Things To Do in UmhlangaUmhlanga Lagoon hiking trail
Where? Umhlanga Lagoon Nature Reserve, Umhlanga, Durban
When? Best during daylight hours.
How much? Price on request
More? See website
Start: Umhlanga Lagoon Nature Reserve, opposite Breakers Hotel
Finish: the reserve
Duration: 2 km, just over an hour
Fitness: easy, perfect for children and families
Our tip: for an informative, guided version of the walk contact Breakers Hotel
This walk to the lagoon is an ideal weekend outing. Not only is it not difficult or long, and a great way to get everyone out of doors, but the trail is also right on the edge of Umhlanga so easy to get to.
Umhlanga Lagoon Nature Reserve is a little slice of wilderness that encompasses a wetland, and coastal and dune forest, as well as serving as a refuge for a great many birds, animals and plants.
The walk begins at the gates, directly across from the Breakers Hotel on Lagoon Drive, passes the picnic area and then heads down a wooden boardwalk before cutting into a wonderful section of coastal forest.
This might take a little longer than anticipated for most of the trees are labelled, which elicits a natural curiosity about the genera of the forest trees. Look out for the 500 year old white stinkwood.
The forest is also home to bushbuck, duiker and other small creatures. But you have to be reasonably quiet to catch a glimpse of them – difficult with children who, once they cross the second boardwalk into dune forest, have already sighted the sand whereafter the idea of 'beach' overrides any sense of awe.
The beach is unlike the more popular beaches in Umhlanga, which tend to be inundated with people during the summer months. Here the lagoon is on one side, the sea on the other - a wonderful space for time out.
From the beach you have a number of choices. You can simply reverse the walk to return. Or, to extend the walk, head north up the beach for as long as you wish, before retracing your steps.
Conversely you can head in the other direction towards the Breakers Hotel, using their gates as a marker to leave the beach, whereafter you take a right onto a path that heads back into the forest reaching the first boardwalk of the nature reserve.