KwaZulu Natal Tourist AttractionsRaphia Palm Forest
Mtunzini is a small town just 140 kilometres away from Durban. It is a coastal destination that has a stunning landscape of dunes, forests, palm groves, beaches and lagoons. This little town is also the home of the exquisite raphia palm forest.
This forest has been an official National Monument since 1942, thanks to its diversity and unique botanical value. This natural monument is one of only 18 botanical places in the country. The palms that grow here live for two to three decades, which is a relatively short life span for this kind of plant. They are one of only six species of palm trees that are indigenous to this country. They reach impressive heights of about 25 metres with leaves that are about two-thirds as long as the total height of the tree. This means that they have some of the largest leaves in the entire plant kingdom. These make for stunning sights, a very special taste of the beauty of the South African flora.
Thanks to the stunning natural biodiversity of the region, visitors to the forest are reminded to keep a look out for the bird species that have made this their home. One of these is the Palmnut Vulture, which feeds on the seeds of these palm trees and provides spectacular sights for avian enthusiasts.
The timber boardwalk is a trail that winds and twists through the raphia palm forest, inviting visitors to see, smell and feel the beauty all around them. Immerse yourself in the serenity and untouched natural beauty of the countryside when you visit the palm grove, smell the clear air and feel the warm sunshine as it dapples your pathway.
Those visiting Mtunzini are invited to enjoy even more of its natural wonder by getting some real R & R on the beach, which is quiet and secluded enough to feel like a total retreat from the big city. The river that eventually finds its end at this beach first winds its way through the nearby forests and mangroves, making for breathtaking backdrops and views.
While Mtunzini and its raphia palm forest are small and quiet, they both make for very special viewing and lifelong memories.