KwaZulu Natal Tourist AttractionsUmbogavango Nature Reserve
Where? Moss Kolnik Drive, Southgate Industrial Park, Amanzimtoti, KwaZulu Natal
How? Call ahead and make an appointment to visit the reserve.
Contact +27 (0)31 949-2081 for a permit.
The forest at Umbogavango Nature Reserve is like something out of a story that the passage of time forgot. The thick overhead canopy, the tangle of creepers, the slatted bamboo bridge at Dick's Crossing just below the bird hide, alongside which a grove of arum lilies grow in spring, and the odd little water hole combine to form a haven for birds.
Hard to believe that all this was part of the storm water trap dams that served the AECI industrial plant at Umbogintwini. The reserve is small, only 36 hectares alongside the factory plants in Amanzimtoti's industrial area.
There are three reserves that have been transformed from a series of waste disposal dams into conservation areas within the Umbogintwini Industrial Complex. The Vumbuka and Umbogavango reserves, and the Mamba Valley.
Interestingly these dams are now high in nutrients attracting a huge number of waterfowl, particularly in the summer months. The list of birds spotted in the area is long and includes the Natal spurfowl, brown-hooded kingfisher, violet-backed starling, tambourine dove, Klaas's cuckoo, African firefinch and spur-winged goose. The Cape teal, in particular, is rare to spot anywhere else in Durban.
To get there take the N2 south from Durban towards Amanzimtoti, taking the Moss Kolnik/KwaMakhutha offramp. Turn right and travel west for 1 km along Moss Kolnik Drive and then turn right into the Umbogintwini complex. The reserve is on the right.
There are two trails that lead through the coastal forest and a longer trail to the dam system, passing a large plantation of exotic trees where you can spot raptors like the black sparrowhawk. Three hides along the edge of the dams gives one better access to othe water.
Phone ahead and make an appointment to visit the reserve. Contact: 031 949 2081 for a permit.