The Harold Johnson Nature Reserve is a hidden gem located on the Dolphin Coast of KwaZulu Natal, South Africa. Situated north of Ballito and Zinkwazi, the reserve boasts breathtaking views of the Tugela River as it winds its way to the sea. The reserve, which is run by KwaZulu Natal Wildlife, covers 100 hectares and offers visitors a variety of activities to enjoy.
One of the highlights of the reserve is the picnic spots, which offer stunning views of the Tugela River and are equipped with concrete tables and benches, a rubbish bin, and braai area. Visitors can relax and take in the beauty of the reserve while enjoying a picnic with friends and family.
The reserve is also home to two national monuments: Fort Pearson and the Ultimatum Tree. Fort Pearson was built in 1878 on a bluff overlooking the Pont-crossing on the Tugela River and played a significant role in the Anglo-Zulu war of 1879. Visitors can also see war graves on site. The Ultimatum Tree is a historical landmark that was used as a meeting place between the British and the Zulus during the war.
The reserve offers two hiking trails for visitors to explore. The Muthi Walk is a 7-kilometre trail that gives an insight into the medicinal plants used by the Zulu people. A shorter 1-kilometer walk is also available for visitors who prefer a shorter hike.
The reserve is also home to a variety of wildlife, including zebra, bushbuck, shy duiker, eland, mongoose, porcupine, and vervet monkey. Bird enthusiasts will be thrilled to know that over 200 species of birds can be spotted in the reserve, and 114 species of butterfly are reportedly present.
Popular Activities and Tourist Destinations at Harold Johnson Nature Reserve
In addition to the hiking trails, picnic spots, and national monuments, the Harold Johnson Nature Reserve also offers a variety of other activities and attractions for visitors to enjoy.
One popular activity is game viewing. Visitors can take a guided game drive to see the diverse wildlife that call the reserve home, including zebra, bushbuck, eland, and more.
Another popular attraction is the Tugela River. The reserve is situated on the banks of the Tugela River and offers visitors the opportunity to fish, swim, or simply relax and take in the beauty of the river.
The Dolphin Coast of KwaZulu Natal is also home to several other tourist destinations that are worth visiting while in the area. One such destination is the Ballito Bay, which is a popular spot for swimming, sunbathing, and surfing.
Another popular destination is the Zinkwazi Beach, which is known for its beautiful beaches, fishing, and boating. Visitors can also take a boat trip to see the dolphins that frequent the area.
For history buffs, the Fort Pearson Museum is a must-see destination. The museum is located within the reserve and offers visitors an in-depth look at the history of the area and the Anglo-Zulu war.
For those looking for a bit of adventure, the Tugela River Gorge offers visitors the opportunity to go white-water rafting, kayaking, and abseiling. The gorge is located just a short drive from the reserve and offers breathtaking views of the Tugela River.
The Great Railroad Brewing Company
The Harold Johnson Nature Reserve is not only a nature lover’s paradise, but also a haven for beer enthusiasts. The Great Railroad Brewing Company, located in Shaka’s Head between Ballito and Umhlali in KwaZulu-Natal, is a must-visit destination for those who appreciate unique and innovative craft beers.
Ursula and Gary, the owners of the Great Railroad Brewing Company, left their corporate careers to pursue their passion for producing craft beers. They started the company in 2015 and have since seen enormous success and support for their delicious varieties. Each brew is created using the finest ingredients and time-honoured traditions to ensure the utmost in flavour and class.
The microbrewery is situated on the R102, making it easily accessible for visitors. The brewery offers tours and tastings for visitors and beer-lovers, which can be arranged by prior appointment. During the tour, visitors will learn about the process of making the perfect beer, from milling to packaging. Afterwards, visitors will have the opportunity to taste each type of beer and decide which three to take home. The Great Railroad Brewing Company produces six different beers, including the Iron Horse (a wheat beer called a Weiss), Locomotive Breath (a Czechoslovakian dark pilsner), Full Steam Ahead (a Bohemian pilsner), Derailed Irish Ale (an Irish red ale), the Flying Scotsman (an Oktoberfest lager) and Piston Broke (an American pale ale). On occasion, there are also special brews, such as the strawberry beer. Speciality beers can be produced on demand, if necessary. All of the beers are available in 440ml bottles and in five-litre party kegs for those who want to enjoy these delicious flavors with friends back home.
A brewery tour at The Great Railroad Brewing Company is a fantastic way to explore the KwaZulu-Natal Province and the immense talent it has to offer, in an intimate and tasty way. The brewery is less than an hour’s drive from Durban, its acclaimed beaches, and the King Shaka International Airport, making it the perfect stop for visitors looking for a unique and delicious experience.
