Ithala Game Reserve

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5km from Louwsburg

-27.5442, 31.2824


+27 33 845 1000


This magnificent reserve, tumbling from the heights of the Ngotshe Mountains a thousand metres down into a deep valley, carved over the eons by the Phongolo River, revealing the world's oldest rock formations, is a game viewer’s paradise.

Situated in the rugged, mountainous thornveld of northern KwaZulu-Natal, the reserve's multitude of habitats host a spectacular array of wildlife species. Its scenic beauty aside, Ithala's most characteristic feature is 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 humans for thousands of years and there are many sites littered with Stone Age spear and axe heads dating back some 20,000 years. There has even been a middle-Stone Age tool discovered by archaeologists, which pushes the date back to anything up to 200,000 years.

More recently, in the last few hundred years, with the advent of the Nguni people, iron smelting took place in Ithala and there are a number of smelting sites adjacent to deposits of banded ironstone which was crushed to provide the iron ore.

Ithala has provided the setting for many historic events, from Shaka's reign and those of successive Zulu kings, to a number of gold mining enterprises in the early years of the 20th Century. The reserve has an excellent vehicle trail to facilitate visitors’ game viewing, and an annotated guide booklet is available in the shop at Ntshondwe - Ithala's superbly designed, multi-award winning camp.


  • 1 bush lodge, sleeps 6
  • 3 bush camps, sleep 10, 8 and 4 respectively
  • 39 cottages, sleep 4-6 each