This 1 325 ha, privately owned reserve is situated off the R74 from Weenen to Greytown. In the early seventies Mhlopeni was a desolate valley eroded to red sands. A project to save the region and return it to the 'peaceful valley of white rocks' of its Zulu name was undertaken by SACCAP (the South African Council for Conservation and Anti-Pollution) with the encouragement of the Natal Parks Board.
Schemes such as grass habitat management, a reservoir complex, wildlife re-introductions, and the installation of an anti-poacher unit have transformed the valley into a valuable natural area and educational facility.
There are marked trails all over the reserve, and visitors can wander at will enjoying gameviewing, bird-watching and the fauna and flora of the rugged terrain. The trails include a variety of shorter walks, and a 2-day hike where a stay overnight in a hut on a neighbouring farm can be arranged.
The reserve is home to zebra, blesbok, impala, bushbuck, mountain reedbuck and oribi. More than 230 bird species have been recorded in the reserve, including the bald ibis, black, martial and crowned eagles, peregrine falcon and ground hornbill.
On the mountain trails, activities include game-viewing and swimming in the natural potholes eroded from the solid white rocks. Flora includes a wealth of aloes, euphorbias, white stinkwood and many varieties of thornbush. If you are vigilant, you may find some Iron and Stone Age artefacts, and watch out for rock art and settlers' graves.
The warden conducts guided tours to various areas of interest, including climbs to the nest of a black eagle (where the hide is a mere 3 m from the nest itself), Iron and Stone Age sites, and the wagon trails.
There are 4 rustic bush camps, with hot water, showers, toilets, fully equipped kitchens and 'bomas' with braai areas, then an open camp site is also available, as well as picnic sites for day visitors.
Bookings can be made at the reserve.