About Mpenjati Nature Reserve

The coastline of KwaZulu-Natal is not only a hive of activity amongst watersports enthusiasts, but is also known for its superior variety of plant and animal life. This imparts a natural wealth to the area that makes it particularly special for locals and visitors alike. The Mpenjati Nature Reserve in Palm Beach is one of the little treasures along this part of the South African shores that showcases some of the prettiest and most environmentally significant species in the province.

Did you know? Swimming and fishing in the lagoon are also popular pastimes for those visiting the Mpenjati Nature Reserve. Those with the right equipment also often choose this spot for windsurfing, kite surfing and canoeing.

The little holiday town of Port Edward is only 12 kilometres from Mpenjati, and that of Margate is some 20 kilometres away.

The Mpenjati Nature Reserve reserve occupies 60 hectares (or 149 acres) of the KwaZulu Natal countryside. Thanks to its ideal locale, on the Mpenjati River and stretching to the coast, the reserve is able to boast a number of different ecological habitats and biomes. It includes wetlands, dune forests and grasslands that all meet up within its borders. This variety means far greater biodiversity, and visitors can look forward to the opportunity to spot so many different kinds of birds, land animals, marine species, and plants.

One of the most significant animals that can claim Mpenjati as its natural habitat is the duiker. The red, blue and grey varieties can be found here, which is rather special considering that the red duiker is on the IUCN red list as a threatened species. This antelope is known for being shy and reclusive, which makes seeing them an exciting event for just about anyone.

In addition, visitors should be on the lookout in the trees and vegetation around them if they want to catch sight of some of the many bird species here. In fact, Mpenjati Nature Reserve is esteemed amongst avid bird watchers for its abundance and variety. Some of the avian residents here include the giant kingfisher, osprey, water thick-knee, black-bellied starling, green twinspot, forest canary, orange-breasted bush shrike, and the black-backed puffback.

Mpenjati Nature Reserve is a fabulous place to explore on foot, thanks to there being no major predators to pose a massive risk to human visitors. The Ipithi Trail is 1.2 kilometres long and takes hikers along the south bank of the river. From this trail, many of the birds can be spotted, along with duikers and cheeky vervet monkeys.

The Yengele Trail is slightly longer, at 1.8 kilometres, and winds through the massive dune forests. When tackling this trail, hikers are urged to look out for the breeding pair of fish eagles, known for their exquisite markings and signature call. There are a number of lookout platforms along both of these trails to provide optimal views of the stunning surrounds.

There are ablution blocks in the reserve, as well as a playground, picnic area and barbecuing facilities. This means that families, friends and tour groups can make a day of enjoying the tranquillity and beauty of this part of the KwaZulu-Natal coastline without compromising on good food and plenty of fun.

Need to Know

WhereMpenjati Nature Reserve, Palm Beach, South Coast, KwaZulu Natal, South Africa

WhenBest during daylight hours.

OvernightStay in Palm Beach Accommodation, KwaZulu Natal

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