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Diversity is the key to Ithala Game Reserve. Proclaimed a nature reserve in 1973, the reserve has grown steadily with the addition of purchased land in adjoining areas.
The reserve measures 29 653 ha in extent and is situated on the south bank of the Pongola River, about 70 km east of Vryheid. It is some 400 km north of Durban and 500 km from Johannesburg.
Apart from a wide selection of tourist facilities, Ithala Game Reserve offers a fascinating variety of terrain, habitats, mammals, birds and trees.
The reserve is also rich in history, having been continually occupied during major events of the 19th and 20th century, such as the reigns of Shaka and other Zulu kings, the arrival of the Voortrekkers in Natal, the Anglo-Zulu war of 1879, the Anglo-Boer wars (1880 - 1902) and the anti-nagana campaign of the 1920s.
Evidence of earlier occupation by middle stone age and iron age people can be seen.
The terrain is extremely rugged, rising from 400 m above sea level in the north to 1400 m above sea level in the south, near Louwsburg. Several rivers rise in or near the reserve, winding down steep river valleys to the Pongola River which forms the northern boundary.
The steep terrain made geological exploration easy and resulted in the establishment of two gold mines (now obsolete) in the early 1900s. The geological diversity which is a feature of the reserve has resulted in the production of a variety of soils and a rich diversity of vegetation.
In turn, each plant community hosts a wide selection of insects, reptiles, amphibians and mammals. We have compiled this booklet in order to enhance your visit and experience to Ithala.
It is by no means comprehensive but should provide sufficient information to whet your appetite.