A short walk to see a good mangrove forest in the Umlalazi Nature Reserve.
The Umlalazi Nature Reserve is administered by Ezemvelo KZN Wildlife. This 1028 ha reserve is one of the few coastal reserves encompassing a lagoon and a beach and its stand-out feature is that it contains 40 ha of some of the best preserved red, black and white mangroves, in large stands, in South Africa. Biologically, this is one of the richest estuaries in the country.
Take a pleasant fifteen minute walk along a wooden boardwalk through the mangrove forest.
Start at the parking area by the lagoon and wind your way past John Dunn’s Pool dug more than 100 years ago. The lagoon has some historic importance as the white Zulu chief, John Dunn would camp and meet with the local elders under a large Milkwood tree here. At a time when hippos and crocodiles were regularly found in the Mlalazi River, Dunn dug a pool on the banks of the river to provide safe bathing for his large family. He had 48 wives! There is good information on John Dunn at The Ngogyani Fort in Eshowe which is worth visiting to enrich your Zululand experience. He was quite a character!
Fiddler crabs and good bird life can be found including the Mangrove Kingfisher and amphibious mudskipper. The Fiddler Crabs dance around crazily during mating season. If you are very lucky you may see a mudskipper jumping to attract a mate. Mudskippers are interesting as they can swim, walk/crawl along the ground, climb trees and jump.
The trails are well marked. A second walk leads through the dune forest where bushpig, bushbuck and red, grey and blue duiker may occasionally be seen.
A third trail leads through dune forest and mangrove swamp along the edge of the river. Wildflowers and a great variety of bird life can be seen.
The reserve does have simple accommodation in the form of log cabins and there is a camping site with limited ablutions.
Canoes for use in the lagoon are available for hire.