Please note that these directions should use the new road/street names. Let us know where we have gone wrong.
It is your responsibility to check the details before setting off to ensure that they are correct.
Your safety is paramount – so check that it is safe to visit any of these venues before doing so – BirdLife Port Natal will not be held responsible.
Always check and obtain permission if it is required otherwise it will adversely reflect on our bird club.
AFRICAN BIRDS OF PREY SANCTUARY
The African Bird of Prey Sanctuary is at Lion Park Rd.,Camperdown. From Durban, drive west along the N3 highway towards Pietermaritzburg and take Exit 65. Turn right under the highway at Exit 65 (Lynnfield Park) and travel 4km along the Lion Park Road. The African Bird of Prey Sanctuary is on your right.
ALBERT FALLS DAM NATURE RESERVE
Previous visits have provided Osprey, Coqui Francolin, Black-winged and Crowned Plover, Cape Grassbird, Acacia Pied Barbet, Brubru, Ruff, White-throated Swallow – the possible bird list reflects the variety of habitats. The self-catering en-suite rondavels are great for weekenders – reservations 033 5691202. Directions: N3 to Pietermaritzburg, take the Greytown’s turnoff R33 (Church Street exit) and go right over the bridge. Following the signposts, turn right onto the Greytown road and proceed for approximately 18 km to the Albert Falls turnoff on the left, travel about 1 km and turn left into Albert Falls. Pay the entrance fee and meet at the parking by the gate. About 1 hour 30 min.
AMANZIMTOTI BIRD SANCTUARY
Another city parkland with a pond, river and coastal lowland forest. The Amanzimtoti lagoon is nearby where more sea birds and water birds can be seen. Directions: From the N2 take the Moss Kolnik/KwaMakhutha off-ramp. Travel east along Moss Kolnik Drive. At T-Junction turn right into Kingsway Road, then right at traffic lights into Umdoni Road. The reserve is on the right. Park in the car park.
Local Guide Sakhamuzi Mhlongo. Contact Sakhamuzi and arrange for him to show you the specials of this reserve. Cell number: 083 4362252, email@example.com. You may be surprised at what he can show you. Sakhamuzi has been trained within the Birdlife SA initiative at Wakkerstroom and is doing very well at his home base. NB: Guide fees are payable, ask him what his fees are. Directions: Take the N2 north over the Tugela River and turn left at the sign to Amatikulu NR. (The sign is well after you have passed through the second toll plaza at Groutville). Turn left at the signpost and at the stop street turn right going over the N2. Follow this road until you come to the reserve entrance. This is a gravel road and at places somewhat potholed. Park inside the entrance gate. An entrance fee is payable. About 1 hour.
A time for waders. Please wear old takkies or wellies as it can get very muddy. All scopes will be most welcome. Directions: Go south along Bulwer Road (M8), then ZK Matthews Road (Nicolson Road), turn left into Rick Turner Road (Francois Road) towards Maydon Wharf, after crossing the metal span bridge, turn right and pass the dry dock on the left, turn left at the next traffic lights into Bayhead Road and continue until you reach Gate 7 (Langeberg Road) entrance towards National Port Authority. Turn left into Langeberg Road and continue along this road and after crossing a flyover bridge turn left still following the Bayhead Heritage Nature Reserves signs, cross some railway tracks and then turn left into the parking area. Parking is safe as there is now a resident Portnet Guard. Park in the parking area and be prepared for a bit of wading.
Directions: Take the N3 past Pietermaritzburg. Take the Curries Post/Balgowan turnoff and turn left. Travel 3.1 km to the farm gate which is on the right. About 1 hour 30 min.
The Baynesfield outings usually start with a walk around the magnificent gardens, followed by a tour of the estate. A wide variety of Midlands birds can be seen here. Directions: Turn off the N3 towards Pietermaritzburg and exit at the Richmond (R56) turn-off. Continue on this road until you get to a T-junction where you bear left. Continue 1 km further where the sign points to Baynesfield. Turn right, continue across a railway line and a short distance further on you will come to the entrance gates for “Baynesfield Estates”. There is a conservancy entrance fee.
Directions: Travel north on the M4 from Durban. Cross over the uMngeni River and take the Riverside Road turnoff. Keep left and watch out for the sign “Nature Trail” which is just on the left as you leave the off-ramp. At these signs turn sharp left onto a dirt road on the left and park just beyond the gate which is under the bridge.
Directions: From Howick, take the Karkloof/Rietvlei Road. Travel for 33 km. Turn right onto the York/New Hanover Road. Down the hill for 3 km. Then onto D583 on your left and Benvie entrance is ahead.. Follow the Birding signs.
BISLEY VALLEY NATURE RESERVE, PIETERMARITZBURG
A mixture of grasslands and acacia dominated thornveld with some fine trees along the three watercourses draining the higher ground. There are also some marshy areas. Directions: Leave N3 highway at Market Road (Exit 74), go past the market and bear left onto R103 to Cleland. At next traffic lights, go right into Murray Road (Gladys Manzi). Proceed for 2.3 km and go left through the gate at Canterbury Stables. Parking entrance to reserve is 100 m on the right.
BLINKWATER – CRAMMOND
Directions: Take the N3 to Pietermaritzburg. Take the Greytown turnoff and go right over the bridge. Following the signposts, turn right onto the Greytown road (R33), go through New Hanover for about 18 km to Seven Oaks. Meet at the Rietvlei turnoff in Seven Oaks.
BLUFF NATURE RESERVE
A 45 ha wetland situated in coastal lowland with pan and hides. Directions: Take the M4 south (coastal freeway). Take the Bluff turnoff into Solomon Mahlangu Drive -the M7 -(Edwin Swales Drive) and head towards the Bluff. Turn left into Bluff Road and then right into Old Mission Road. Go right at the circle (still Old Mission Road) and then left into Grays Inn Road. Turn right into Tara Road. The entrance is about 1 km along Tara Road. Alternatively take the Mobeni/Jacobs turnoff and left down Quality Street to Tara Road. Turn left and immediately right to the entrance of the reserve. Park in the car park. This reserve is managed by KZN Ezemvelo and there is an entrance fee.
BONAMANZI near Hluhluwe
See http://www.bonamanzi.co.za for directions. Bushveld and sandforest close to major Zululand attractions. Camping and tree houses are available in superb surroundings. More affordable accommodation is available nearby at Hakuna Matata www.hakunamatatalodge.com. or 035 5623192.
