The Upper Mpushini Conservancy
Google map of the area of the Upper Mpushini Conservancy showing formally protected areas (green) and game farms and estates (white)
The area includes the sources of the Mpushini River and the Mkhondeni River and is therefore vital for the conservation of the biological habitats in these catchment areas.
The vegetation includes a number of different veld types with some large areas of open veld grass in the upper reaches of the rivers near the Pietermaritzburg - Richmond road, open savanna bushveld and Eastern Valley Bushveld in the river valleys. Some agricultural cultivation is carried out along the Dardenelles Road in the form of sugar farming.
Two important conservation areas have been established in the area. These are the Ishona Illanga Wildlife Sanctuary on the outskirts of Ashburton and the Tanglethgorn Estate, a soon-to-be proclaimed Protected Environment in terms of the NEM:Protected Areas Act 57 of 2003, near Manderston just off the Dardenelles Road.
Other important wildlife areas are the game farms which have been stocked with a wide variety of wild animals including Impala, Nyala, Giraffe, Burchells Zebra, Kudu, Bushbuck and Oribi.
These properties will all form part in the proposed Eastern Areas Biosphere Conservation Corridors.