The Ndumu Game Reserve (area 10,000ha/25,000ac), situated in northeastern Zululand, on the Mozambique border, is one of the most interesting and most attractive in South Africa. It lies on the flood plain of the Pongola River, an expanse of wetland with tropical and subtropical habitats. In summer it is extremely hot in this area, with high air humidity. The rivers which flow through the reserve are lined with gallery forests. There are more than 200 species of trees, including some giant specimens of marula, wild fig trees and the fever tree. Ndumu Hill (115m/377ft) is covered with a forest of acacias.The dense forests and swamps of the reserve are occupied by large numbers of mammals, including hippopotamuses and crocodiles, various species of antelope, cheetahs and zebras. In the wetland areas are large numbers of insects and birds (some 400 species). For many tropical birds from East Africa this is their farthest point south.
The animals are sometimes difficult to sight in the dense forest: the best places for seeing them are along the rivers and on the many flood lakes. When to visit The Ndumu Game Reserve is open throughout the year. Between November and March it is oppressively hot; the best time for a visit is between May and July, which are also the best months for bird-watching.
There is accommodation for visitors in a hutted camp (self-catering; provisions can be bought in the village of Ndumu, 5km/3mi from the reserve; advance booking essential). There are guided walks and land-rover tours of the reserve; individual travelers can tour the reserve only in their car.