This is a private home requiring home owner permission to visit. Contact Crystelle Wilson 031 2080577, 082 7235158, firstname.lastname@example.org for permission. River and forest birding. Meet at Gramarye, No 309 on the Dargle Road. There is a gentle walk to the river with paths running through the wetland and along the Elands River – good for warblers, cisticolas, widows, weavers, cranes, waterbirds and occasional raptors. Then a drive to a local farm for a walk through an indigenous forest and picnic at a fishing cottage at a dam. There is a range of accommodation options available in the district if you want to make a weekend of it and atlas all the habitats: there are grasslands, dams and indigenous forests (think Cape Parrot). Directions: Take the N3 past Pietermaritzburg and Cedara and turn off at Merrivale on the R617 to Underberg/Southern Berg. Boston is about 35 km on this road. Pass Boston Garage on the right, cross the bridge over the Elands River and turn right on the Dargle Road. Gramarye is 2 km further on the right. Allow about 1 hour 20 minutes from the Pavilion Centre. Bring gumboots, insect repellent, warm clothes, picnic and chairs.
Black Sparrowhawk is known to nest here and on previous visits Lesser Honeyguide has been spotted. Directions: Take Lilian Ngoyi Road (Windermere Road) from Sandile Thusi Road (M17) (Argyle Road) and continue along it until the end and turn left into Goodwin Drive. Go past the Bill Buchanan Home and then follow the signs from the Goodwin Drive/Burman Drive junction to the parking area on the left near the gate.
BUSHWILLOW PARK, KARKLOOF
An ideal camping and caravanning location right on the edge of the Karkloof about 15 km from Howick. Close to the crane sanctuary and mistbelt forest. Two bungalows are also available. Book direct: 033 3302680/072 2376247 email@example.com. For directions go to http://www.bushwillowcaravanpark.co.za/and click on Contacts.
Directions: Take the N3 past Pietermaritzburg. Take the Howick North/Tweedie turnoff. Go left towards Tweedie. At Tweedie store turn right towards LionsRiver. Take the next road left, ie Dargle/ Impendle turnoff, then 7 km and turn right at D17 signed Kildaragh Park Stud to Farm 14.
See the Amur Falcons come in to roost in the evening, visit local forests for Cape Parrots and do some grassland birding. Directions: Travel on N3, take exit 61 for R603 towards Umlaas Rd/Umbumbulu/Richmond after 450 metres. Turn right onto R103 after 190 metres. Continue to P338 after 11.3 kms. Then turn left onto R56 after 65.6 kms. Then right onto R612 after 17.5 kms. Turn after 19.1 kms into Smithfield Guest House – Button Birding.
CROWNED EAGLE CONSERVANCY, STOCKVILLE.
Directions: If coming from Durban side, take M13 and take Everton offramp. Keep straight across the traffic lights. Continue along Old Main Road parallel to M13. Travel approx. 300 metres and turn left at Gillitts Hardware (Stockville Road). You will pass Pinto’s Pub (small shopping centre) on left. Travel 700 m down Stockville Road to the last townhouse complex on left. Ring 25 on the wall option 1.
If coming from Botha’s Hill / Hillcrest, travel Old Main Road to Winston Park. Turn left at Jan Smuts at the Caltex Garage. Follow Old Main Road parallel to M13. After fire station and Sarepta Church turn right into Stockville. Travel 700 m down Stockville Road to the last townhouse complex on left. Ring 25 on the wall option 1.
CUMBERLAND NATURE RESERVE
Cumberland is a natural heritage site owned by the Behn family and is set around a gorge which has been gouged by a tributary of the uMngeni River. Bring a picnic lunch or you may wish to braai. You can overnight in the campsite or huts. Book directly with John or Stella Behn 082 3371056, 082 3765600. firstname.lastname@example.org Directions: N3 to Pietermaritzburg, take the Ohrtmann Road turnoff, turn right over freeway into the Willowton area. A landmark is Meadow Feeds. At the second traffic light, turn right into Bishopstowe Road, follow around a curve then take the yield road left (there is a service station right-hand corner) signposted Table Mountain. Continue up the hill (this is the old Wartburg Road) until another sign to Table Mountain. Turn right here. After a few km you will see D408 and an Albert Falls Amble 45 sign – turn left and continue for some way through farmland (eventually citrus) until you reach the entrance to Cumberland. Allow about 1 ¼ hours to get there, as you may do some birding on the last stretch. Drop the small entrance fee into the honesty box, sign the register, drive a little further to park in one of the picnic spots under the acacia trees on the left.
The quiet rural road network in the Dargle Valley in the KwaZulu-Natal Midlands offers an opportunity to record, amidst beautiful hill and marshy valleys, over 200 bird species including Crowned, Wattled and Blue Crane, Crowned Eagle, Narina Trogon, White-Starred Robin, Olive Woodpecker, and a host of cisticolas and warblers. Directions: Travel north from Durban on the N3. As you pass Howick turn left off the N3 onto the P142 and then, after 1.4 km, take a right onto the R103. Drive on the R103 for about 8 km. Piggly Wiggly on your left is a good meeting spot.
DARVILL TREATMENT WORKS
Darvill is great for a wide variety of waterfowl with easy access. Directions: Travel from Durban on the N3 to Pietermaritzburg. Take the New England Road turnoff (R56). Turn right at lights and go back over the freeway to a traffic circle. Go straight at the circle for 2-3 km to a sign on the left “Darvill Reticulation” on the Hollingwood grounds. Enter and continue to the actual sewerage works entrance. Park under the trees on the right of the entrance.
DHLINZA FOREST NATURE RESERVE, ESHOWE
Visit the now famous boardwalk – pay the entrance fee (about R25) for the boardwalk. Guides are available to take you on the boardwalk and through the forest – they will be able to show places to see the famous Eastern Bronze-naped Pigeon and Spotted Ground Thrush. You may have to form small groups with others who arrive. Directions: From Durban travel north on the N2 until the Dokodweni offramp, signposted Gingindlovu, Eshowe and Ulundi. (Road No R66). Pay the toll and travel inland to Eshowe for 24 km. Ignore 1st turning into Eshowe and turn left at the second turning into Eshowe (Kangella Road) at the traffic lights. Stay in Kangella Road and continue past the hospital and school until the entrance, marked by an archway on left side, about 2 km.
