About Umtiza Forest Reserve

The Umtiza Nature Reserve is a forest reserve on the Buffalo Pass. It lies alongside the bell-shape of the Buffalo River as it sweeps away to follow the course of the pass road, before curving south to run through the reserve itself. The reserve is just outside East London, west of Buffalo Flats and south of Scenery Park. Its role is to protect what remains of the indigenous forests on the banks of the Buffalo River.

Did you know? The Umtiza Forest Reserve is named after one of the rare trees found in the reserve, the umtiza listerana, part of the legume family.

The spiky tree with its multi-fluted stem (it looks as if a few stems have fused together) is endemic to South Africa, and if you want to know what it looks like, there is a geocache hidden in one of them on the circular Tree Dassie Trail in the Umtiza Forest (finding it shouldn't be difficult, as national tree labels mark many of the trees).

Umtiza Nature Reserve is one of the only parts of the country where you'll find this tree, and the forest is said to have more of them than anywhere else in the world.

The forest is beautiful, filled with twisted stems, lichen and moss covered bark, overgrown tree stumps and windy paths that appear to lead deep into the back end of beyond.

Birding in the reserve is one of the highlights, and you can anticipate sighting thirty to forty in one visit. The reserve is fundamentally forest and spotting them is rather difficult, but if you get there early morning, forest birds will make themselves available.

Spotting birds means sitting quietly and listening. Stumbling through the forest whilst chatting is counterproductive, although you will still hear them call. Birds of Umtiza include the Narina trogon, Knysna woodpecker, African dusky flycatcher, brown scrub robin, lemon dove and yellow-throated woodland warbler.

The bridge across the river, roughly 2 km from the entrance, is great for spotting African finfoot.

Within the forest are a series of trails that vary from 1.5 km to 6 km in length. All of them are good for bird spotting, but the longest walk is considered the best.

Round off your visit with a picnic at the picnic area near the nature conservation offices.

Need to Know

WhereUmtiza Forest Reserve, Just outside East London, west of Buffalo Flats, Eastern Cape, South Africa

WhenMonday to Friday from 7h30 to 16h00.

Telephone+27 (0)43 736-4014

OvernightStay in East London Accommodation, Eastern Cape


Please note, business details can change. While we endeavour to ensure all information provided by the service provider is correct at the time of publication, we do not assume any liability caused by errors or changes, such as price, cost, time, and location. Please check with the provider that the activity/business is still offered as described, before making any travel plans.


If this is your reserve, you can let us know if anything on this page is outdated or contains inaccuracies, by email. We regret, we do not have any other information, please contact the provider if you have questions.

In the vicinity

Hotels & other accommodation options in East London

Things to do in the area

Noteworthy attractions

Accommodation near Umtiza Forest Reserve

FIND / South Africa Accommodation / Eastern Cape Accommodation / Sunshine Coast Accommodation / East London Accommodation

East London as a destination

Want to stay overnight?


When would you like to stay?
Choose dates

Number of Guests

Why book with SA-Venues.com
  • Your card is safe with us; strictest card verification in the industry and we don't store card numbers.
  • No airy fairy service fees; you save!
  • We care. Service with integrity.
  • Multiple payment methods:
    credit card, SID instant EFT, bank transfer.
  • All East London property owners / managers are verified (our experience protects you from online fraud).
  • Secure your booking
Our Payment Protection Guarantee only applies if your deposit payment is made via SA-Venues.com
Game Reserves
South Africa. Explore. Experience. Stay

SA-Venues.com® has been assisting travellers with their South Africa travel plans since 1999, and is the largest, independent online travel guide for South Africa available in both English and German.