Mangeni Falls

Mangeni Falls are situated on a tributary of the White Umfolozi River, west of Babanango. The waterfall has eroded back through soft sandstone and formed an impressive gorge which is wooded in places. The waterfall is surrounded by open grassland and rural settlements.

The waterfall and gorge are home to a number of rock associated species. Bald Ibis roost near the falls, look out for them on any burnt areas in winter. Verreaux’s Eagle breed on the cliffs just below the falls, as do Common Kestrel and Lanner Falcon. Mocking Cliff-Chat, Cape Rock Thrush, Mountain Wheatear and Familiar Chat can all be seen on the rocks. Alpine and Black Swifts breed here in summer, their loud piercing calls echoing in the gorge. Scan the surrounding grasslands for Quailfinch, Spike-heeled Lark, Cape Crow, Long-tailed Widowbird, African Marsh Harrier, Secretarybird and White Stork. The river, when high enough, can be searched for African Black Duck.

The bushes on the slopes are home to Greater Double-collared Sunbird, Sombre Greenbul, Tawnyflanked Prinia, Bar-throated Apalis and provide food for Red-winged Starlings.

Directions

The waterfall is quite difficult to get to, and is best accessed with a vehicle with high ground clearance. From Babanango, drive west on the R68 towards Dundee. Turn left after 31.5km at the sign marked “Qudeni”. Follow this gravel road for 14.7km, and turn right at the sign “Mangeni”. Travel a further 6.5km and turn left towards a few distant buildings. Cross the concrete bridge and then turn right onto a track immediately after crossing. Proceed with this track for about 500m, and park the vehicle at one of the side-tracks that lead towards the valley on the right (which is visible from far away). It might be a good idea to pop in at the police station and inform them of your visit before parking at the falls. To reach it, carry on with the road after crossing the low-level concrete bridge, and take the right had split in the road that leads to the station. Luckily the area is all open grassland and all these landmarks can be seen from a distance.