DURBAN BOTANICAL GARDENS
Directions: From Berea Road, turn into Botanic Gardens Road and travel north until the Botanic Gardens are reached. Turn right into John Zikhali Road (Sydenham Road) and follow the signs to the new entrance.
Ellingham is a cane farm with extensive riverine forest, great climax trees, bush and dams, plus some well-left dead eucalypts which often yield raptors. Permission is required to enter. Call Andre on cell: 073 2515339. Directions: Get onto the N2 freeway heading south. Take the Park Rynie\Umzinto off-ramp. Turn right and cross over the bridge. After approximately 1 km turn left onto a sand road, you will see a sign to Ellingham Estate. Within 50 metres take a left turn. There are horse paddocks on the left which can be used to park vehicles.
Over 100 species of birds have been recorded in this area, including the elusive Magpie Mannikin and a chance to see White-starred Robin, Spotted Ground Thrush and Green Twinspot. Habitat consists of prime coastal forest with perennial small streams. Directions: Travel the N2 south, take the Umkomaas/Widenham off-ramp. At the stop street turn left, then travel a few hundred metres to the first left turn signposted SAPPI/SAICCOR. Continue down a steep hill for just over 1 km, turn left at the T-junction at the bottom of the hill and then left again through an unmarked gap in the fence. Follow the track for about 400 m to the parking and picnic area. There is a nice picnic/braai site. It takes about 40 min.
This reserve has the Finfoot as its emblem, with good reason. Directions: Take N2 North Coast, pass Empangeni and then look out for Nseleni sign before crossing the river. Turn left into the reserve and the road takes you under the N2 to a parking area. Allow about 2 hours’ travelling time.
This is a private area and permission from the Illovo Sugar Mill office is required – you will need your ID book. Like all venues it has its good days and bad days, but to whet your appetite Red Phalarope, Spotted Crake, African Crake, Painted Snipe, Green Sandpiper, and Western Yellow Wagtail have been recorded over the last 10 years by Barry Swaddle. Directions: From Durban take either the N3 or M13 and head west. After 30 km past Marianhill Toll Plaza take the Camperdown off-ramp and turn left at the junction. Proceed for 3 km then turn left on the R603. Continue for 16 km passing Tala Private Game Reserve. At 4 km past Tala turn right on the R624. 700m further on is the main entrance to the sugar mill. Approximately 60 minutes.
FERNCLIFFE FOREST NATURE RESERVE
Ferncliffe has an extensive patch of mistbelt evergreen forest with walking trails. Excellent forest birding. Directions: Take the N3 to Pietermaritzburg. Take the turnoff after the Greytown turnoff. Bear left to roundabout, and right up the hill past Greys Hospital. Keep on straight to the top of the hill to sign Ferncliffe. Turn right and continue along bumpy road to picnic site. About 1 hour.
FUTULULU PARK (near St Lucia, Zululand)
A venue in close proximity to Dukuduku Forest which has various lakes and swamp forest. Camping and chalet accommodation is available, book directly with Fututulu Park. Tel/Fax: 035 550 4431. See their website www.fututulu.co.za for information and directions.
GIBA GORGE (Hillcrest)
Barratt’s Warbler, Bush Blackcap and Crowned Eagle have been spotted – truly a special venue! Directions: Go up Fields Hill along the M13, take Exit 28 Old Main Road/Hillcrest East turnoff and at traffic lights turn right over the M13 and first left into St Helier Road. At the bottom of the road (a dam on your right) – turn left and go under the M13, still in St Helier Rd. Cross over a small stream on a very sharp corner. There is a dirt road to your left, take it to a gate and park down at the small parking area.
Another opportunity for good Drakensberg birding. The resort has a wide range of accommodation and beautiful campsite with power. In close proximity to Highmoor and Kamberg reserves as well as crane sanctuary. Good chance for Wattled Cranes. Easy to get to on tar. Find details on website www.wheretostay.co.za/glengarry or phone 033 2677225 to book and for directions.
GLENHOLME NATURE RESERVE (KLOOF SPCA)
All the Kloof special habitat features of grassland, scarp and swamp forest occur here with attendant bird species. Directions: From the M13 take the Village Road/Kloof Exit 23 off-ramp. Turn left (south) and turn immediately right towards the Kloof and Highway SPCA. Park in the SPCA parking area.
HAROLD JOHNSON NATURE RESERVE
With its well preserved coastal bush, steep cliffs and gullies, the reserve is a fine place to come for a day’s visit or an overnight camp. The 104 ha reserve boasts indigenous trees, mammals, a rich variety of bird life and butterflies. Directions: Travel on the N2 from Durban north to exit 245 towards Darnall. Turn left at the end of the exit off-ramp. Travel almost 3 km to the R102. Turn right onto the R102 for 7.4 km. Then turn right for 750 m and then turn left into the reserve. The reserve is 100 km or about 1 hour driving time from Durban.
HAVEN ROCK FARMHOUSE
Directions: Take the South Coast freeway to the Umzinto turnoff. Go right over the bridge and 19 km past Vernon Crookes. Turn right onto D307 and right at the fork. Park at the gate marked ‘Haven Rock’. About 1 hour 30 minutes.
Directions: Park at the gate in Portland Drive, which is off either Herald Drive or from the M4 uMhlanga North exit and Travel west then turn right into Portland Drive. A small donation for the guide’s expenses will be in order. The walk should last approximately 2 hours. Please note that the gate is kept locked so you will have to go on an organised walk to this area.
HELLA HELLA (HIGHOVER ESTATES)
A chance to see the Blue Swallows, Verreaux’s Eagles and other specials for this region. Directions: Take the N3 to Pietermaritzburg and then take provincial road No 56 (Richmond/Transkei route) and travel to Richmond using the Richmond bypass. Drive directly through Richmond along Shepstone Street, and 1 km from Richmond take the Eastwolds/Hella Hella Road. Continue along the tar road for 15 km. From the end of the tar the gravel road winds down to the uMkomazi River for about 9 km. Meet at the bridge. About 1 hour 30 minutes.
Directions: Take the N3 west past Pietermaritzburg. At the top of Town Hill take the Hilton exit. Turn right back over the motorway and drive 6 kms straight to the entrance of Hilton College. Entry by permission and payment of an entry fee. Contact Deren 084 600 8865 or email: email@example.com.
