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Ngoye Forest is located c.11 km inland of Mtunzini and c.20 km east of Eshowe. Most of the forest is situated on a range of gneiss rock. The range is drained by the Umhlatuzana river and its tributaries to the north, and the tributaries of the Umlalazi river to the south. The climax forest has a continuous canopy of large trees (25–30 m high) and poorly developed shrub and field layers. Trees of Chrysophyllum, Millettia and Margaritaria are dominant. Epiphytic ferns and orchids are common. Some of the valleys hold open Syzygium woodland. The open, wind-exposed ridges of the reserve hold extensive patches of grassland, with a very diverse forb community.
See Box and Tables 2 and 3 for key species. This is the only forest patch in southern Africa holding Stactolaema (olivacea) woodwardi. Pending a full investigation of this taxon’s status, it should be regarded as a valid species. In ideal habitat, in the higher-lying parts of the western half of the forest, it occurs at a density of one pair per 4–5 ha, but very few live in the eastern half of the forest. The forest also holds small breeding populations of Columba delegorguei and the globally threatened Zoothera guttata, and supports good populations of Stephanoaetus coronatus, Smithornis capensis, Telophorus olivaceus, Tchagra tchagra, Cossypha dichroa, Cercotrichas signata, Lamprotornis corruscus, Estrilda melanotis and Serinus scotops.
Non-bird biodiversity: Ngoye is especially noted for its plants. The only known example of the cycad Encephalartos woodii was found here. This species is now extinct in the wild, but up to 500 plants exist in collections around the world (no female plant exists). Encephalartos ngoyanus is near-endemic; another population occurs around Pongolapoort Dam. Other Red Data and rare plants present include Bolusiella maudiae, Corymborkis corymbosa, Stenoglottis woodii, Asclepias gordon-grayae, Dahlgrenodendron natalense (EN), Olinia radiata, Phyllanthus cedrelifolius, Cryptocarya wyliei, Ficus bizanae (VU), Loranthus woodii, Streptocarpus wendlandii, Alchornea hirtella and Asastasia vara. Ngoye is one of the few forests in the country that has its own endemic mammal, Paraxerus palliatus ornatus (VU). The reptile Bradypodion nemorale (LR/nt), a localized KwaZulu-Natal endemic, is abundant in Ngoye.
BirdLife International (2020) Important Bird Areas factsheet: Ngoye Forest Reserve. Downloaded from http://www.birdlife.org on 02/06/2020.