KwaZulu Natal Game and Nature ReservesThe Amatikulu Nature Reserve
Roughly an hour's drive from Durban, the Amatikulu Nature Reserve is one of those rare natural spaces where, not only will you be one of few people (particularly during the week), but you can see wildlife feeding on forested dunes overlooking the sea – there aren't many spots elsewhere in South Africa where you'll witness this anomaly.
The Amatikulu reserve boasts both the Amatikulu and Nyoni River estuaries along the Indian Ocean, as well as some wonderful coastal lowland forest, unspoilt grassland - a rarity along the KwaZulu-Natal coastline that attracts some wonderful bird life and a fair number of animals like giraffe, zebra, waterbuck and small antelope.
The combination of the beach and water estuaries make the Amatikulu Nature Reserve a wonderful waterland break for visitors who canoe, fish, swim and walk the stretches of river and beach.
Even whales have been spotted from the game watching tower that you find fairly close to the tented camp - built on wooden platforms overlooking the Amatikulu River.
The 4x4 trail in the Amatikulu is probably the main attraction and even sedans can manage the initial part of it. It's a wonderful stretch on which to spot grassland birds with interesting sounding names – like the croaking cisticola, rufous naped lark and plainback pipits.
Visitors to the nature reserve have indisputably recommended cycling the 4x4 route that takes you through the entire reserve, as being on bike in amongst giraffe and zebra is a rather special experience – look out for the redbilled oxpeckers.
The water pan, though occasionally dry in winter, is a good spot for birding (with half an eye on the water for crocs).
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More info and contact details: Route 66 Zululand Heritage Route