HLABENI PARK CARAVAN RESORT
Directions: Take the N3 towards Pietermaritzburg. Take the Richmond/Ixopo turnoff before Pietermaritzburg. From Ixopo, take the Bulwer/Donnybrook Road. Travel approximately 18 km then take the Creighton turnoff on the left. Drive through Creighton and take the road signed Caravan Park. Travel 15 km to the park on good dirt road.
HLATIKULU – CRANE FOUNDATION
Directions: Take the N3 past Pietermaritzburg. Take the Rosetta turnoff. Go into Rosetta and take the tarred road signposted Kamberg. Travel 29 km to the end of the tar and continue along gravel road 9 km to the signpost D11. Turn left and go 5 km down the road to the crane pens on the right. About 2 hours.
ILALA PALM PARK
This is a 35 hectare site 6 km outside Mbazwana in Maputaland. Habitat is sandforest so the normal specials should be there. Camping on powered site is R90 pp/night (R70 for pensioners). Sodwana, Sibaya and Muzi Pan are within 20-25 km. Book directly. Directions on website http://campsa.co.za/ilalapalmpark. or call 035 571125 or 082 8555643.
ILANDA WILDS, AMANZIMTOTI
Birding is excellent with Half-collared Kingfisher as one of the specials. The best place to park is the main parking area at Lords and Legends. Directions: From Durban, take the Adams Road off-ramp into Amanzimtoti. Turn right, and right again at the traffic lights to go over the freeway. Left at the next lights, and follow the road until the T-junction (you will cross the river, and pass the library and civic centre to your left). Turn right at the T-junction and travel 1/2 km inland to the entrance to bowling club, cricket grounds and Lords and Legends.
Expect waterbirds and bushveld birds. Directions: Proceed to Waterfall shopping centre via either Bridle and Link roads in Kloof or Inanda road in Hillcrest. From the shopping centre continue along Inanda road through Crestholme until the T-junction. Left at T-junction and follow the river till below the dam wall. Cross river below dam wall and continue until Inanda centre on left hand side.
IPHITHI NATURE RESERVE
Directions: Drive on the M13 from Durban and take the Everton off-ramp between Kloof and Hillcrest. Turn right at the intersection towards Everton Road and then turn left immediately after crossing the M13 and BEFORE the railway bridge. Drive west along this road parallel to the railway line and then after about 100 m turn right and cross the railway line into Camp Road. After another 100 m turn left at the T-junction into Edward Drive and the parking/entrance to iPhithi is on your right. Park in the parking area. A small donation is in order.
ISUNDU RESERVE – AMANZIMTOTI
Directions: Head south along the N2. Take the Adams Road turnoff. Go across the bridge and immediately left. Go past the Civic Centre until you reach a T-junction. Turn right into Riverside Road. Travel for about 1 km, just over the bridge (with water across the road), turn into the entrance which is on your left. Alternate route is by the civic centre, turn right into Isundu Road. You then go to the T-junction and left into Old Main Road, then left again into Riverside Road. The entrance will then be on your right.
JEX ESTATES, MVOTI RIVER
Waders, terns, plovers and forest birds should delight and the Western Yellow Wagtails may be there as well in February. Directions: Travel north on the N2 until the Umvoti Toll Plaza. Take the Groutville turn-off just north of the toll and turn right across the freeway. Follow the telephone lines until the entrance gate is reached. There is a small conservancy fee which is used for the eradication of noxious weeds. You need to phone to request permission – 032 559 9562.
JUBILEE PARK NR. WESTVILLE
This small but beautiful reserve is a swamp forest which Marion Spence and John Hinck have spent four years rehabilitating, removing alien vegetation and planting indigenous trees. John has also built an excellent wooden boardwalk over the wetter areas. Best sighting recently was a pair of Violet-backed Starlings and Magpie Mannikins. Obviously this all costs money, so a small donation is in order. Directions: From Westville Mall follow Church Rd. past the Spar on your right. At the T-junction turn left. Follow this road crossing the N3. Immediately after crossing the N3 turn right into Marford Avenue, then immediately left into Princess Anne Place to the Jubilee bird hide.
KARKLOOF CONSERVATION CENTRE
Directions: Take the Howick South/Merrivale off-ramp from the N3, proceed through Merrivale and on into Howick. Cross the uMngeni River and into the Main Street of Howick through two sets of traffic lights. At third set of lights where the main street turns at right angles to the left, turn right. Take the Karkloof/Rietvlei Road. From the Supaquick tyre shop at the beginning of that road, measure 15½ km. At this point you will see an avenue of plane trees lining the drive into the farm. The sign at the gate says “Gartmore Farm”. On the right hand side, at the entrance to Gartmore Farm you will find the Karkloof Conservation Centre. There is a small entrance fee, but if there are over 15 people, there will be a discount. Travel time about 2 hours.
KENNETH STAINBANK NATURE RESERVE, YELLOWWOOD PARK
This 214 ha reserve contains the largest area of climax forest remaining in the vicinity of Durban and areas of open grassland, woodland, scrub and riverine vegetation along the uMhlatuzana River. Over 200 species of birds occur in this reserve. Directions: From Solomon Mahlangu Drive (Edwin Swales Drive), take the Wakesleigh Road turn-off. Turn left into Sarnia Road, travel for 2 km then turn right at the traffic lights into Coedmore Quarry Road. Travel for 3 km, the entrance to the reserve is on the right. Park in the Loerie car park. There is an entrance fee.
KRANTZKLOOF NATURE RESERVE
This 600 ha reserve, incised with deep gorges and covered with coastal scarp forest with patches of grassland and protea veld on the crest of the hills and with sheer cliff faces, has got to provide a wide and interesting variety of birds from Crowned Eagle to Blue-billed Firefinch, and many others in between, including the Narina Trogon. Directions: Up Fields Hill along M13, take Village Road turnoff (exit 23). Turn right over the bridge, then left at the traffic circle into Old Main Road. Continue through another traffic circle and then bear right around a further traffic circle, then sharp left over the railway bridge, then left again into Church Street. At the T-junction turn left into Abelia Road, then right into Kloof Falls Road (it is signposted from this point). At the next traffic circle, bear right and continue down this road for about 2 km until you reach the picnic site on the right hand side. Park at Bridle road (main) entrance and pay the entrance fee.
