The Springside Nature Reserve conserves just 20 ha of scarp and swamp forest, grasslands and a series of wetlands as a stream runs gently and sometimes, sluggishly, through it. It is right in the middle of suburban Hillcrest.
The reserve is home to a variety of little mammals, indigenous flowers and due to the bio zones that are protected, there is good bird life. The forested areas provide shelter, nesting sites and food for many bird species; the grassland nurtures a multitude of indigenous wildflowers; and the natural wetland, among the few remaining in KZN, filters the stream, conserves water in droughts and reduces flood damage, whilst sustaining a vital wildlife habitat.
The reserve has one of the last remaining relatively unspoilt areas of Sandstone Sourveld Grassland in Hillcrest. It is classified as endangered vegetation. There are 246 wild flower species, 173 bird species, 75 tree species, 11 mammal species and 10 reptile species.
The conservancy takes guided walks once a month which anyone can join. Visiting on your own, you can follow the Umdoni or the Protea Trails.