The Umhlanga Lagoon Nature is a 26 hectares reserve on the shore of the Indian Ocean right on the edge of Umhlanga Rocks. It became a nature reserve in 1980. The reserve encloses the Ohlanga River’s lagoon and mouth. This is one of our hidden activity gems. It is a small slice of wilderness that includes a wetland, coastal and dune forest, as well as serving as a haven for birds, animals and plants. The walk is lovely with some shade, beautiful views and unspoilt beach at the end. It is just 2 kms long and takes up to an hour and a half bit over an hour. It is a comfortable walk and good for families with children.
The walk starts opposite Breakers Hotel, Lagoon Drive. There is a picnic area and then the walk heads down a wooden boardwalk before cutting into a wonderful section of coastal forest. Many trees are labelled, which makes the walk more interesting and there is a 500 year old white stinkwood tree. Trees include coastal red milkwood, thorny elms and buffalo thorns. You are near the beach but we advise shoes! If you are quiet, you can come across bushbuck, vervet monkeys or duiker, the smallest buck (antelope) in South Africa. The bird song early and in the later afternoon is wonderful. 300 odd bird species have been recorded here.
A second section of boardwalk takes you into the dune forest and the dunes lead to a stunningly beautiful vista of the beach and pure heaven for children.
The beach is unspoiled and away from the madding crowd at the more popular beaches closer to the lighthouse. Bordered by lagoon, dunes and sea, this is a very special place and it feels a bit as if you are the first people to discover it. The remains of a Stone Age seashell midden can also be found near the lagoon.
You can then return the same way, or saunter further North up the beach before returning or head South towards towards the Breakers Hotel, and leave the beach through their gates. Turn right onto the path that heads back into the forest reaching the first boardwalk of the nature reserve.
for those who want a longer walk, you can continue from Breakers Hotel to the Umhlanga Lighthouse.
If you feel that you would like a guide, pop into Breakers Hotel and they will assist. It costs R30 per person. The walk is however, easy to navigate on your own.
Practical Bits: There are no toilets but there is a free car park which is open from 08.00 to 18.00. No dogs are allowed.
Umhlanga Lagoon Nature Reserve
(2 of the beautiful photos are from an article in The Daily News by Clinton Moodley and Ukuhlola)