LOTHENI, DRAKENSBERG NATIONAL PARK
Typical high Berg habitat with interesting trails and easy birding around the camps. Reasonably priced huts and rustic campsite (no power) situated 1.5 km away. About 2.5 – 3 hours from Durban via Underberg or Nottingham Road. Last 15 km difficult when wet. Book huts with Ezemvelo 033 8451000 and camping with reserve 033 7020540. Directions: Travel from Durban on the N3 around Pietermaritzburg towards Howick. Take exit 99 toward R617/Howick/Underberg for 450 m. Turn right onto Boston Road R617 and continue for 116 km. Then turn right for 29 km to Lotheni.
MADWALA NATURE RESERVE – BOTHA’S HILL
This area has a dam and wetlands. Directions: From the M13 take the Old Main Road/Hillcrest off-ramp. Travel north towards Hillcrest along Old Main Road, through Hillcrest, up Botha’s Hill, past Kearsney College and down the hill to Heidi’s Farm Stall on the left. At the stall turn left into Clement-Stott Road and proceed to the Chantecler Hotel. The reserve is accessed from the hotel.
MARIANNWOOD NATURE RESERVE
A 12 ha delightful reserve of bushclump, grassland mosaic, riverine forest and coastal scarp forest. Directions: Take N3 toll road towards Mariannhill. Exit at Richmond Rd. Turn left (south) towards the Mariannhill Monastry. Turn left into 7th Ave, second right into Adams Road, left into Mariannridge Road. Turn right into James Herbert Road, entrance to the reserve is at 8 James Herbert Road next to Heightor flats. Park in the picnic site.
This is a private estate. To gain access you need an invitation from a resident. Possible birds include: Cape Parrot, White-starred Robin, Orange Ground Thrush, Crowned Eagle, Bush Blackcap, Barratt’s Warbler, Broad-tailed Warbler, Forest Canary etc. Directions from N3: Take exit 103 to Howick. Pass Howick Falls Hotel on right, through two more sets of traffic lights. Turn right at the second lights where the road turns sharply left. Travel 34 km (last 8 km on dirt) passing Karkloof Conservancy and Rietvlei. Park at the gate into Mbona on your right.
MHLOPENI NATURE RESERVE
Take the N3 towards Pietermaritzburg and then turn off at the exit for Greytown (R33). Drive 78 kms to Greytown. At Greytown turn left on to the R74. After 1.8 kms bear right to Muden. Travel 21.5 kms and then turn left at the signboard to the reserve. GPS co-ordinates are S28.58.398 E30.24.210 (or S28.97388 E30.40334). Allow 2 hours from the Pavilion.
Little known but excellent venue with wide variety of habitat bordering the Lebombo and Mozambique with the UmbeluziRiver running through. There is a nicely situated rustic campsite with communal bomas. Chalets are also available. Valid passport required. Only about 2 hours from CrocodileBridge for those going on to Kruger. Book direct with the reserve office (Swaziland National Parks) at Mlawula. 09268-3838885. Directions: Take the N2 north from Durban towards Pongola for about 327 km. Turn right for 10 km toward Siteki border post to enter Swaziland. Follow the MR48 for 70 km around Big Bend. Then turn right onto the MR16 for 42 km. At the T-junction turn left and travel 3 km to the next T-junction. Turn right and travel 31 km through Hlane National Park. Turn right for 4 km. Then right again for 4 km. The reserve will be on the right.
Directions: From the coast road or the N2 take the uMdloti/Verulam off ramp. Travel for about half a km and you will see a white uMdloti Estate pillar on the right. Take this dirt road. Wind down to the river and cross over the uMdloti River bridge. (Do not turn left at the shop but proceed 50 m or so past the spaza shop). After crossing the river turn immediately right. Mt Moreland Village Green will be on your right.
MPENJATI RESERVE, LOWER KZN SOUTH COAST
The cottage may be booked through KZN Wildlife 033 8451000. Caravanning and camping is available at Port O’Call Trafalgar telephone 039 3130511. Directions: N2 South Coast, past Oribi Toll Plaza, San Lameer and Trafalgar signs and after that is the reserve. Allow 2 hours. Entrance fee payable.
MSINSI NATURE RESERVE
Interesting bird sightings have been recorded from this small reserve on the UKZN Howard College Campus: Black Sparrowhawk, Little Sparrowhawk and Grey Waxbill. Directions: Travel west along Rick Turner Road (Francois Road) past Princess Alice Avenue and the University of KwaZulu-Natal on the right. The entrance to the reserve is halfway down the hill on the right, through Gate No 10 to the UKZN sports fields.
MTUNZINI / UMLALAZI NATURE RESERVE
Mtunzini has a lot of winter specials, including Mangrove Kingfisher, Chorister Robin-Chat and Spotted Ground Thrush. Don’t forget Palm-nut Vulture. Directions: N2 North Coast to Mtunzini Toll Plaza, for approximately 140 km, then follow the signs to Umlalazi NR. Be mindful of the toll fees and there is a nominal entrance fee to the reserve. Park in the car park.
An optional trip to NgoyeForest (4×4’s required) to see the Green Barbet and Yellow-streaked Bulbul. Winter specials could include Mangrove Kingfisher and the year round special is the Palm-nut Vulture. The campsites are relatively cheap. Make your own bookings directly with the reserve 035 3401836.
NDUMO GAME RESERVE
What a special place. Campsites available. Telephone 033 8451000 to make your own bookings. You will probably wish to book for a long stay and the guided walks are a must. Directions: Follow the N2 from Durban to the Jozini turnoff after about 325 kms. Turn right onto the P522 and drive for 70 km passing through Jozini and over the dam wall. Then turn left onto the P435 for 17 km. Look out for the Ndumo shopping area. Immediately after there is a turn to the left signposted “Ndumo”. One km further is the entrance to the reserve.
NEW GERMANY NATURE RESERVE
Gate opens at 07h30. Directions: From Old Main Road, Pinetown turn north into Otto Volek Road. Follow sign right into Mountain Ridge Road just before the M19. Follow signs to the reserve, OR take the N3 from Durban and then the M13 towards Pinetown. Take the Stapleton Road/New Germany turnoff (exit 16). Turn left then right onto the M5 heading towards New Germany. Continue until Mountain Ridge Road where you turn right. Continue for 700 m and then turn left into Gilbert Drive. Carry on to the reserve. Park in the car park. They don’t charge an entrance, but do ask for donations.
