About Hawaan Forest

Only ten minutes from Durban, all that remains of a large piece of coastal dune forest, and regarded as the last of its kind, the Hawaan Forest lies close to Umhlanga, set on a sand dune that dates back 18 000 years.

Did you know? Visitors describe Hawaan Forest as similar to Burman Bush and incredibly interesting.

Protected since 1860 the primeval forest lies next to the Umhlanga Nature Reserve (only the M4 runs between them) just off Portland Drive on the edge of residential Durban North.

It is as well that it is protected or development would long since have eradicated it. As it is aerial photographs reveal how hemmed in the forest is both by the sea and residential neighbourhoods – the Hawaan Forest Estate in Herald Drive is virtually on its perimeters. In the 1960s Hawaan was one of many patches of indigenous forest on the coast. Bordered by both the Ohlanga River and the sea Hawaan forest is all that is left.

The name Hawaan is thought to originate from ceremonies performed in the forest by Indian labourers that worked on sugar farms in the area. A Havan is a sacred fire ritual involving a ceramic oven called an Ohavan Kund. The forest was probably used for wood, fruits and honey burned to placate the gods.

The forest has a huge diversity of plant, animal and bird life and over 100 indigenous tree species, some of which are extremely rare. The forest is 65 hectares, but only about 40 of these are regarded as virgin forest.

Visitors describe Hawaan Forest as similar to Burman Bush and incredibly interesting. You can now only walk through the forest with a guide as a result of a recent WESSA project to maintain the pathways and improve the level of safety.

The project included training three of the forest clearers to guide walking trails. To preserve the forest, the Hawaan trails are closed to the public and walks need to be arranged at the Breakers Resort in Umhlanga Rocks.

Need to Know

WhereHawaan Forest, Umhkanga, KwaZulu Natal, South Africa

WhenEntry is restricted to guided walks held on Saturdays at 08h00. Bookings are essential.

Telephone+27 (0) 31 566 4018.

OvernightStay in Umhlanga Accommodation, KwaZulu Natal


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