Wilderness Experiences

At mFulaWozi Private Game Reserve

“The beauty of Africa is not man-made,
it’s nature’s gift to humanity.”

Paul Oxon

Historical

The area is steeped in history and forms an island of natural habitat surrounded by densely populated communities and agricultural lands. Our guides, who all grew upin the region, are fully conversant with the history and culture of the Zulu people.

Hluhluwe iMfolozi Park is the oldest proclaimed area on the African continent, and is now joined with the mFulaWozi Wilderness Game Reserve.

There are archaeological indications that people lived in and around the area as early as the Stone Age to the late Iron Age. The Khoisan people exploited most of the region during the Stone Age and later evidence suggests that between 200 - 300 AD, with more advanced technology, they began moving into Zululand.

These early inhabitants are believed to be ancestors of the Nguni-speaking people. Today much of the woodlands and savannah are no longer considered ‘pristine’ due to the Iron Age farmers practice of slash-and-burn that had a profound effect on the present wilderness.

Shaka Zulu established his royal hunting grounds in this area during his reign between 1818 and 1828. Evidence of this still exists today.

In the early 1800s the ‘great white hunters’ arrived and decimated hundreds of thousands of animals, through mass slaughtering of wildlife. In under fifty years, all the elephant herds were slaughtered and the rhino population was on the verge of extinction. In 1890, there were only 100 white rhino, left in the entire world.

Historians have traced the beginnings of the Zulu tribe back to about 1670, to an old black nomadic man in the Babanango area, KwaZulu-Natal’s northern midlands, who had two sons Qwabe and Zulu. Zulu later took a wife from a neighbouring clan and his two sons took the name Zulu as their family name. This was the flimsy beginnings of a mighty nation.

Shaka Zulu, son of Nandi Behebhe, took a virtually insignificant population of 1 700, and created a mighty kingdom, with his vision of an empire where his word was supreme. It is estimated that there are some 11 million Zulu people in South Africa today.

mFulaWozi and surrounding areas are steeped in history and the area’s game reserves are islands of natural habitat surrounded by densely populated communities and agricultural lands. Our guides, many of whom grew up in the surrounding regions, are conversant with the history and culture of the Zulu people.

The mFulaWozi node and the surrounding areas are home to many significant historical sites. 

There is Gooki Hill where Shaka and Zwide fought one of the most decisive battles in the history of  Zululand. In this battle, Zwide lost five sons and 7 500 warriors against a substantially smaller army led by Shaka. If it had not been for the military brilliance that was the man Shaka, the rise of the Zulu nation would have been stunted.

When Shaka was young, his mother, Nandi was forced to leave Qwabe to live amongst the Mthethwa people, led by Dingiswayo. She found a good place to raise her sons Shaka, Ngwadi and daughter Nomcuba. Shaka joined a Chwe regiment led by Bhuza. It was amongst Mthethwa Clan that Shaka developed his military tactics. During these early years Dingiswayo Godongwane kaJobe played an important part as a mentor
in Shaka’s life.

Dingiswayo’s grave site lies about 10 kms from mFulaWozi in the Mthethwa area. Shaka appointed his first induna (general) just 1 km away from the spring in mFulaWozi. The appointment of this first indian was the beginning of the rise of the feared Zulu army.

Mthembu lodge is situated on previously owned Mthethwa land given later to the Mthembu.

The ‘Valley of the Kings’, the burial ground of a number of early Zulu kings is located nearby and is also where the ‘Spirit of Emakhosini’ can be visited.

Some consider the Zulu to be custodians of the soul of South Africa. KwaZulu-Natal remains their home no matter where in the world they may live today.

It is here where you will discover why the Zulu people refer to themselves as ‘the people of the heavens’.

Wildlife Adventure

mFulaWozi and surrounds are home to a rich diversity of wildlife including the ‘Big 5’ – Black & Southern White Rhinoceros, African Elephant, Cape Buffalo, Lion and Leopard. Other intriguing species you can encounter, include skilled hunting packs of African Wild Dog, curious Honey Badgers, cheeky and daring Spotted Hyena, graceful Giraffe, Nile Crocodiles faking somnambulance in the sun, and scurrying mongooses.

As one of the last havens of large numbers of ungulates and the predators they support, this Big 5 game reserve is one of the most important conservation areas in South Africa.

“mFulaWozi and surrounds are home to a rich diversity of wildlife including the ‘Big 5′.”

The region is famous for its White Rhino and now has one of the largest populations in the world.

