A Beautiful Hornbill At The Scavenger Hide One Of The Species That Makes Up The Awe Inspiring Wildlife Of Zimanga

Exploring the Awe-Inspiring Wildlife of Zimanga Private Game Reserve

Article written by David Miles illustrated with images contributed by David Miles.

A visit to photograph the wildlife of Zimanga Private Game Reserve promises an unforgettable experience for any wildlife photographer. Located in the Mkuze region of KwaZulu-Natal in South Africa, the reserve is a veritable paradise for animal lovers, boasting a wide variety of magnificent species that can be photographed, from such as , cheetahs, & lions to smaller species like hyraxes, mongooses & porcupines.


A Young Rhino At One Of The Night Hides During Late Afternoon One Of The Species That Makes Up The Awe Inspiring Wildlife Of Zimanga

This vast, pristine natural habitat is a paradise for wildlife & bird photographers. From the ancient African Savannah grasslands to the marshlands & swamps in the north & south, Zimanga offers something for every wildlife photographer. The reserve supports a rich diversity of animals, & visitors will find a variety of antelope, , , kudu, , & . Bird photographers can capture images of beautiful shrikes, hoopoes, & eagles soaring.

An Introduction to the Wildlife of Zimanga


Zimanga is a large private game reserve home to an incredibly diverse selection of . For those seeking a unique & unforgettable safari experience, Zimanga should be high on your list of locations that you wish to visit. From the Big Five – , elephant, lion, leopard, & – to smaller mammals, birds, & reptiles, Zimanga has something for everyone.

A Warthof Rests At One Of The Night Hides During Late Afternoon One Of The Species That Makes Up The Awe Inspiring Wildlife Of Zimanga

Mammals found in Zimanga Private Game Reserve


The awe-inspiring wildlife of Zimanga has gained international acclaim! Not only are the grasslands & woodlands breathtaking, but the land is teeming with various mammals. This has made Zimanga a must-visit destination for wildlife photographers interested in capturing a variety of animal species, making it a genuine wildlife hotspot.

A Solo Lion Strides Through The Grass One Of The Species That Makes Up The Awe Inspiring Wildlife Of Zimanga

A Solo Lioness Rests In The Grass One Of The Species That Makes Up The Awe Inspiring Wildlife Of Zimanga

From the majestic elephant to the playful , Zimanga plays host to a variety of creatures & provides a wide variety of species that we can photograph. Among the most commonly seen are , buffalo, , , kudu, & waterbuck. such as lions, cheetahs, & also reside in Zimanga; they are rarely seen in the open, preferring to hunt in the scrubland & bush.

A Lone Giraffe On The Grasslands One Of The Species That Makes Up The Awe Inspiring Wildlife Of Zimanga

A Pair Of Giraffe On The Grasslands One Of The Species That Makes Up The Awe Inspiring Wildlife Of Zimanga

The mammals of Zimanga are not limited to large animals, however. Smaller species, such as jackals, hares, bats, & mongooses, also roam the grasslands & woodlands of Zimanga, making it a haven for predators & prey. In particular, the endangered black rhinoceros can be found in certain parts of Zimanga, a reminder of the importance of nature conservation in the area.

The Birds found in Zimanga Private Game Reserve


The list of birds found in Zimanga is impressive. From the Fish Eagle, an adored raptor known for its striking plumage, to the rare & beautiful Pink-throated Twinspot, an enchanting little finch that can sometimes be spotted in the woodlands on the east side of the reserve, the range of species you may be able to photograph is genuinely remarkable.

An Glossy Starling At One Of The Reflection Pool Hides During Late Afternoon One Of The Species That Makes Up The Awe Inspiring Wildlife Of Zimanga

An Oxpecker At One Of The Reflection Pool Hides During Late Afternoon One Of The Species That Makes Up The Awe Inspiring Wildlife Of Zimanga

You'll also have the chance to observe some of the region's more iconic birds, such as the White-backed Vulture, which is listed as ‘vulnerable' by the International Union for Conservation of Nature.

A Hamerkop Wades Across One Of The Waterholes During Late Afternoon One Of The Species That Makes Up The Awe Inspiring Wildlife Of Zimanga

A Beautiful Sunset On The South African Plain

Meanwhile, several waders & other water-dwellers inhabit the lake & marsh areas of the reserve. Among these are the majestic African Openbill stork, which can often be seen soaring gracefully through the air.

The Photography Hides in Zimanga Game Reserve


There are currently nine wildlife photography hides in Zimanga Game Reserve, including two Bird Bath Hides or Reflection Hides, called the Mkhombe & Bhejane hides, named after the isiZulu words for white & black rhinos, respectively. These are ideal for small bird photography, & the more extensive Lagoon hide focuses on waterbirds & crocodiles in the summer.

A Lone Vulture At The Scavenger Hide One Of The Species That Makes Up The Awe Inspiring Wildlife Of Zimanga

A Solo Vulture At The Scavenger Hide One Of The Species That Makes Up The Awe Inspiring Wildlife Of Zimanga

Umgodi & Tamboti Overnight Hides are the only hides custom designed for large mammal photography. A bee-eater hide is a mobile unit that can be placed near where white-fronted bee-eaters nest & produces stunning results for these colourful birds.

