Tourism, Accommodation and Historical Attractions in Durban, South Africa


Durban's Nature Reserves

Picnics, trails, treks, birdlife, big game, small game - all on more than 30 nature reserves within 10 miles of the City Centre.
Durban Accommodation Guide

Durban's Nature Reserves

Advertise Now -it's Free!   Email this page to a friend   Change text size:  Increase Text Size Decrease Text Size

The Durban Municipal Open Space System (D'MOSS) is designed to link nine parks using existing open spaces and river valleys to create a network of trails so that a visitor may be able to walk from one end of Durban to the other without realizing that they were in a city. Many of the reserves below form part of this system.

Burman Bush

Three trails in a small (50 hectares) patch remnant coastal bush that is virtually unchanged since early settlers arrived at Durban in the 1850s.

There are several walks, including the Pithi walk which is 500m long and takes about 30 minutes; the Hadeda walk, at 1km long, takes about an hour; and for the 2km Forest Olive trail allow about two hours. Each of the three trails is marked by coloured arrows at ground level.

There are some very active troupes of vervet monkeys so watch your food!

Facilities: A visitor centre which is open every day from 07.30 to 16.00; a car park, braai and picnic sites, and public toilets.

Burman Drive, Morningside. Durban Parks & Recreation, PO Box 3740, Durban.Mon - Fri: 07.30 - 16.00

Beachwood Mangroves

 Beachwood Mangroves Nature Reserve (76ha) has the largest population of mangrove trees in the Durban area (there is one remaining threatened patch in the Bay).

In the reserve you are sure to encounter the strange mudskippers - fish that use their pectoral fins to either skim over the water or to propel themselves across the mud. There are also thousands of the crabs live in holes in the mud, eat mangrove leaves and are fiercely territorial.fiddler crabs with their single large claw and an assortment of molluscs.

There are three trails in the reserve, taking the visitors to the bird hide and to the swamp, where waders come to feed. There is a picnic site and thatched gazebo.

Off Riverside Road, Durban North.Sat/Sun only 08.00 - sunset.

Kenneth Stainbank Nature Reserve

 The Kenneth Stainbank Nature Reserve, comprising 250 hectares of forest and grassland, is home to zebra, impala, bushbuck and blue, red and grey duiker and approximately 200 species of birds.

There are four trails including a 500m trail for the physically disabled and sight-impaired. The 6km Mkumbi Trail takes about three hours to complete, the 3km Yellow trail requires about one hour and then the 500m Brown Trail about 30 minutes.

There are braai facilities and night drives can be arranged. 06.00 - 18.00.

90 Coedmore Road, Yellowood Park

Umgeni River Walk

An easy stroll of 1,9 km taking about three-quarters of an hour, one way will enable you to observe a wide variety of water birds and waders that inhabit the river including pelicans and egrets.

Canoe Trails:

The Parks Department has four broad-base canoes available for canoe trails.

The trail consists of an easy paddle upstream to observe the birds on the islands or a leisurely paddle up the Beachwood Mangrove Creek looking at the mangrove ecology. Life jackets are supplied for your safety.

Riverside Road, Durban North

Umhlanga Lagoon Nature Reserve

There are estuarine forest, dune forest and coastal forest here (26ha). A raised walkway takes visitors across the estuary. An excellent reserve for forest and estuarine bird watching especially fish eagle. There are also duiker and bushbuck.

Adjacent to Breakers Hotel, Lagoon Drive, Umhlanga Rocks. Sugarcoast Tourism.

Hawaan Forest

A tract (55ha) of primeval forest that is birdwatcher's paradise situated adjacent to the peaceful Umhlanga Lagoon. No forest of this type exists elsewhere in South Africa. Duiker, mongoose, mamba and python may be found here. 07.00 to 12.00 & 13.00 to 16.30 daily.

Virginia Bush

Regenerating, climax coastal bush and the best bird watching site in Durban. There is a circular trail right round the reserve of about 1,5km., a pond and a monthly guided walk.

Visitor centre, public toilets.

Pigeon Valley

A Natural Heritage Park which has original coastal climax forest in which many of the forest giants, particularly the Natal elm, survive. A good birding site for forest birds in particular.

The Natal Elm trail around the park, up one side of the valley and down the other, is 400m long. If you follow the waterway through the open centre of the park and back - and many people prefer to do this in summer when the mosquitoes are biting - the distance is 600m.