In 1895 there were only 100 White Rhino left in the world. In 1960 once the reserve had been established and the tsetse fly eradicated the rhino population had grown to 2 300 due primarily to the Save The Rhino campaign. This operation has helped introduce 4 500 White Rhino across South Africa and the rhino in this area is now rated as the 6th Global Key Population by IUCN African Rhino Specialist Group.

Elephants were introduced after the mass slaughtering after an absence of 80 years. The elephant population is now about 700 elephants and contraception is being used to maintain sustainable levels.

Lions were introduced in the early 1990s but early signs showed high cub mortality rates due to inbreeding which has now been corrected through new genes been introduced. The area now contains some 120 lions.

African Wild Dogs were introduced in 1980 and 2002. Cheetah were brought in in 1966 and are still problematic. Giraffe and Impala are introduced species. Nyala and Blue Wildebeest have had their populations supplemented, whilst the species previously abundant are Blue Duiker, Common Reedbuck, Mountain Reedbuck, Waterbuck, Brown Hyena, and Black-Backed Jackal.

Visitors can also encounter Wild Cat, Serval, Aardwolf, Aardvark, Burchell’s ZebraBush-pig, Warthog, Chacma Baboons, Vervet Monkey as well as various antelope species including Waterbuck, Kudu, Impala, Reedbuck, Bushbuck, Red Duiker, Steenbok, Suni, and a variety of Tortoises, Terrapins, Snakes, and Lizards. Endangered reptiles include the Nile Crocodile and African Rock Python.

The main threats are invasive plants such as the triffid weed, parthenium weed and prickly pear. An increase in the woody component is an ongoing threat as bush encroachment occurs resulting in the displacement of bird species. The encroachment process is slowed due to burns and elephants. Poisoning and poaching has also been reported in the parks.

This area not only protects our natural wilderness and wildlife but plays a critical role in the creation of jobs amongst the impoverished communities surrounding the reserves.

The mFulaWozi area has a wealth of wildlife. Years of degradation has impacted on this area forever creating enormous stress on the wildlife but it has managed to survive and continue its struggle to exist and grow, despite the odds.

Many have now described this area as being ‘as close to a state of naturalness as you can get.

Wilderness Walks & Trails

Our carefully facilitated wilderness walk and trail experiences aim to instil an appreciation for our natural world and respect for the needs and laws of our natural environment. Our bush walks and trails are conducted by experienced and armed guides who will add to your adventure and knowledge. Our Trails Officer is assisted by a Field Ranger. Both are fully qualified and trained. Their deep understanding of the wilderness will safeguard you but also enrich the experience.

“In every walk with nature, one receives far more than he seeks.”
– John Muir

This is a life-changing experience, that evokes a new respect and appreciation for our natural habitat.

The original Wilderness Leadership School, a nonprofit organisation founded in 1957 by the legendary late Dr. Ian Player was the first organisation in Africa dedicated to providing a pure wilderness experience. Now at mFulaWozi we continue that legacy

It is virtually impossible to describe the feeling of being on foot in the wild, at the mercy of nature, listening to the roar of lions, or sensing the presence of elephants, the giants of the wilderness. You are one with nature - changing your perspective, stirring something deep inside, that will effect you for the rest of your life.

Nature is place of reflection. A place of where nature provides nourishment for the soul.  During our bushwalking tours, you'll get to feel and experience the wilderness untouched. To witness moments that only a handful of humans will ever get to experience in their lifetimes. Learn why nature is the way it is. It will open your eyes to a new way to respect our environment. So be privileged to walk with the wildness of mFulaWozi. If you are looking for that perspective of purpose that will change your life forever - take a walk on our wild side.

Birding

This wilderness area is known to support over 400 bird species, nearly half of the total bird species found in the southern African sub-region. The bird diversity is attracted by the wide variety of habitats in the area. This diversity includes a number of important populations of large, widespread birds that have suffered outside of this protected reserve.

The riverine thickets act as forest corridors which are used by altitudinal migrant forest species which leave the Drakensberg to the west, and move down to the lowveld to escape the severe escarpment winters.

“Several bird species that are rare in the rest of South Africa, and species that are globally and regionally threatened are frequently sighted here.”

The rivers, floodplains, pans, dams, and vleis are important for many wetland-dependent birds, including the Black Stork which breeds in gorges in the nearby mountains. Woolly-necked Stork, African Open-bill, and Saddle-billed Stork occur in small numbers. When conditions are suitable, Pink-backed Pelican, Great White Pelican, Lesser Moorhen, Allen’s Gallinule and African Marsh Harrier occur in small numbers. Several pairs of Southern Bald Ibis are known to breed within this area, both forage mostly outside the reserve.