Directions: Take the N2 north and take the Mtunzini off ramp toll plaza. Turn left and at the T-junction by the BP garage turn right towards Empangeni. Pass the Forest Inn and after passing through forest look for the sign to the birding hut and turn left. Park at the garage forecourt directly after turning.
Coastal lowland forest with high sandstone cliffs and a river all combine to make a good morning’s birding. Directions: Take the M7 Solomon Mahlangu Drive (Edwin Swales Drive) from Durban, turn off at the Northdene/Queensburgh exit, turn left into Old Main Road after 6 km (Exit 12), turn right into Anderson Road after 1 km and proceed to the gate. There is an entrance fee. Park in the car park.
NORTHERN DISTRICTS WATER TREATMENT WORKS
Access can be denied – check before planning to visit and get permission. Situated on a former flood plain of the uMngeni River in the Sea Cow Lake area, this area consists of several large maturation ponds with vegetation-covered banks which provide shelter for a large number of roosting waterfowl. Ducks, pelicans, waders, jacanas and rallids all occur here. Directions: Leave city centre along uMngeni Road. Cross the Connaught Bridge over uMngeni River, turn left at the traffic lights into Inanda Road. After a few hundred metres, Sea Cow Lake Road appears on your right. Turn right at the traffic lights where Sea Cow Lake Road joins Inanda Road and then immediately left into Joanna Road and continue for 1 km to the gate.
ORIBI GORGE RESERVE
Make your own bookings for weekend stay-overs 039 6791644. The camp is small, and there are rest huts as well which may be booked through KZN Wildlife 033 8451000. Directions: N2 South to Oribi Toll Plaza, keep in left lane, turn right over freeway and proceed inland about 22 km until you see the brown KZN Oribi sign. Turn right and then follow a sign left to reach the camp, or park at the picnic site at the bottom of the gorge. About 2 hours. An entrance fee is payable.
PALMIET NATURE RESERVE
Riverine forest and coastal grassland, which is always associated with Mountain Wagtails – there should be kingfishers as well. Directions: From the N3 take the Westville/Pavilion off-ramp. Travel along St James Avenue towards Westville. Shortly after the bridge, at the T-junction turn right into Jan Hofmeyr Road. After Westville Boys High School (on the right) turn left into Old New Germany Road past Pick ‘n Pay on your right to the Gwala-Gwala entrance. Park in the car park.
PARADISE VALLEY NATURE RESERVE
Gates open 07h00. There is a walk along the Umbilo River to the spectacular waterfall. Possible sightings include Mountain Wagtails and several raptors. Directions: from M13 westbound take the Stapleton Road/New Germany turnoff (Exit 16). Keep left into Eden Road. Follow Eden Road past the Blood Bank, turn right into Oxford Road. The reserve is at the end of the road. There is a small entrance fee.
PIETERMARITZBURG BOTANICAL GARDENS
New trails have been opened, and a visit here is highly recommended. Brunch is an option in the excellent restaurant in the gardens after the walk. Grassland and forest and other different habitats can be enjoyed. Directions: Travel on the N3 from Durban towards Pietermaritzburg. Take exit 77 for R56 and merge into New England Road. Turn right into Chief Albert Luthuli Street after 1.5 km. Then left into Victoria Road. after 2.7 km. Continue straight for 2 km and turn right onto Mayor’s Walk Road. leading to the gardens after a further 1 km.
A small remnant patch of coastal bush which once covered the whole of the Berea. Directions: From Tollgate bridge travel along Mazisi Kunene Road (South Ridge Road). Follow the signpost and turn left into King George V Avenue. Continue for about 500 m then turn right into Princess Alice Avenue. The reserve is on your right. Alternatively south along Lena Ahrens Road (Manning Road), right up Rhodes Avenue which leads you to the entrance. Listen to the calls and bird the periphery until the reserve opens at 07h30.
Blue-cheeked Bee-eaters and Red-breasted Swallows can be found in summer along with a host of waterbirds. Directions: N2 north, take the Empangeni/Richards Bay turn-off and proceed towards Richards Bay, then (about seven traffic lights along) take the sign to Harbour East/Medway Road. Turn right, over canal, and park in the grassed area on the left next to the canal. Probably two hours travelling.
RIVER VALLEY NATURE RESERVE, UVONGO
A private reserve on the Vungu River with pristine riparian forest and grassland. There is an excellent campsite and two reasonably priced lodges each with accommodation for four. Phone Andrew for bookings 083 2635537. Directions: Take the N2 South from Durban. At Port Shepstone follow the signs for the R61 the road to Margate. Take the Uvongo turnoff and turn right back across the R61. The fifth road to the right is Portal Avenue. Turn right into Portal Av. and drive straight to the reserve’s gate. Alternatively go to the website www.rivervalleynaturereserve.co.za. for a map and directions.
ROCKY WONDER ALOE NURSERY
Rocky Wonder Aloe Nursery is in the Mpushini Valley located at GPS S 29 38’ 20.62” E 30 29’ 35.58.” Directions. Take the N3 heading towards Pietermaritzburg. Turn off at exit 69 to Ashburton. Turn right and keep right until you see a sign for Rocky Wonder Aloe Nursery after 6 kms.
ROLLING HILLS – for Indoor Meetings
Whether using the N2 or M4 (Ruth First) freeways take the Umhlanga turn-off, to the round-a-bout which takes you past the Sharks Board entrance on Herrwood Drive. Continue on Herrwood for 2 blocks and turn left into Autumn Drive, just over the rise you’ll see a satellite Police Station on your right, and about 100 metres further the turn-off to your right for Rolling Hills. By now you should see the entrance and wall with the name on it.
Once in the gate turn left and follow the road round the bowling green and on your right you’ll see the Clubhouse, where we will have the meeting.
For GPS people the address is Rolling Hills, 1 Autumn Drive, Prestondale, Umhlanga Rocks.
ROOSFONTEIN NATURE RESERVE
Includes grassland birding in an area not often visited. Directions: Take the N3 and exit at the Westville off-ramp (Pavilion off-ramp). Turn left and follow the signs for Westville Hospital and you will find yourself in Harry Gwala Road (Spine Road). Continue past the hospital. At the traffic lights, turn right to Westville Prison. Park in the prison parking area.
SAND FOREST LODGE – near Hluhluwe
Typical sand forest habitat conveniently situated for False Bay Park and iMfolozi/Hluhluwe Game Reserve. Camp sites and chalet accommodation. Details on website http://www.sandforest.co.za or phone Cary or Godfrey 082 4176484 or 083 6277080. For directions see their website.
