Somkhanda Game Reserve
Size: 12,000 ha / 120 km2
SpeciesNumbers: *35 Mammals *94 Birds *45 Reptiles
BigFive: No – only leopard and rhino are present
* Track rhino on foot as part of the daily rhino monitoring
* Game viewing is very good and, within reason, you are free to do as you wish. Game walks, birding, relaxing and enjoying Africa as it should be
* There are so many different roads for game viewing and the chances of meeting another vehicle are almost nil. Once on the reserve you get the feeling of being the only person in your own private reserve
Situated in Northern Zululand, Somkhanda Game Reserve is a 12,000 hectare community-owned game reserve which forms part of an important conservation corridor between the Zululand Rhino Reserve and Pongola Game Reserve, particularly for the endangered black rhino and wild dog. It is located in one of the world’s major biodiversity hotspots know as the Maputaland-Pondoland-Albany Hotspot and is home to white and black rhino, impala, greater kudu, giraffe, and an extraordinarily high density of leopard compared to any other reserve in Africa.
The land is owned by the Gumbi tribe as a result of a series of successful land claims and is represented by the legal entity known as the Emvokweni Community Trust (ECT). The southern section of the game reserve borders onto the Mkuze River.
The undergirding principle on which the eco-tourism strategy for Somkhanda Game Reserve is summed up in the concept of “Science On Safari”. Visitors are encouraged to participate in the daily rhino monitoring and other on-going wildlife management and research activities on the reserve, where there is limitless opportunity to learn about all aspects of wildlife and the environment.
There is a mix of accommodation options from Kudu Bushlodge private camp to Scotia Camp – a 20-bedded mobile-tented camp. There is a choice of two swimming pools and you have the freedom to select fully-catered or self-catering, or a ‘bush-veld dinner’ under the stars. African Insight look after the tourism and hospitality aspect of Somkhanda in partnership with Wildlands Conservation Trust who manage the reserve and also train community members to help run it.
Somkhanda Game Reserve is located about 50km south of the border of Swaziland on the R69 (Nongoma/Vryheid road). Pongola is the nearest town to the north, 40 km from the reserve. Mkuze town is 40 km to the south of the reserve. The drive is approximately 4 and a half hours from Durban on the N2.
* The park is in a low risk malaria area
* For 4x4 self-drive guests a basic map is provided, however, there is no road signage on the reserve so a GPS is advisable
* Visitors without 4x4 vehicles can participate in the traditional open game drive and bush walk safari experiences