One of two missing KwaZulu-Natal field rangers has been found dead, Ezemvelo KZN Wildlife said on Monday.

Spokesman Musa Mntambo said the ranger appeared to have drowned. A post mortem would be carried out to determine the exact cause of death.

Mntambo said recovery operations had disturbed the water, making it murky, and searches of that section would resume on Tuesday morning.

He said the second ranger was still missing and police were continuing the search.

Earlier Mntambo named the rangers as Mbazwani Mhlongo, 57, and Phumlani Mthembu, 34, but he said he could not reveal which man was found dead because the family was still being notified.

The men went missing at Lake Nhlabane in the Enseleni Nature Reserve on Friday. They were part of a four-man patrol that found four gill nets and a canoe at the reserve, which they decided to confiscate.

Mhlongo and Mthembu opted to paddle the canoe back to base, while the other two walked back.

Earlier on Monday the canoe was spotted and on Sunday a paddle, believed to be one of those used by the missing rangers, was found. - Sapa