This is birding at its most enjoyable whilst putting those Sani-Lesotho specials on your life-list or year-list. Directions: Take the N3 from Durban to exit 99 (Howick/Underberg). After 450 m turn left onto R617 and continue for 112 km. Turn right into Sani Rd. for 4.5 km. Continue into Arbuckle Street for 4.2 km. Then turn left toward Sani Pass for 25.3 km.
Meet at Tiffany’s Shopping Centre on the East Side of the N2 at exit 214 (Salt Rock , Umhlali, Shaka’s Kraal). There is a Pet shop called “FUR & FEATHERS” wait outside it. To get to Sheffield Beach directly, take exit 214 and go east over the freeway bridge. Pass the Tiffany shopping Centre then turn left after 200 metres and follow the sign to Sheffield Beach (there is a small fork after 400m …keep right). After another 900 metres on your left is a horse corral, the entrance is on the right of the horses. BOOTS & LONGS ARE ADVISED due to prevalence of FOREST COBRA!!!! There are 2 dams and the habitat consists of Grassland, Swamp Forest and Open Savannah with dotted trees.
SHONGWENI DAM AND RESOURCES RESERVE
Early summer is a great time of year for Shongweni, a popular birding spot with a chance of excellent birding. Directions: Take the N3 west, go through the Mariannhill Toll Plaza, then take the Shongweni/Assagay off-ramp. Turn left and drive for approximately 1 km before turning left again at the sign to Shongweni Dam. After a few hundred metres turn right at the next signpost for Shongweni Dam. This road eventually leads to the entrance (about 6 km). Pay your entrance fee by card. Cash not accepted. Wild Cards accepted. Take the left road as you enter and park in the parking at the Resource Centre.
SILVERGLEN NATURE RESERVE
An area that combines grassland, forest and riverine areas. Directions: Take the N2 south, taking the Chatsworth/Mobeni offramp. Turn right over the bridge and proceed for 2 km along the Higginson Highway. Turn left into Havenside Drive, taking the 4th left into Klaarwater Road. Proceed for 3.7 km until turning left into Lakeview Road. The entrance is a further 1 km further on.
SIMBITHI ESTATE near Ballito
Directions: Go up the N2 from Durban, past Ballito exit, then take the next exit 212 and go over the bridge towards the sea. The Simbithi Main Gate is on the right 800 m from the N2. They have several good birding areas including forests, dams and grassland.
SPRINGSIDE NATURE RESERVE
In winter there is a promise of lots of sunbirds. In summer you can also see the wild flowers. There is a lovely picnic spot. Directions: From M13, turn off at Hillcrest off-ramp. Turn right at traffic light into Old Main Road. At Heritage Market, turn right into Stonewall. Travel under the subway and at the T-junction turn right into Springside Road. Continue along this road until you see the reserve on your left. Donations are encouraged.
Access is normally only possible with a local guide. Permission is required to enter the estate. Contact Ashton Musgrave – farm manager 071 6091886. This is a tropical paradise on a private sugar cane farm consisting of a series of shallow dams with extensive sedges and riverine trees as well as acacia bush complemented by patches of grassland. The abundance and variety of species are impressive. Eastern Nicator has been seen, as well as Black Coucal and Baillon’s Crake. Common species include African Pygmy Goose, White-backed Duck, Lesser Jacana, Lesser Moorhen, Little Bittern, all the egrets, Blue-billed Firefinch, Cape and Yellow-throated Longclaw and a good selection of warblers. Directions: Take the N2 north from Durban and meet at the Umvoti garage just before the toll. Allow 30 minutes to the garage from Gateway. St Kitts is about a further 40 min drive. St Kitts Wetland is situated off the R102 north of the Tugela and inland from Amatikulu. You need a guide to show you the birding areas on the estate.
STANGER SAPPI BIRD HIDE
Directions: Travel north along the N2 and take the Stanger turn off and then turn left on to the R74. After 1 km take the first turnoff to the left (next to a large Natal fig). Travel for 3 km along the dirt road until you get to the Sappi entrance gate where you need to sign in at security. Continue along the road and immediately turn left. The track to the hide is 600 m on the left hand side. There is parking at the bird hide.
TALA GAME RESERVE
The BirdLife KZN clubs have an arrangement with the reserve where it has been agreed that for bird club members, on a pre-arranged visit on Wednesday or Sunday mornings, the entrance fee would be R50 pp. with no charge for a vehicle, and this may include a guided walk between 07h00-09h00 if the group is large enough. Either BLSA or club membership cards need to be presented. Bird from your vehicle. You need to phone or email Divan Vermaak at least 2 days beforehand informing of your wish to visit. He will need your car licence plate number. Email: firstname.lastname@example.org, 083 2255479. Please note that no cash is taken at the gate. Payment is by card only. Directions: from Durban take the N3 to Pietermaritzburg. Take the Camperdown/Umbumbulu Roadd off-ramp and turn left to Umbumbulu Road. At the T-junction turn left to Umbumbulu Road and keep left for 13 km to Umbumbulu (R603). Cross the Mlazi River (3 km straight) and take the second turn left to Tala (Eston brick). Turn left into Tala and follow signs to reception.
TANGLEWOOD FARM NATURE RESERVE
Directions: Take the exit at the bottom of Field’s Hill on the M13. Turn onto Richmond Road at the off ramp lights (travelling away from Pinetown). Turn right onto Trafford Road. Travel 1.2 kms and just before the lights turn right onto Motala Road. At the traffic circle turn left onto Naidoo Road. After about 300 metres you will see the entrance in front of you. Buzz the buzzer to get in and meet inside after entering.
Directions: Head South on N2 Take the Scottburgh/Dududu off-ramp, (the off-ramp after Umkomaas approx 12 km). At the stop street turn left, keep on that road to the T-junction. Turn right and proceed over the bridge. Almost immediately after the bridge (50 m) there is a sign on the right to TC Robertson. Once past the entrance proceed along the dirt road, it winds a bit and then makes a gradual turn to the left.
The birding is normally very good with herons in abundance. This is a very pleasant park but not a place to visit on one’s own in the early morning. Directions: South along Bulwer Road, then Nicolson Road, when you reach the circle turn left into Queen Mary Avenue and then right into Bartle Road, continue to end – turn right and around the curve, the parking area will be on your left.