A Perched Bee Eater At One Of The Mobile Hides During Late Afternoon One Of The Species That Makes Up The Awe Inspiring Wildlife Of Zimanga

Photographers who visit the hide at Scavengers Hill have a remarkable chance to observe wildlife as if they were part of a documentary; when food is available, a wide variety of creatures, such as vultures, hyenas, & jackals, often show up.

A Lone Jackal At The Scavenger Hide One Of The Species That Makes Up The Awe Inspiring Wildlife Of Zimanga

Photographers using the Zimanga hides can capture images without alerting their subjects, as most of the hide photography is achieved through one-way glass. This makes wildlife photography more successful as the subjects can roam freely, & while sightings aren't guaranteed, using the hides provides the photographer with a considerable advantage in getting that perfect shot.

A Highly Focussed Cheetah One Of The Species That Makes Up The Awe Inspiring Wildlife Of Zimanga

The Overnight Hides in Zimanga Reserve

Visitors to Zimanga have the opportunity to spend one or two nights amidst the wilderness in the Zimanga overnight hides. The world-class hides offer an array of comforts, including beds, a kitchenette & office-char style seating.


A Female Nyala Drinking From A Waterhole One Of The Species That Makes Up The Awe Inspiring Wildlife Of Zimanga

A Group Of Cape Buffalo At One Of The Night Hides One Of The Species That Makes Up The Awe Inspiring Wildlife Of Zimanga

A Lone Rhino At One Of The Night Hides One Of The Species That Makes Up The Awe Inspiring Wildlife Of Zimanga

A Pair Of Cape Buffalo At One Of The Night Hides One Of The Species That Makes Up The Awe Inspiring Wildlife Of Zimanga

A Male Nyala Drinking From A Waterhole One Of The Species That Makes Up The Awe Inspiring Wildlife Of Zimanga

A Male Nyala At A Waterhole One Of The Species That Makes Up The Awe Inspiring Wildlife Of Zimanga

A Lone Cape Buffalo Drinks At One Of The Night Hides One Of The Species That Makes Up The Awe Inspiring Wildlife Of Zimanga

A Lone Serval Cat At One Of The Night Hides One Of The Species That Makes Up The Awe Inspiring Wildlife Of Zimanga

Whilst in the hides, photographers can capture images of an array of wildlife, including animals like elephants, rhinos & lions, as they visit the waterhole just beyond the viewing window.

Accommodation within Zimanga Reserve


Zimanga Private Game Reserve features two types of beautiful accommodations; both overlook a stunning valley in the middle of the reserve.

Zimanga Main Lodge


Zimanga Main Lodge offers an unparalleled level of luxury & comfort. Each room is exquisitely furnished & features all the modern amenities, with stunning views of the reserve's abundant wildlife. Just steps away from the Mkuze River, visitors can witness a wide array of animals, such as elephants, rhinos, buffalo, spotted hyenas, black & white rhinos, & giraffes. Those looking to relax can take a dip in the sparkling swimming pool.

The Doornhoek homestead


The Doornhoek homestead was initially built as a farmhouse in 1906 & has been restored & refurbished to provide guests with modern yet comfortable amenities.

Accommodation At The Doornhoek Homestead Includes Areas For Relaxation

Accommodation At The Doornhoek Homestead

The accommodation boasts en-suite bedrooms, a lounge, a kitchen, a dining area, & a private deck with a pool. Its location also provides guests access to the reserve's varied wildlife, including rhinos, elephants, lions, & leopards.

Accommodation At The Doornhoek Homestead Has A Fantastic Outlook Onto A Wide Vista

NaturesLens exclusively use the Doornhoek homestead for our scheduled Zimanga photo tours.

Safaris with us at Zimanga Private Game Reserve


NaturesLens offers a range of Wildlife of Zimanga Game Reserve photography holidays designed to allow photographers of all levels to add images of the magnificent to their portfolio.

A Closeup Of A Female Nyala Drinking From A Waterhole One Of The Species That Makes Up The Awe Inspiring Wildlife Of Zimanga

Our photography holidays allow photographers to capture stunning images of the Wildlife of Zimanga Game Reserve as they interact with each other, take flight & waddle around the clifftops. During some of our trips, photographers will also have the opportunity to photograph various other wildlife, including Storm Petrels, Guillemots & Razorbills.

At NaturesLens, we aim to provide photographers with an unforgettable experience that will leave them with beautiful, memorable images. Our trips are led by experienced wildlife photographers who are passionate about wildlife photography & are dedicated to helping photographers capture the best images possible.

A Trio Of Cape Buffalo At One Of The Night Hides One Of The Species That Makes Up The Awe Inspiring Wildlife Of Zimanga

A Closeup Of A White Rhino Drinking From A Waterhole One Of The Species That Makes Up The Awe Inspiring Wildlife Of Zimanga

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