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Ken Borland

Mkuze Falls

Posted on April 24, 2012 by Ken

In true Borland fashion, a 75km jaunt in search of the reputed home of the Black Coucal turned into a massive two-hour journey on dirt roads!

The info I had suggested Mkuze Falls was a short distance west of the N2 highway, but the truth is the place is damn remote! You actually have to take the road to Ithala and Louwsburg, which is not tar, despite what the maps tell you, and then turn south towards Nongoma on another dirt road, before about 5km of tar brings you to the Mkuze Falls turnoff.

No wonder they have an airstrip and a helipad at the fancy game lodge there – most of their clients will just fly in!

Anyway, it was fun enjoying some new territory and the scenery was great heading into the hills and bushveld of Zululand, making a change from the coastal floodplain I’m more familiar with.

The highlight of the drive there was another Lizard Buzzard, and this one flew across the road, prominently displaying his big white rump.

We talked our way into the lodge, saying we wanted to collect brochures …. the Blue Steed (my VW Polo) looked rather out of place at the ornate front door, covered in dust and spewing forth two almost dustier, dirtier Borlands. (It had been a long day, we’d been to Muzi Pans in the morning). Obviously my shirt also had a hole in it …

But Lauren suggested rich men sometimes dressed down, so we should be okay …

The Mkuze Falls Lodge certainly has a wonderful setting, high on a hill overlooking the falls and river.

On the way out, I mounted the dam wall where we had a drink and a bite to eat. The habitat certainly looked ideal for Black Coucal, but there have to be places that are easier to reach to find him!

On the way back to Bonamanzi, we saw Redbilled Oxpecker on the cattle and two large snakes on the road – the Olive Grass Snake and the Southern African Python.

Sightings list

White Helmetshrike

Blackcollared Barbet

Emeraldspotted Wood Dove

Southern Greyheaded Sparrow

Pintailed Whydah

Blackeyed Bulbul

Crested Francolin

Lizard Buzzard

Laughing Dove


Blue Wildebeest

Tawnyflanked Prinia

Rattling Cisticola

Pale Flycatcher


Goldenbreasted Bunting

Redbilled Oxpecker

Speckled Mousebird

Olive Grass Snake

Southern African Python


2 to “Mkuze Falls”

  1. Some truly superb posts on this web site, regards for contribution. “The key to everything is patience. You get the chicken by hatching the egg, not by smashing it.” by Arnold Glasgow.

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