Directions: Take the N2 towards Amanzimtoti and exit at the Moss Kolnik Drive/KwaMakhutu turnoff. Turn right across the freeway and continue for about 1 km. Turn right at the Southfork signpost and continue for a short distance to the gate.
UMDONI PARK, UMKOMAAS
The birding is usually good in the winter months, from Crowned Eagle to Spotted Ground Thrush, and who knows what else may turn up. Directions: Take the N2 south from Durban, turn left at the Umzinto/Park Rynie turnoff (just past Scottburgh, the same glide off as for Vernon Crookes NR). At the junction with the old main road, turn right and continue south along the old main road until you reach Umdoni Caravan Park at Pennington. Turn left and continue 500 m. Approximately 45 minutes.
UMGENI ESTUARY & BEACHWOOD MANGROVES
Directions: Travel north on the M4 from Durban. Cross over the uMngeni River and take the Riverside Road turn-off. Continue alongside the river until the uMngeni Bird Park is reached. Beachwood Mangroves are found near the estuary mouth.
UMNGENI VALLEY NATURE RESERVE
This WESSA reserve has a variety of habitats – grassland, sandstone cliffs, thornveld and forest and boasts a bird list of over 260 species. Directions: Go to Howick town centre via the N3 and take road to Karkloof/Rietvlei. uMngeni Valley Nature Reserve is about 800 metres out of town on the right. Park at the entrance and pay the entrance fee.
UMHLANGA LAGOON NATURE RESERVE
Lagoon, wetland, duneforest ecosystems yield some interesting birds, not to mention the sandy shores of the Indian Ocean. Always a good birding venue. Directions: From the M4 take the Umhlanga Rocks Drive turn-off. Travel east then turn left into Lagoon Drive at the civic centre. Travel to the end of Lagoon Drive and the entrance to the reserve is just past Breakers Hotel. Park in their car park.
Directions: Take the North Coast road to Umhlanga, taking the Lighthouse Rd/Umhlanga Rocks off ramp. Go left along Umhlanga Rocks Drive. Turn right, just before the Sharks Board, into Herrwood Road. Carry on until the tar ends, then continue along the dirt road until you get to the ponds.
UMLALAZI NATURE RESERVE, MTUNZINI
Mtunzini has a lot of winter specials, including Mangrove Kingfisher, Chorister Robin-Chat and Spotted Ground Thrush. Don’t forget Palm-nut Vulture. Directions: N2 North Coast to Mtunzini Toll Plaza, for approximately 140 km, then follow the signs to Umlalazi NR. Be mindful of the toll fees and there is a nominal entrance fee to the reserve. Meet in the car park.
An optional trip to Ngoye Forest (4×4’s required) to see the Green Barbet and Yellow-streaked Bulbul. Winter specials could include Mangrove Kingfisher and the year round special is the Palm-nut Vulture. The campsites are relatively cheap. Make your own bookings directly with the reserve 035 3401836.
VERBARA ESTATE on the North Coast
The estate has a 25 ha indigenous forest on the south-west facing slope. The walk is fairly easy but it is not level. Birds include Crowned Eagle (with a nesting site), numerous raptors, hornbills, bushshrikes, sunbirds, etc. Plus bush buck, red and blue duiker, so tame they walk right up to you. There is an excellent picnic spot under a fig tree where hornbills feed. Directions: Travel on N2 north from Spaghetti Junction, after 50 km take exit 214, left to Shaka’s Kraal, Umhlali and Salt Rock. Travel 1 km straight through to Umhlali Village to traffic lights, then turn right to Shaka’s Kraal. After 4 km turn left on to the Glendale Road, then after 9.4 km on the right side is a turnoff to Vebara Estates. Turn right and proceed to the gate on the left, opposite the main farm house, where there is a cottage. Park in the grounds of the cottage.
VERNON CROOKES RESERVE
A favourite birding spot and the cisticolas will keep us busy with ID. The wild flowers are always a treat. Directions: Travel south on N2 from Durban for 60 km past Scottburgh, take the R612 Park Rynie/Umzinto turnoff, turn right over freeway and travel 12 km past Umzinto. Turn right at the signpost for Vernon Crookes onto good gravel road travel for 6 km to the reserve. Park at entrance and pay the entrance fee.
A lovely patch of coastal forest in Durban North. Good views of the secretive forest birds. Directions: Along Northway, Durban North, turn right at the circle into Swapo (Broadway) and second left into Adelaide Tambo (Kensington Drive). Continue until you see the reserve on your left. Note: The entrance is on a bend in the road.
VIRGINIA FARM & WINGFIELD NATURE RESERVE
Directions: Take the N3 from Durban and take the Camperdown off ramp. Go left at the bridge and follow the road until the T-junction. Go left towards Eston and Umbumbulu. At the Caltex Service Station keep going straight on the R603 for a further+- 15km. The single lane changes into a double lane going up a hill. Pass the Telkom and MTN tower on top of the hill. Go down the hill around two sharp bends and turn right onto a tar road called Ezimwini. Allow 65 minutes from Durban. GPS Co-ordinates at the eZimwini Turn Off from the R603 are: S 29 59’27.73″; E30 36’35.10″. Some parts of the reserve are unsuitable for low clearance vehicles. There is an entry fee. Details at: http://www.virginiafarm.co.za.
Access to Vumbuka is through the same gate where birders meet to visit Umbogavango. See directions to Umbogavango. Access is restricted and requires prior permission.
WESTVILLE METHODIST CHURCH – for Indoor Meeting
Located at Jan Hofmeyer Road in Westville. From the M13 coming from Kloof, take the Rodger Sishi Rd (old Blaire Atholl Rd) exit and turn left at the lights. Then turn right at the next lights onto Jan Hofmeyer Road. Proceed up the hill and the turnoff to the Methodist Church is on the right near the top of the hill.
This is a private estate requiring permission to enter. There is the choice of birding in the lodge grounds, or on the Bushbuck Trail in the dune forest, or Dhlokweni coastal lowland forest, or the irrigation ponds. There is a small day charge per person. Refreshments are available on site if you forget to take your own. As it is not possible to cover all the trails in one day you can overnight at the special discount rates offered to BirdLife SA members. The reservation’s e-mail address is email@example.com – website address http://www.caraville.co.za/zinkwazi (032 4853344). Directions: N2 north coast, take Zinkwazi turnoff and once in village bear left until you reach the resort entrance.