Palmiet Nature Reserve

The Palmiet Nature Reserve is only 90 hectares, named after the river that runs through it

KwaZulu Natal Game and Nature ReservesThe Palmiet Nature Reserve

Not many people know about the nature reserve in Westville, down Old New Germany Road. There is no charge to enter, and the visit is so worth while that you will wonder why you had not been before.

There is a wonderful walk you can do up the Palmiet River into the hills above it through the gnarled roots of trees, ducking under low branches en route, and looking out for resident bushbuck. You may be lucky enough to hear the call of the fish eagles as they circle in the sky above your head.

There are over 150 different birds in the reserve, 170 tree species and 15 km of guided and self-guided trails.

The Palmiet Nature Reserve is only 90 hectares, named after the river that runs through it. Its little saligna woodland and cliffs make it a peaceful space in which to spend time, either walking one of the self-guided trails (there is a cement trail for disabled people) or sitting on the banks of the river, watching the antics of vervet monkeys.

The reserve also offers guided tours that include birding trails, and snake awareness and identification talks for adults and children. The reserve is always grateful for conservation volunteers to help with alien clearing, and it actively involves teenagers by training them to become Palmiet Rangers.

Because the reserve lies so close to residential areas the rangers discourage locals' dogs in the reserve. Their vigilance has paid off and porcupines and duiker, bushbuck, snakes, genets and monkeys make the reserve their home.

The reserve is rather narrow and as a result, wildlife is restricted to the paths. Dogs along these paths will both disconcert and frighten them away. This is also the reason why the reserve does not allow trail running.

Archaeological interest in the reserve has revealed evidence of former human habitation at the Palmiet Reserve. Igwalagwala cliff is the site of an archaeological dig that unearthed a number of artefacts now housed at the Bergtheil Museum.

Popular Activities near Palmiet Nature Reserve

Bergtheil Museum

The Bergtheil Museum, based in the leafy suburb of Westville is mostly focused on the first German settlers that Jonas Bergtheil brought to Natal. The museum is housed within Westville's oldest building, featuring beautiful high stone...

More info and contact details: Bergtheil Museum

Did you know?

Facilities at Palmiet Nature Reserve include an interpretive centre, braai facility (booking required), guided walks (booking required), self-guided walks, birding, bird hide and view sites. For bookings contact the reserve on +27 (0)31 266-8015.

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