South Africa’s beautiful Pongola Nature Reserve is located in Northern KwaZulu Natal. Pongola was one of the first proclaimed reserves in Africa.
The reserve has four of the Big Five (no lions) and offers incredible rhino sightings. The area also has more than 350 bird species.
Pongola Reserve is malaria-free. There are a handful of lodges on the reserve, the most remarkable of which is White Elephant – an incredibly eco-friendly lodge that somehow manages to balance conservation with safari luxury. White Elephant offers an incredible amount of eco-friendly and adventure activities including game capture, elephant encounters and boat cruises.
Conservation and History
The real success of this remarkable wilderness area came only in the late 1980s. Neighbouring private landowners pulled together and began plans for a much larger conservation area, which included Lake Jozini and surrounding private land and farmland.
Fences were dropped, cows sold, and carefully cultivated land returned to the wild whims of Mother Nature. Wildlife was carefully reintroduced including elephant, blue wildebeest, white rhino, giraffe and buffalo.
Today, Pongola Reserve is 310km2 in size and includes almost all of the indigenous animal species that inhabited the area over a century ago.
The wide Pongola River meanders through mountains and forests before running into the large Lake Jozini – home to the world’s best fighting fish – the fang-lipped, feisty-eyed tiger fish.