The Dlinza Forest is subtropical or Coastal Scarp Forest in Eshowe and is one of five natural forests lying in a 100 km line running northwest from the coast. They are the most important forests in southern Africa from the aspect of unique biodiversity. Dlinza Forest contains wonderful trees, rare birds, butterflies, chameleons, beetles, frogs, bushbabies and snails.
Suspended 10 metres above ground, a walkway runs for 127 metres through the indigenous forest canopy. It allows easy access to the lower, middle and upper stories of the forest, giving a a view into a world seldom seen. It’s a bird-watcher’s dream with 65 species of birds to be spotted along the way, including the rare spotted ground thrush and eastern bronze-naped pigeon. The boardwalk ends at an observation tower 20m high that emerges above the canopy with spectacular views. You can get an eye level view of the magnificent Crowned Eagle. This was the first canopy boardwalk in South Africa.
The name Dlinza is from the Zulu meaning a gravelike/ peaceful place of meditation. Occasional church services are held and every 3 years a nativity play, written by Selwyn Moberley in 1953, is staged in the forest.
Birds you may see of the 90 known possibilities, besides those mentioned, include the Narina Trogon, Spotted Ground Thrush, Green Twinspot, Purple Crested Lourie, Chorister Robin-chat, Olive Woodpecker, Trumpeter Hornbill and Delegorgue’s Pigeon.
Trees include the Forest Ironplum, Giant Umzibeet, Natal Milkplum, Wild Plum, Cabbage Tree, Myrtle Quince, Fluted Milkplum, Forest Knobwood, Flat Crown and Forest Mahogany.
There are 85 different butterfly species including the Citrus Swallowtail, Dusky Veined Acrae, Blue Spotted Charaxes, Mocker Swallowtail and the Emperor Swallowtail.
There are also lynx, blue duikers, bushbuck, bushpig, little bushbabies, porcupines and mongoose.
Two forest trails for running or walking pass forest giants supporting gnarled, twisted vines and a number of different, magnificent indigenous tree orchids that flower in breath-taking beauty. These trails are the Impunzi Trail (1/3 kilometres long), Unkonka Trail (1.8 kilometres) and Bishop’s Seat, which is in a lovely clearing in the heart of the forest. Early and late are the best times.
The Visitors Centre has refreshments, curios, educational displays, wheelchair-friendly ablutions, picnic sites and a bird hide. Birding guides are available.