Several large bird species that are rare in the rest of South Africa are frequently sighted here, and this area is the most important in KwaZulu-Natal for the conservation of these bird species. They include White-backed Vulture, White-headed Vulture, Lappet-faced Vulture, Martial Eagle, Bateleur, and Tawny Eagle. Southern Ground-Hornbill, Denhams Bustard, Pallid Harrier, Grass Owl, and Pels Fishing Owl occur in smaller numbers. The varied woodland communities support several typical bushveld bird species, including Brown-headed Parrot, White-throated Robin-chat, Gorgeous Bush-Shrike, and Grey Sunbird.

Globally threatened bird species are the Southern Bald Ibis, Southern Ground-Hornbill, White-backed Vulture (300-400 breeding pairs and some 1000 individuals), Lappet-faced Vulture (11-15 breeding pairs and 30-50 individuals), Martial Eagle (4–6 breeding pairs and 10-18 individuals), Bateleur and Crowned Eagle.

Regionally threatened bird species are White-backed Night Heron, Tawny Eagle (2-3 breeding pairs and 6-9 individuals, African Marsh Harrier, African Finfoot, African Pygmy Goose, Lanner Falcon, and Half-collared Kingfisher. Common restricted-range and biome-restricted species include Kurrichane Thrush, Chorister Robin-Chat, Rudd’s Apalis, Gorgeous Bush-Shrike, White-bellied Sunbird, and Pink-throated Twinspot.

This is one of the most important birding conservation areas in South Africa as it is one of the last havens for many of these bird species.

Our Wellness Team is fully conversed in all aspects of wellness and in deep relaxation and supervised fasting.

With the benefit of our comprehensive holistic wellness team, we offer varied practices, adjustable diet programmes, health workshops, and various yoga and biking activities.

We offer our guests a comprehensive range of premium outdoor activities that will leave you spoilt for choice.

These are great opportunities to indulge in fresh, new and exhilarating experiences that will replenish the body and elevate the soul.

Experience a different world surrounded by nature.

Let us give you the opportunity to achieve a balance in your life so as to realise a sense of fulfilment.

At mFulaWozi you will rejuvenate yourself and infuse a new energy into your spirit

Photography

mFulaWozi is a wildlife photographer’s paradise for both amateurs and professionals, as it is home to some 1 200 plant species. 84 different types of mammals and over 400 bird species.

Photography plays a significant role in conservation efforts. Photos and footage make wildlife accessible to people around the globe. Wildlife images show a sense of advocacy and a real sense of conservation and compassion. Wildlife photography has the power to connect people to nature. It is a means to initiate real change. Change that will make a difference in conservation.

The mFulaWozi Wilderness is a haven for mammals, reptiles, insects, birds and plants.

To create engaging and memorable images the wildlife photographer must be able to connect with nature and its elements to get the best shot.

The process starts with getting to know the subject matter, the natural history of the animals you want to photograph. Know what stresses the animals face, their habits, signs of alarm, the time of the year that birds are present, and the calls they make and what their preferred habitats are.

Our guides and trackers have a wealth of information about our wildlife and wilderness from years of experience. They know where and when to find that elusive bird, bud, buck or predator whose image you want to capture. They know their seasonal behaviours and favourite places. Discuss your objectives with them and there will be no telling what you will shoot each day as you venture out.

Always put the well-being of the wildlife first.
Wild animals are facing unprecedented threats to their survival. Habitat loss, climate change, poaching, and pollution have caused a catastrophic decline of all wildlife over the last number of decades. United Nations recently declared that one in four species faces extinction.

In addition, today's society's disconnect from nature presents its own threat - one of indifference.

Wildlife photography has the power to convert people to the wonder of nature. Photography is an essential tool to inspire the desire to protect wildlife and help ignite real change.

We urge you to be ethical in your photography.

  • Don’t destroy the habitat
  • Do not try and interact with the wildlife
  • Take care during breeding seasons
  • Be aware of stress in animals

Nature needs our stories now more than ever. mFulaWozi offers so many opportunities to photograph its wildlife, its wilderness and its residents.

What makes wilderness and wildlife photography exhilarating are the endless possibilities. Our world is a big place filled with many beautiful places. mFulaWozi is one of them.

"Take nothing but photographs, leave nothing but footprints, kill nothing but time."

“The mFulaWozi development is arguably the most important project in conservation in Africa today.”
- Dr Andrew Muir (CEO: Wilderness Foundation Africa)

With two daily ‘Big 5’ game drives a day, you will leave having had an authentic African Wilderness experience.

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