- Published: Monday, 24 November 2014 18:37
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– trees, birds, animals, hiking
Nkandla Forest Tel: 035: 473 0700 www.kznwildlife.com
The name Nkandla was taken from one of the biggest forest in Nkandla which is (Nkandla Forest). It is situated about 56km north-west of the town of Eshowe and 68km from Melmoth. The Forest is under the supervision of Ezemvelo KZN Wildlife (Zululand Regional Office based in Eshowe). The forest is home to a range of birds and the Karkloof Blue butterflies. The forest also has historical significance as this is where Zulu warriors were hiding during the Bhambatha battle. Significant sites relating to the forest reserve includes Manziphambana (a place where two water streams cross and the grave of King Cetshwayo. Nkandla Forest comprises of 1600ha of climax mist belt forest and is one of the most outstanding examples in South Africa. It lies above the Umhlathuze and Thukela rivers at a height of between 1 100 and 1 300m above sea level. Streams arising in the forest form deep gorges leading into the Nsuze River, which runs southeast along the base of the ridge. It is strongly recommended that you take a guide with you, as some paths are not obvious. There are currently no visitor facilities in Nkandla Forest, though people who wish to hike or camp may seek the permission of the Officer in Charge.
Throughout Zulu history Nkandla forest has been a place of mystery, the home of supernatural beings, and a formidable stronghold and place of retreat. The Chube people are ironworkers associated with Nkandla area and Shaka as never able to conquer them. It has always been the last retreat of the Zulu from Shaka `s time to that of Bhambatha. Apart form being an area of great, often pristine, natural beauty, Nkandla Forest represents a rare type of high wet rain forest, of which very few examples survive. Most people visit the area for bird watching, hiking and game viewing.