The Ithala Game Reserve, from the heights of the Ngotshe Mountains descends a thousand meters into a deep valley, carved over eons by the Pongola River, revealing some of the World's oldest rock formations, offering a variety of biomes to be a game viewering paradise.
Situated in the rugged, mountainous thornveld of northern KwaZulu-Natal, the Itala Game Reserve's multitude of habitats host a spectacular array of wildlife species. Its scenic beauty aside, Ithala's most characteristic feature is perhaps its astonishing geological diversity. Some of the oldest rock formations in the world are found here, dating back 3 000 million years. With a topographic profile varying from 400m above sea level in the north to 1 450m near Louwsberg in the south, Ithala's terrain extends over lowveld and densely vegetated riverine valleys, to high-lying grassland plateaus, ridges and cliff faces. The area now proclaimed as Ithala has been occupied by man for thousands of years and there are many sites littered with stone age spear and axe heads dating back some 20,000 years. More recently, in the last few hundred years, with the arrival of the Nguni people, iron smelting took place within the Ithala Game Reserve, there are a number of smelting sites adjacent to deposits of ironstone which was crushed to provide the iron ore. Ithala has an excellent self-drive auto trail to facilitate visitor's game viewing, and a guide booklet is available in the camp shop at Ntshondwe, Ithala's main camp.
The Ithala Game Reserve was proclaimed in 1973 and has been added to, now 29,653 ha in extent. Originally farmland, an extensive reintroduction of endemic species took place. These include buffalo, black and white rhino, kudu, tsessebe, red hartebeest, eland, giraffe, aardwolf and brown hyena. A herd of young elephant was introduced in 1990, and have become well established.
The Ithala Game Reserve has a Main Camp, Ntshondwe, with self-catering, non self-catering chalets and a Lodge.
There is a restaurant, take-away, bar and conference centre.
Away in the bush are three Bush Camps.
Thalu Bush Camp
Mbizo Bush Camp
Mhlangeni Bush Camp