Itala Game Reserve overlooks the Pongola River Valley in the rugged mountainous thornveld of northern KwaZulu Natal. The reserve was proclaimed a protected area in 1972 and currently covers 296 km2.
This is an extremely beautiful area, with six tributaries of the Pongola river running through the reserve, as well as open grasslands, rugged rocky outcrops, valleys and bushveld. The reserve has 75 different mammal species, among them black and white rhino, elephant, leopard and cheetah. There are also 320 different kinds of birds, making it a hot spot for birders.
Scenic beauty aside, Itala’s most characteristic feature is its geographical diversity. Some of the oldest rock formations in the world are found here, dating back three million years.
The reserve is also situated on historic land. It was the setting for many historic events and frontier wars of the 19th and 20th centuries. Early gold mining enterprises blossomed here and great battles from the Anglo-Boer wars were fought nearby. The topography varies from 400 to 1,450 metres above sea level, giving rise to a great diversity of habitats, flora and fauna.