Visitors can also combine their visit to the Harold Johnson Nature Reserve with a trip to The Great Railroad Brewing Company for a perfect day out. The brewery is located just a short drive from the reserve, and after a day of hiking, wildlife viewing and exploring the Tugela River, visitors can stop by the brewery for a refreshing beer and a tour.
In conclusion, The Great Railroad Brewing Company is a great destination for beer lovers and visitors looking for a unique and delicious experience. Visitors can explore the brewery and taste the delicious varieties of beers produced, while also enjoying the beautiful KwaZulu-Natal Province. It is a perfect stop for those visiting Harold Johnson Nature Reserve and looking for a different kind of adventure.
Holla Mountain Bike Trails
The Harold Johnson Nature Reserve is not only a great destination for nature lovers and beer enthusiasts, but also for mountain bikers. The Holla Mountain Bike Trails, located in the Ballito area of KwaZulu Natal, offers a spectacular setting for both novice and experienced mountain bikers.
Holla Trails consists of nearly 300 km of marked and signed trails, catering to all levels of skill. The tracks are varied and the scenery is breathtaking, making for an enjoyable and challenging ride. The venue also has facilities for visitors to shower or freshen up after their ride, before enjoying a well-earned lunch or drink on the terrace.
Please note that only permit holders are allowed access to the trails, but day permits are available for around R100. This is a great opportunity for visitors to explore the beautiful KwaZulu-Natal Province while getting a workout and enjoying the great outdoors.
Visitors can also combine their visit to the Harold Johnson Nature Reserve with a trip to the Holla Mountain Bike Trails for a perfect day out. The trails are located just a short drive from the reserve and offer visitors a different kind of adventure. After a day of hiking, wildlife viewing and exploring the Tugela River, visitors can grab their bikes and hit the trails for a challenging and exhilarating ride.
In conclusion, the Holla Mountain Bike Trails are a great destination for mountain bikers and visitors looking for a different kind of adventure. The trails offer a spectacular setting, varied tracks, and great facilities, making it the perfect stop for those visiting Harold Johnson Nature Reserve and looking for a different kind of adventure.
Pumpkin Theatre Club
The Harold Johnson Nature Reserve offers visitors not only a chance to explore the great outdoors, but also to experience the vibrant culture and entertainment of the Dolphin Coast. One of the must-see attractions in the area is the Pumpkin Theatre Club, located at the La Montagne Hotel in Ballito.
The Pumpkin Theatre Club offers excellent evening entertainment for visitors and residents alike. The shows vary, but visitors can expect to enjoy a night of great entertainment. In January, the club runs two shows on alternate nights, such as Latin Nights and Hot Summer Nights, providing visitors with a unique cultural experience. The line-up for the rest of the year is also expected to be exciting, so visitors are encouraged to keep an eye out for upcoming shows.
Visitors can also enjoy a delicious meal while watching the show, making it a perfect evening out. The Pumpkin Theatre Club is a great way to experience the local culture and entertainment while enjoying a night out. It is located just a short drive from Harold Johnson Nature Reserve and is a great addition to any itinerary for visitors looking for an exciting and entertaining experience.
In conclusion, the Pumpkin Theatre Club is a must-see attraction for visitors to the Dolphin Coast. It offers excellent evening entertainment, delicious meals and a chance to experience the local culture. Visitors can combine their visit to Harold Johnson Nature Reserve with a night out at the Pumpkin Theatre Club for a perfect and memorable holiday experience.
King Shaka Heritage Route
In addition to the natural beauty and wildlife of the Harold Johnson Nature Reserve, visitors can also explore the rich cultural history of the area by taking the King Shaka Heritage Route. This route celebrates the legacy of one of the most iconic Zulu chiefs, King Shaka Zulu, who is credited with unifying scattered clans into the powerful Zulu nation.
The Heritage Route takes visitors to some of the most significant historical sites associated with King Shaka. One of the must-see attractions on the route is High Rock, where King Shaka would sit and plan his military tactics. Another key site is Observation Rock, where King Shaka would watch the movements of his army training on the plains below.
Another highlight of the route is the Shakas Trees, located in the town of KwaDukuza. These trees are almost 200 years old and are steeped in historical significance. The Indaba Tree is where King Shaka held council, while the Assassination Tree is where he was reputedly killed in 1828.
Exploring the King Shaka Heritage Route offers visitors a chance to delve deeper into the cultural and historical significance of the Dolphin Coast and gain a deeper understanding of the area’s past. The route is a great way to complement a visit to Harold Johnson Nature Reserve and get a glimpse into the rich history of the Zulu nation.
Ndlondlo Reptile Park
Visitors to the Ndlondlo Reptile Park will have the opportunity to learn about these fascinating creatures in a hands-on and interactive way. The guided tours provide visitors with the chance to see the reptiles up close and learn about their habitats, behaviours, and conservation efforts. Visitors will also have the chance to handle and take photos with some of the reptiles, making for an unforgettable experience.
