KwaZulu Natal Tourist AttractionsFutululu Park
Where? 18 km west of St Lucia on the R618, KwaZulu Natal
Futululu Park is just outside the town of St Lucia; a lesser known birding spot on the North Coast of KwaZulu Natal. It lies within the Dukuduku Forest that falls within the iSimangaliso Wetland Park.
Futululu caters mostly for groups of school children and church groups, using environmental education as a means to encourage active involvement in heritage conservation. Their Facebook page outlines a slew of benefits to actively engaging with the environment as a way to help children build enthusiasm, critical thinking and relationship skills.
Some of the themes they offer include: food chains and energy flow, the water cycle and how to save water, man's relationship with the environment, why we have nature reserves and the importance of wetlands. They arrange beach and bush eco-adventure activities to Cape Vidal and Mission Rocks, and walks through the nature reserve and beach.
But don't assume that Futululu, meaning 'under the trees', is only for children. Futululu have created a garden in the forest. Whilst this may sound something of a sacrilege, it facilitates the viewing of birds in a far more accessible way. Spotting birds in a forest takes a great deal of patience.
The lawn of Futululu hosts families of crested guinea fowl, trumpeter hornbills, red-backed mannikins and even narina trogon and Livingstone's turaco; olive and collared sunbirds, ashy flycatchers, African pied wagtails, and yellow-bellied greenbuls.
There are occasional sightings of a pair of crowned eagles, whilst a sedate 10-minute walk brings you to a pan where African jacanas, pygmy goose, white-backed duck and fish-eagles make their home.
The forest, easily accessed from the edge of the campsite, is alive with ashy flycatchers, forest weavers, green pigeon, white-eared barbet, green coucal, and tambourines doves .
Find it: 18 km west of St Lucia on the R618. Take the Monzi Road. Birders are welcome free of charge.