Terrain and Habitats
Rich in biodiversity, Babanango Game Reserve features mountainous terrain with granite cliffs, rocks and boulders punctuating the landscape. It also accommodates lush mistbelt grasslands, of which only 2% are protected in South Africa. The surroundings make for breathtaking views across soaring hilltops and down valleys hewn by the age-old White Umfolozi River. Sheltered within the Reserve are two national symbols (South Africa’s national plant, the Protea caffra, and national bird, the Blue Crane) and a number of other rare gems worth seeking out.
Aardvark – Meaning ‘earth pig’ in Afrikaans, the nocturnal aardvark is high on the must-see list for bush and animal lovers. Babanango’s rocky nooks and crannies are the ideal habitat for this little mammal.
Aardwolf – Solitary and nocturnal, the aardwolf (meaning ‘earth wolf’ in Afrikaans), looks like a small hyena and feeds on insects. It can eat up to 300,000 termites in one sitting. Preferring open, dry spaces, the little aardwolf is usually spotted in Babanango’s grassy areas.
Protea caffra – South Africa’s national plant, the Protea caffra, is the most widely distributed Protea but occurs in only some parts of KwaZulu-Natal. It can be found atop Babanango’s rocky ridges.
Blue Crane – With its grey blue plumage and distinctive head, the iconic but vulnerable Blue Crane is near endemic to South Africa and is the country’s national bird. Occurring in grasslands and sometimes wetlands, they feed on insects, frogs and lizards. Babanango Game Reserve has nine breeding pairs of Blue Crane.
Butterflies – Several rare and common butterfly species can be found in the Babanango Game Reserve including Dark-webbed Ringlet (Physcaeneura panda), Millar’s Haritail (Anthene millari) and Mocker Bronze (Cacyreus virilis).