Ngome Forest is situated on the southern slopes of high altitude mist-belt grasslands and contains a unique combination of coastal and upland plant and bird species. The Ntendeka Cliff, after which this declared Wilderness Area is named, towers above lush forest and cascading waterfalls. This area of Zululand receives an incredibly high, localised rainfall, and much of the surrounding land has been transformed into one of the country’s most productive tea estates.
Ngome Forest is home to many forest and grassland specials. The grassland area to the left of the main turn-off to the forest is the only site in Zululand where the endangered Blue Swallow breeds. Other grassland specials occurring above and below the forest include House Martin, Secretarybird, Wailing and Croaking Cisticolas and Long-billed Pipit.
A walk from the campsite to the waterfall could produce Eastern Bronze-naped Pigeon, Olive Woodpecker, Grey Cuckooshrike, Collared Sunbird, Narina Trogon, Trumpeter Hornbill, Purple-crested Turaco, Lemon Dove, Olive Bush-Shrike, Cape Batis, Chorister Robin-Chat, White-starred Robin, Brown Robin, Black-bellied Starling, Yellow-throated Woodland Warbler and Dark-backed Weaver. Check the drainage lines for the elusive Orange Ground-Thrush. Barratt’s Warbler, Olive Sunbird, Terrestrial Brownbul, Red-capped Robin-Chat and Blue-mantled Crested Flycatcher are also resident. Summer visitors include the beautiful Pygmy Kingfisher, African Emerald Cuckoo, Violet-backed Starling and African Paradise Flycatcher.Forest edges should be scanned for Green Twinspot, Forest Canary, Swee Waxbill and African Firefinch.
Birds found around the cliffs and rocks include Mountain Wheatear, Buff-streaked Chat, Mocking Cliff-Chat, Cape Rock-Thrush and Familiar Chat.
African Crowned, African Hawk and Martial Eagles are regularly seen, as are African Goshawk, Forest and Jackal Buzzards and Black Sparrowhawk.
The thornveld areas in the valley below the forest could produce White-crested Helmet-Shrike, Green-winged Pytilia, Arrow-marked Babbler, Grey Penduline-Tit, Chestnut-vented Titbabbler and Gorgeous Bush Shrike.
Travelling from Vryheid, take the R69 towards Louwsburg. Turn right on the R618 at the sign “Nongoma”, 20km outside Vryheid. Continue with this road for about 50km and turn right at the sign “Ntendeka Wilderness Area”. Visitors must obtain a permit from the office.