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birds

Zululand Birding Routes

 

The Ondini Historic Reserve

The Ondini Historic Reserve is located just outside Ulundi. It was the site of King Cetshwayo's royal homestead, and today is the headquarters of Amafa AkwaZulu Natali, the provincial heritage conservation body.  The Ondini Historic Reserve comprises about 300 ha of Zululand Thornveld bisected by a permanent river. While bushveld is the predominant veld type there are pockets of densely wooded areas as well as grassland and a temporary wetland. 

Directions 

From the R34 (Melmoth -Vryheid road) take the Ulundi turn-off. After crossing the Umfolozi River, take the second turn to the right (signposted as Umfolozi Game Reserve). You will pass the Ulundi Battlefield on your left. Continue on the dirt road. The Ondini complex is signposted 5km further along the road. 

Specials

A wide variety of bushveld bird species can be observed in the reserve. Raptors such as Verreaux's, Martial, Wahlberg's and Tawny Eagles, are often seen overhead and White-backed Vultures originating from Umfolozi Game Reserve are also often seen.  The area around the reception is good for Kurrichane and Ground-scraper Thrush, Black-crowned and Brown-crowned Tchagra, Orange-breasted and Grey-headed Bush Shrike, Puffback, Crested Francolin, Emerald-spotted Dove and White-crested Helmet-Shrike. Cape Rock Thrush, Familiar Chat and Jackal Buzzard can be seen in the rockier areas.  The thicker riverine bush provides habitat for Scaly-throated Honeyguide, Crowned Hornbill, White-throated Robin-Chat, Yellow-breasted Apalis and Paradise Flycatcher. 

Other Points of Interest 

Ondini was King Cetshwayo's capital and was torched by the British in 1879, after the Zulu were defeated at the Battle of Ulundi. The Royal Enclosure of Ondini has been reconstructed . A nearby Site museum interprets the life of King Cetshwayo and provides visitors with an insight into the Anglo-Zulu War of 1879.  KwaZulu Cultural Museum is located on the reserve. It exhibits examples of the rich cultural heritage of KwaZulu Natal: from the earliest inhabitants to the great Zulu Nation. The museum focuses of the Nguni speaking peoples of South-eastern Africa, and houses one of the most representative collections of Zulu material culture in the country. Of note is the famous collection of beadwork.

Opening times: Daily from 9h00 - 16h00 except for Good Friday and Christmas Day. A nominal entrance fee is charged.

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