The largest single piece of public land (220ha) comprising coastal grassland and bush clump mosaic that remains in the Durban municipal area. The first nursery of medical plants in Africa is incorporated in the reserve, which also boasts about 150 bird species and some 120 tree species.

The Nursery trail, about 1km long and ideal for school groups, takes about 30 minutes to complete. The Grassland trail, about 2km long, takes 2 to 2,5 hours to walk at a gentle amble.

This trail is self guided, but on the third Saturday of each month it is also led by a member of the Parks Department staff, and leaves the visitor centre at 07.30.

A third trail, the Pipeline Loop trail, is a continuation of the Grassland trail.

There is a nursery selling medicinal plants, visitor centre, guided trails, picnic and braai areas, car park and public toilets.

Seaton Park

An island of coastal forest in suburbia - just 6ha. A wide range of interesting plants and forest birds. A small playground for children.

The Yellowwood trail and the Bamboo trail, plus linking portions of the boundary path, cover just over 1km in total.

You can walk around the park in half-an-hour but if you begin to sample the plants and birds, expect to stay for at least two hours.

There are children's playground, toilets.

The Bluff (Happy Valley) Nature Reserve

A 45ha combination of grassland, wetland and coastal forest combine to make this reserve a birdwatcher's paradise for which there is a small hide. There are also duiker and mongoose. Open daily.

Treasure Beach

This 600 acre reserve encompasses a variety of botanical habitats including dune forest, mangrove swamps and wetlands. There is plenty of additional activity in the marine rock pools as well as an educational centre.

The educational project encourages children and adults to become more aware of their environment by means of a successful hands-on approach. There are special holiday programmes and moonlight hikes.

835 Marine Drive, Bluff. Mon - Fri: 08.00 - 16.00

Alverstone Environmental Refuge

Zebra, impala, blesbok, ostrich and wild boar are only some of the animals that you'll encounter only 30 minutes from Durban's city centre. There are picnic and braai sites, trails, a thatched boma and a hide next to a waterhole. Game guards are available to give you more information.

Alverstone (off the N3 to Pietermaritzburg at the Assagay offramp) .

Krantzkloof Gorge Nature Reserve

A return overlibmatic reserve (530ha) around and within the spectacular gorge of the eMolweni River with kloofs and krantzes, streams and waterfalls.

A must for bird watchers (more than 200 species including Wahlberg's eagle and the crowned eagle) - particularly those who are interested in raptors.

There are also zebra, bushbuck, bushpig, mongoose, clawless otter, duiker and monkey that may be seen on more than 20kms of trails. There are two picnic sites and a braai area.

Walks from both picnic sites enter the gorge. 06.00 - 18.00.

152 Kloof Falls Road, Kloof (approx. 20kms west of Durban on the R103. Signposted)

New Germany Nature Reserve

This small reserve (110ha) has picnic sites, trails, braai sites and a hide at a waterhole. You can see zebra,nyala, impala, reedbuck, samango monkeys, vervet monkeys, bushbuck, duiker and other animals - including over 120 species of birds.

There is also a walk through aviary and interpretative centre. The grassland is covered in wildflowers in the springtime.

Off Mountain Ridge Rd. Pinetown (Approx. 20kms west of Durban), New Germany Parks Dept., PO Box 2, New Germany.

Palmiet Nature Reserve

The location of this reserve is in the delightful Palmiet River valley. There is a 3 hour guided trail offered on the morning of the first Sunday and a lunch braai and guided trail on the third Sunday as well as sunset trails. There are four trails in total. The area covers grassland to riverine forest. There are four trails.

The Wildlife Association of South Africa, 100 Brand Rd., Durban.

Westville Municipality, PO Box 39, Westville,

Paradise Valley Nature Reserve

 Situated along the Umbilo River, the 100ha reserve has several graded trails and picnic and braai sites on the banks of the river.

The waterfall is particularly beautiful above which is Durban's original waterworks. Visitors may see mongoose, bushbuck, duiker and otter. 07.00 - 17.00 daily.

Eden Rd. Off Stapleton Road, R103 just before Pinetown.

Pinetown Parks Dept, PO Box 49, Pinetown, 3600 Daily: 07.00 - 17.00

Ilanda Wilds Nature Trail

There are three self guided trails where you may encounter prolific birdlife (over 100 species) or troupes of vervet monkeys (14ha). There are picnic and braai sites.

