Situated on 3100ha of prime bushveld, this Private Nature Reserve offers many activities and birds to the visitor. The Nsubeni River valley, a tributary of the White Umfolozi, cuts through the reserve and it is surrounded on both sides by steep hills, cliffs grassland and bushveld. The reserve is also registered as a Natural Heritage Site, and is part of the Babanango Valley Conservancy. The reserve is predominantly covered in bushveld in the valley, with well-vegetated granite koppies, quartzite ridges and sandstone cliffs. The mountain tops are covered in grassland.
From Babanango, travel west towards Dundee on the R68. Turn right after about 5km onto a dirt road. The Lodge is signposted from the turn-off. Continue with this road for about 1km and then take the left-hand split in the road. Follow this road for another 11km. The road to the lodge is in kept in good condition, and is signposted all the way down
Available in chalets, bushcamps, cottages and communal safari tents at the lodge.
Babanango Valley Lodge is a well known birding locality and has a birdlist of over 250 species.
There are a number of self-guided or guided walking trails which cover all of the habitats. The area around the Rock Pools Bush Camp and Nsubeni River is an excellent spot for Half-collared Kingfisher, Mountain Wagtail, Blue-billed Firefinch, Tambourine Dove, Wood Owl, Pygmy Kingfisher, Scaly-throated Honeyguide, White-throated Robin-Chat, Southern Boubou and in the fruiting fig trees Green Pigeon.
The bushveld areas around the lodge should be searched for Blue Waxbill, Shelley's Francolin, Purple-crested Turaco, Little Bee-eater, Crowned Hornbill, Yellow-breasted Apalis, Brown-backed Honeybird, Bushveld Pipit, Grey Tit-Flycatcher, Orange-breasted Bush Shrike, Plum-coloured Starling, Brimstone Canary and in summer, African and Jacobin Cuckoos. Flowering Aloes attract sunbirds such as Scarlet-chested, Amethyst, White-bellied, Greater Double-collared and the occasional Malachite.
The extensive grassland areas on the top of the Valley are home to Barrow's Korhaan, Grassbird, Croaking Cisticola, Malachite Sunbird, Black-winged Lapwing, Bald Ibis, Quailfinch and Grass Owl. Closer to Babanango, among the rocky outcrops, look out for Buff-streaked Chat, Ground Woodpecker, Yellow Bishop, Plain-backed Pipit and Cape Crow.
Rocky hillsides and cliffs abound with species such as Striped Pipit, Mocking Cliff-Chat, Buff-streaked Chat, Bokmakierie, Cinnamon-breasted Rock Bunting and at least one pair of Black Stork. Ground Hornbill have also nested on a rocky ledge.
Babanango Valley Lodge is probably most famous for its diversity of raptors. Many breed in the reserve, including Tawny, Wahlberg's, Verreaux's, Martial, Crowned and African Hawk Eagles, African and Gabar Goshawks, Lanner Falcon, Brown Snake Eagle, Giant Eagle Owl and Secretarybird. Visiting raptors include Amur Falcons, Bateleur and Black-breasted Snake Eagle.
The gardens around the lodge are alive with birds. Kurrichane and Ground-scraper Thrushes, Greater Double-collared Sunbird, Green Pigeon and Bronze Manikins can all be seen with relative ease.
OTHER POINTS OF INTEREST
The reserve is also home to a number of antelope species such as Kudu, Impala, Burchell's Zebra, Blesbuck, Red Hartebeest and Mountain Reedbuck. Warthog, Aardwolf, Caracal, Leopard and Serval are shyer species that can be encountered..