oNgoye Forest

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oNgoye Forest
Ongoye colonial.jpg
Last two stems of Wood's cycad at oNgoye Forest, early 1900's

oNgoye Forest, also known as Ngoye or Ngoya Forest, is an ancient coastal scarp forest,[1] protected by the oNgoye Forest Reserve in South Africa's KwaZulu-Natal province. The forest of almost 4,000 ha covers an extensive granite ridge that rises from 200 to 460 metres above sea level. It is found some 10 km inland, or 16 km by road, from the coastal town of Mtunzini, and adjoins smaller forest reserves on its periphery, namely Impeshulu in the west, Ezigwayini in the north, and Dengweni in the south.

History and status[edit]

The Zulu king Mpande is the first known person to have afforded protection to oNgoye Forest in the 1800s. Commercial logging occurred in the forest between 1909 and 1924.

The area became an official conservation area in 1992. Cattle grazing, crop cultivation and limited utilization of trees however occur in the protected area, and the edge of the forest is subjected to periodic burning which may reduce the forest area.[2]


An original stem of Wood's cycad at the Durban Botanic Gardens, once endemic to oNgoye Forest

This relict patch of transitional Afromontane-coastal forest[2] is home to rare and endemic species.

It was home to the giant Wood's cycad which is extinct in the wild since the early 1900s, but the oNgoye dwarf cycad, ground cycad[1] and Natal grass cycad still occur.

It is home to the endemic race ornatus of the red bush squirrel, the endemic race woodwardi of Woodward's barbet, two undescribed dwarf chameleons similar to the Qudeni dwarf chamaeleon,[3] the rare forest green butterfly and the oNgoye centipede.

This forest is an important breeding area for the eastern bronze-naped pigeon and home to the endangered spotted ground thrush. At least 165 species of birds have been identified in the area.[4]

Rare trees include giant umzimbeet, forest mangosteen, forest waterberry, giant pock ironwood, Zulu bead-string, Natal krantz ash, Natal elm and the Pondo fig. Besides the Pondo fig, another six species of Ficus occur.[2]


  1. ^ a b JayWay. "Ongoye". Ezemvelo KZN Wildlife. Retrieved 15 May 2014.
  2. ^ a b c Harisson, J.A.; et al. (1997). The atlas of southern African birds (PDF). Johannesburg: BirdLife SA. p. 716. ISBN 0-620-20730-2.
  3. ^ Tolley, K. and Burger, M. 2007. Chameleons of Southern Africa. pp 73 & 85
  4. ^ Birds in Reserves, ADU


  • Pooley, E. (1993). The Complete Field Guide to Trees of Natal, Zululand and Transkei, - ISBN 0-620-17697-0.
  • Pooley, T. and Player, I. (1995). KwaZulu-Natal Wildlife Destinations. ISBN 1-86812-487-8.

External links[edit]

See also[edit]

Coordinates: 28°50′48″S 31°43′56″E / 28.84667°S 31.73222°E / -28.84667; 31.73222