Kenneth Stainbank’s father, a Scot, built Coedmore Castle in 1875 with the help of Scottish stonemasons. Set in 600 acres/253 hectares, it was an attempt to create a little bit of Europe and the grounds were filled with African wildlife. This bequest of land is a very beautiful spot to visit !
The coastal forest and grasslands have buck: blue, red and grey duiker, bushbuck, reedbuck, possibly nyala and impala. There are zebra, vervet monkeys, and you may see slender, Egyptian and banded mongoose, rock hyrax, bushbaby, water monitors and genet. There is an interesting variety of indigenous flora and over 200 species of birds have been recorded. Near the dam are large weaver nesting sites. South Africa’s national tree, the yellowwood can be found in forests here.
It is appropriate that this site talks of the reserve. Steinbank married a Pietermaritzburg woman and their daughter, Mary was a sculptor. Her work is on display in the castle. Tours of the castle and the surrounding gardens must be pre-booked. A restored cow shed has now been turned into The Mary Steinbank Memorial Gallery for her work which is seen as the start of modern sculpture in South Africa. It houses “the biggest, intact body of work by any one sculptor in the country.”
There are lovely picnic areas in the park. 13 kilometers of well marked, graded hiking trails make it very easy to find your way around. This is also a great area for cycling. A moderately challenging 10 kilometre mountain bike trail gives a good ride without exhausting you.
A carefully designed trail for the handicapped leads into the forest from the car park, and although the variety of birds along this trail is not as good as deeper in forest, you still may spot grey cuckoo shrike, tambourine dove, the spotted ground thrush and the white-eared barbet.
In the dam and forest areas are the red-chested flufftail, the exquisite narina trogon, lemon dove, olive woodpecker and the yellow-bellied greenbul, amongst others. Over the grasslands look for the black sparrowhawk, African goshawk and green malkoha.
The reserve is managed by Ezemvelo KZN Wildlife. Night drives can be arranged.
An entrance fee is charged at the entrance gate, where visitors can obtain maps, plant and animal lists from the Field Ranger: John Dives (Contact Person)
083 419 6428 (Mobile)