Bonamanzi Game Reserve, Zululand, KwaZulu Natal, South Africa
Accommodation: Cottages, tree houses and luxury lodge
Activities: Boat cruises, bush dinner, game drives, bush walks, spa
Highlights: One of the best birding locations in South Africa
Bonamanzi Game Reserve, a Natural Heritage site, is one of the largest private wildlife and birding parks in Zululand. With just under 4000 hectares of pristine bush to explore, each day is different whether you are sighting rare African birds, tracking Elephants or joining in with the Zulu dancers around the campfire.
Fly into Durban for the Bonamanzi safari experience where local Zulu guides will introduce you to animals big and small and some of the most endangered and rare bird species in South Africa. Bonamanzi is a Zulu name which means: 'Look! Water!' Take advantage of water-based activities like a bird cruise down the Hluhluwe River and see Flamingo, Pelican, Hippos and Crocodiles at the adjoining World Heritage site of Lake St Lucia.
If you want to link your Zululand Experience to a visit to the Big Five game viewing areas of Kruger Park and Swaziland, plan to visit Bonamanzi en-route to Durban and the Cape. Bonamanzi is an hour and a half's drive from the Golela Border Post with Swaziland.
Bonamanzi is consistently rated one of the top birding sites in South Africa. Three different habitats of sand forest, grasslands and woodlands have resulted in a rich diversity of species and it is because of the special nature of the area that Bonamanzi was recognised as a Natural Heritage Site in November 1995.
There are few places where you can find 29 birds on the red data list. Bonamanzi has over 349 recorded bird species. The endangered sand forest area is home to very special birds like the Pink-throated Twinspot, Lemon-breasted Canary and Rudd's Apalis.
Equally rewarding, is a guided walk out onto the St Lucia floodplains where you can see different birding habitats, rare birds and a whole host of waterbirds. If you are a casual birder, all you need is walking shoes and a dollop of enthusiasm while serious birders can look forward to unusual sightings.
One of the most popular activities is the boat birding cruise where you enjoy a leisurely trip down the Hluhluwe River spotting Jacana, Kingfisher, Crocodiles, Spurwing Geese and a whole host of river birds.