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The Nkandla Forest

The Nkandla Forest is located roughly seventy kilometers from Melmoth in KwaZulu Natal, and is the largest remaining indigenous forest in Zululand. The name Nkandla comes from the Zulu verb "khandla", which means "to be tired". The forest was named by King Shaka, when he reached the area, exhausted from his journey and decided to rest there a while. Throughout Zulu history the Nkandla Forest has been a place of mystery, and was regarded as a dwelling place for supernatural beings. The Chube people who were ironworkers associated with the Nkandla area, also used the forest as a stronghold, preventing themselves from being conquered by Shaka.

The Nkandla Forest is one of the most rare and outstanding examples of surviving mist belt forest in South Africa. The forest covers the crest and south-western slopes of the ridge lying above the Mhlatuze and Tugela rivers at an altitude of between 1100 and 1300 meters above sea level. Streams rising in the forest form deep gorges leading into the Nsuze river which runs along the base of the ridge.

Apart from being an area of immense natural beauty, the Nkandla forest also represents a rare type of high wet rain forest, of which very few examples survive. This type of forest is a remnant of a habitat from many years ago, which would have otherwise been extinct, but managed to survive. They are left surviving from times in the distant past when the climate was wetter, and even colder. The forest has an impressively high species diversity, and is home to many species that are associated with scarp forest habitats, indicating that Nkandla may be positioned in a transitional zone between mist and scarp forest. More than one hundred and fifty different bird species have been observed in the area and wildlife such as Bushbuck, Samango Monkey, Bushpig, Blue Duiker and Leopard can been seen occasionally in the forest.

There is also a massive variety of rare plants growing in the Nkandla forest, and this, combined with the rarity of the habitat type as a whole, provides enough reasons for conserving this rare forest type. There are currently no visitor facilities at Nkandla, though people who wish to hike or camp may do so with the prior permission of the Officer in Charge.

Nearby Listings


Mtonjaneni Lodge

Bed & Breakfast Accommodation in Melmoth

12.0km North West of center of The Nkandla Forest

Our beautifully furnished en-suite rooms offer the perfect countryside stay. We have 26 en-suite rooms & can easily accommodate 55 guests if sharing. 3 of our classic rooms have the potential to be converted to family-friendly rooms upon request.

Instant Booking
Sleeps: 20 in 6 units/rooms
From R 550,00
Per unit, per night.

Sugar Hill Manor Guesthouse

Bed & Breakfast Accommodation in Eshowe

31.3km South East of center of The Nkandla Forest

The moment you arrive at the Sugar Hill Manor Guesthouse in Eshowe you will feel welcome and at home. Set in a large, 100-year-old Victorian home with magnificent country views.

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Thornleys Guesthouse

Guest House Accommodation in Eshowe

33.3km South East of center of The Nkandla Forest

Thornleys Guesthouse is a majestic colonial home boasting an unrivaled view over the Dlinza Forest, which is synonomous with Eshowe, Zululand.

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A Kings View Boutique Guesthouse

Guest House Accommodation in Eshowe

33.6km South East of center of The Nkandla Forest

A Kings View Boutique Guesthouse stands majestically overlooking natural forest, ambling hills and the Indian Ocean in the distance. Stunning panoramic views fit for royalty. First-of-its-kind in Eshowe, our Guesthouse is Boutique in every sense of the wo

Instant Booking
Sleeps: 9 in 3 units/rooms

Chase Guest House

Bed & Breakfast Accommodation in Eshowe

34.3km South East of center of The Nkandla Forest

Chase Guest House is a traditional sugar farm homestead in a beautiful garden bordering Eshowe, offering country hospitality, healthy breakfasts and personal service. Relax in two spacious, up-market well-appointed double garden cottages

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Nearby Points Of Interest