available for tourists to stay in at Mkuze Game Reserve. There is a campground that also provides chalets and safari tents for a more rustic feel. Visitors have to provide and cook their own food at the campground, and electricity is not always available. Sometimes there is a water shortage at the reserve, and visitors should call ahead to determine whether they need to transport their own drinking water. The reserve is a malarial area, so visitors must take precautions to avoid contracting the illness there.

The Mkuze Game Reserve offers lodge accommodations for safari travelers.
The Mkuze Game Reserve offers lodge accommodations for safari travelers.

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Discussion Comments


@Emilski - Not to sound harsh by any means, but welcome to visiting Africa. If someone is looking for a true African experience as a tourist they need to visit this place and they will be sure to experience Africa in a way that they will not by staying at a cozy lodge.

Most people that wish to visit Africa do so under the conditions that they stay at a place that is not necessarily too far from civilization and that they will be able to have some amenities provided for them.

Unfortunately when this happens someone is not experiencing a true African experience as they are looking to make sure they visit there, but are in comfort at the same time.

I suggest to not rule out this place and be sure to at least include it on a points of interest and give some thought to visiting it if one is in the area.


I have to say from this discussion is it worth traveling to this place? I think that you would have to incur extra costs in providing your own supplies that will be afforded to you at other places like this that have more resources.

I understand that this place may be lacking in some resources, but unfortunately most tourists and people in general are afraid of contracting malaria and do not wish to go to a place that is lacking in resources, like water, and choose to go to other places that provide for them.

I hope that this place is at least cheap as far as the costs goes and that they try to attract more people to this game reserve to make sure they make up for their lack of resources.


@matthewc23 - That is understandable, but I have to wonder exactly how many game reserves you have looked at? Most of the places like this in Africa are not in fact malaria free and it is very hard to make a place one hundred percent free of the disease.

This particular game reserve is no different that a lot of places in Africa like it and it may be too quick to judge in regards to this aspect.

In regards to water, a lot of the places in Africa have water shortages and droughts and this is just a natural occurrence that happens each and every year.

Most of the time the available water in the area is found in small pools that is found first by the animals and I guarantee that the people that work there will go nowhere near a lion when it is drinking from an available water source.


I have to say that I find this to be very surprising that they have a game reserve nowadays in Africa that is not malaria free.

I know that there are several other game reserves in Africa that are in fact malaria free and take extreme steps in order to keep it that way.

I find it surprising that they would have a place like this that is set to bring thousands of tourists each and every year and that there is a real chance that the people could attract the disease that has killed millions since it was first founded.

Also, the fact that people have to bring their own water to the preserve makes me have to wonder exactly how this place is run and exactly what kind of shape it is in. It makes me a little suspicious in planning a trip to Africa and including this on my list of places to see.

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