Mpofu is a town in Chris Hani District Municipality in the Eastern Cape province of South Africa. Mpofu, Xhosa for eland, is so named as the eland like to roam close! As of 1996, it was the seat of a magisterial district. Perched on the Amatola escarpment, the Mpofu Fort Fordyce Nature Reserve serves up staggering views of surrounding landscapes encapsulating the Katberg and Hogsback mountains. Conveying historic accounts from the past, the area is graffitied with ancient San rock paintings and evidence of central escarpment.
The indigenous forest hosts amongst the most diverse and richest species in southern Africa and the reserve serves as an excellent birding destination. Bass fishing is a popular activity as is rock climbing – Fort Fordyce features ten bolted routes with names like the Fever ward, the Labour ward and the more mojo Sector.
The closest towns are Balfour, Fort Beaufort and Alice, all of which are small and quiet residential towns with a deep sense of historical import. This was a significant area in terms of the British colonisation of the country, and continues to offer a fascinating perspective into this very important time in local history.
The reserve was established in 1985, on land that belonged to family of the original settlers of 1820. The homes on the property were built in a classic Eastern Cape style, and have since been converted into guest lodges with a distinctive colonial character.
The Mpofu Nature Reserve covers an area of 7 500 hectares and occupies the valleys and escarpments of the magnificent Katberg Mountain Range. It is nestled just 25 kilometres from Fort Beaufort, and about 20 kilometres from Balfour. It is run by Eastern Cape Parks.
As with the whole of the Eastern Cape, this is a malaria-free zone, making it a safe choice for families with children as well as the elderly, who may not react well to anti-malarial prophylaxes. It is not only ideal in terms of safety and its central situation, but is also a fabulous representative of the animal- and plant life of the province, and of South Africa as a whole.
There are a number of different habitat types within the nature reserve, each complete with its own unique combination of fauna and flora. The landscape is unique, thanks to the natural array of treasures within the borders of the reserve. Some of the areas of the Mpofu reserve consist of steep terrain, which yields an entirely different array of life to those areas that are more level. The reserve is home to Burchell’s zebra, eland, white rhino, giraffe, Cape buffalo and bushbuck.
The mountains and valleys of the Mpofu Nature Reserve are littered with hiking, (as mentioned already) and walking trails. Whether you are fit and energetic or just want to go for a serene stroll, there are excellent options suited to you. Most of these are day trails, but this is also the home of the start of the Katberg Trail, which takes three days to complete and offers breath-taking views and vistas.
Educational tours and guided game drives are recommended to visitors that want to get the most out of their time here. There are also 4 x 4 trails and self-guided game drive trails available. Those with a penchant for bird-watching are in for a treat at Mpofu, as it is home to a massive variety of pretty avian species.
Nearby attractions include the enchanted mountain village of Hogsback and the Khoisan rock art in Waylands.

26° 29' 13.2", -32° 40' 44.4"