Falling from the heights of the Lebombo Mountains down across the Phongolopoort Dam (also known as Lake Jozini) to typical African savannah in the west, this reserve is the oldest proclaimed conservation area in Africa. Proclaimed on the 13th of June 1894 by President Paul Kruger and reproclaimed in 1903, ostensively to protect declining game numbers, but in reality as a strategy for the old Transvaal Republic to gain access to the sea, the reserve contains a large number of special ecosystems and habitats. These include the unique veld type called Golela, which is an important Suni antelope breeding habitat. The species rich Lobombo Mountain forests found in deep moist soils in the south-east facing valleys and slopes on the eastern side of the reserve, and the western savannah with Themeda grassveld dotted with knobthorns and maroela trees.
The area boasts a bird list of over 300 species and a range of plains game including white rhino, giraffe, blue wildebeest, kudu, impala, nyala, warthog, waterbuck, common and mountain reedbuck and zebra.
The dam has large populations of hippos and crocodiles and fish species that include tiger fish, the focus of a number of fishing competitions through the year.
Phongolo has been declared a resource reserve and will be offering sport hunting this year on a range of species. Facilities include a rustic campsite on the edge of the water equipped with cold showers and flush toilets. This campsite, set on green lawns under large acacia trees, can accommodate 120 people in 15 sites.
There is an adjacent picnic site for day visitors. There are 2 launch sites close by for people wishing to go boating or angling on the dam. Game can be viewed using a limited road network and fishing is allowed both on the water and from the shore line.
Summer 05h00 to 19h00
Winter 06h00 to 18h00
R50 per person and R50 per vehicle. Children R35
034 – 4351012