Isundu Drive, Amanzimtoti. approx. 30kms South of Durban.

Amanzimtoti Bird Sanctuary

The sanctuary is 2ha in extent and consists of lawns surrounding open water. There is a self guided trail on which one may encounter some of the 150 species of birds that have been recorded here.

Shongweni Resources Reserve

Mkangoma Bush Camp How about a weekend in a bush camp but only 20 minutes from Durban?

Head out to the lovely Shongweni Dam just the other side of Pinetown and spend a few nights in the Mkangoma bush camp nestled beneath Mkangoma Hill. The camp is self catering but comes with a game guard and cook.

You will encounter rhino, giraffe, warthog, a variety of buck and buffalo as well as 200 species of birds amidst spectacular cliffs and kloofs.

There is also an Adventure School that organizes both adults and children into activities such as abseiling, kayaking, raft building, orienteering and others.

The 3km self guided Ntuni Trail enables visitors to see antelope, zebra and other small mammals and there are also horse rides available.

Shongweni approx. 40kms west of Durban on the N3. Signposted at the top of the hill above the Marianhill Toll Booth. Daily: 06.00 - 18.00 Msinsi Holdings. 031 769 1283

The Inanda Resources Reserve

Inanda Dam The Inanda Dam is the newest of the dams to supply Durban with water and is located on the Umgeni and signposted after turning right in Hillcrest town centre.

There are picnic and braai spots and watersports. The Tamboti Trail is about 1km on which visitors can see some of the birdlife around the dam. Being fairly new, the dam is as yet relatively undeveloped.

Msinsi Holdings.

Roosfontein Nature Reserve

There are 2 circular walks over the grassland of the reserve. The reserve borders the Umbilo valley. It is in the process of being developed.

Spine Road, Westville.

Westville Municipality, PO Box 39, Westville, 3630

Umbogavango Nature Reserve

 If you're into birds, then make sure you don't miss this little reserve!

Moss Kolnick Drive, AECI, Umbogintwini, before Amanzimtoti on the N2 South. 949 2081 for a permit.

Umdloti Trails

There are two trails through the coastal bush.

Umdloti Conservancy

The Ingweni Trail - Kloof & Gillits suburbs

The 1 - 3 day hike normally takes place during the winter months in parties of 12 and forms part of the Open Space System (D'MOSS) of trails around Durban.

Although the trail is marked as a 3 day trail, the first day may be taken on its own and occupies around 10kms and 10 hours should be allowed. The trail passes from the Clive Cheeseman Nature Reserve to St. Helier. It passes through Tanglewood Farm where the Umbilo River has its source.

Book at the Wildlife Society.

Book at the Wildlife Association of South Africa, 100 Brand Rd., Durban.

The Isiwa Trail - Kloof

A riverine forest and waterfall trail.

The Wildlife Association of South Africa, 100 Brand Rd., Durban.

Springside Nature Reserve - Hillcrest

The trail (21ha) exposes visitors to forests and grassland along both sides of a stream. A variety of birds and small mammals may be seen.

Outer West Council, 7653491

The Glenholme Nature Reserve, Gillits

This small reserve form part of the Ingweni Trail and is one of the few trails in the Durban area that have a disabled/blind trail. There is also a 2 - 3 hour circular self guided trail through grasslands and riverine forest and a 1 hour trail to the Clive Cheesman Reserve.

There is a dam and waterfall that cascades into a gorge. There is a picnic area, braai sites and toilets.

The Wildlife Association of South Africa, 100 Brand Rd., Durban.

The Clive Cheesman Nature Reserve, Kloof

The 5ha reserve has an elevated hut to accommodate 10 people. There is no bedding or parking lot. Braai facilities. A 2 - 3 hour trail leads to the Glenholme Nature reserve.

The Wildlife Association of South Africa, 100 Brand Rd., Durban.

North Park Nature Reserve

The reserve (53ha) consists of coastal lowland bush adjacent to the Umhlatuzana river.

There are bushbuck, duiker, mongoose and waterbirds around the old settling ponds. There are also the graves of the North family who were the original owners.

The Crestholme Nature Reserve, Hillcrest

A spectacular view is obtained over a ravine leading into the Umgeni Valley (6ha).

The Wildlife Association of South Africa, 100 Brand Rd., Durban..

   This website by Durban Website Designers.
Natal Accommodation Guide
Natal Accommodation Guide
Natal Accommodation Guide