The Park is also a great destination for families and children, as it offers fun and educational experiences for the whole family. The children’s parties are tailored to provide an exciting and educational experience that children will love. The Tea Garden is a great spot for parents to relax and enjoy a cup of tea while their children explore the enclosures and learn about the different snakes.
Ndlondlo Reptile Park is located near Harold Johnson Nature Reserve, making it a great addition to any nature-themed itinerary. It is a perfect destination for those who are interested in reptiles, wildlife and conservation. This park is a must-visit spot for anyone visiting the Dolphin Coast of KwaZulu Natal, South Africa.
Impilo Beauty Spa
Located just a short drive from Harold Johnson Nature Reserve, the Impilo Beauty Spa offers visitors the perfect opportunity to relax and rejuvenate after a day of exploring the reserve. Offering a wide range of restorative facials and advanced skin therapies, as well as indulgent body treatments, the spa is the perfect place to unwind and treat yourself to some much-needed pampering.
The spa menu includes specialized full and half day treatments, as well as tailor-made packages for couples, corporates, and brides and grooms. They also offer postoperative recovery programs for cosmetic surgery patients in a peaceful and tranquil environment. Occupying an entire top floor, the spa has four fully equipped treatment rooms, including a garden room for two and a hydro. The spa also uses the full range of Clarins beauty products, ensuring the ultimate in pampering and stress-easing therapies.
Recently, the spa has incorporated a new range of products called Theravine. This is an organic range of treatments and products that offer amazing antioxidant properties at great value. Derived from grape seed extract and supported by cape fynbos based oils, Theravine has been
an instant success among regular clientele.
Whether you’re looking for a relaxing massage, a rejuvenating facial, or a full-day spa experience, the Impilo Beauty Spa has something for everyone. So, after a day of exploring the natural beauty of Harold Johnson Nature Reserve, head over to the spa and give yourself the ultimate pampering experience.
Ballito Lifestyle Centre
The Ballito Lifestyle Centre is a must-visit destination for anyone looking to experience the best of Ballito’s shopping and dining options. The Centre is home to a diverse range of boutiques, surf stores, and restaurants, making it the perfect spot for a day of shopping and relaxation. Visitors will enjoy the convenience of unlimited, free parking in 450 open and 350 covered bay parkings, all of which are monitored 24 hours a day by security guards for added safety. The Centre is also wheelchair-friendly, with 11 specially marked parking bays reserved for disabled shoppers and easy accessibility throughout the Centre.
In addition to the shopping and dining options, the Ballito Lifestyle Centre also offers a wide range of services including ATM’s, a post office, a postnet, Computicket, Rennies Foreign Exchange, cellular service providers, Telkom, pharmacies, an optometrist, a SAA Travel Centre, a Yale Security Shop, Whysalls for photographic needs, and PC Zone for computer needs. Whether you’re looking for a quick coffee or a delicious meal, the Centre’s assortment of coffee shops and restaurants will provide you with a wide variety of choices to suit any taste and budget. Whether you’re a local resident or a tourist, the Ballito Lifestyle Centre is a must-visit destination that offers something for everyone.
The Imbizo Gallery, located in Ballito, is a must-visit destination for art enthusiasts. Founded and coordinated by Kizo, the gallery is known for hosting The Heritage Arts Festival, the premier arts festival in KwaZulu Natal. This festival provides a platform for several hundred artists, crafters, musicians and performers to showcase their work and gain exposure. The festival has the endorsement of The eThekwini Municipality, The Department of Arts Culture and Tourism, South African Tourism, TKZN, The Independent Newspapers and The Gateway Theatre of Shopping.
In the last two and a half years, Kizo has organized over 20 exhibitions at the top décor shows throughout South Africa, hosted 18 exhibitions at Kizo Ballito and organized exhibitions in Switzerland, India and The United Kingdom amongst others. The gallery’s program for 2008 consists of several extremely high profile non-commercial exhibitions which include: In Honour of Rorkes Drift 1960’s to 1970’s, Wilma Cruise and Dinkies Sithole amongst others. The gallery consistently attracts between 350 and 500 people to its popular exhibition openings. Visitors can expect to see a wide variety of artworks from different artists and genres, making Imbizo Gallery a must-visit destination for art lovers looking for a cultural experience.
The Harold Johnson Nature Reserve is a hidden gem located on the Dolphin Coast of KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa. This small reserve offers visitors a chance to explore the natural beauty of the area, with walking trails, picnic sites, and a variety of wildlife. Visitors can also learn about the history of the area at the Fort Pearson and Ultimatum Tree, which are national monuments within the reserve.
One of the main attractions of the Harold Johnson Nature Reserve is its picnic spots. These areas offer beautiful views of the Tugela River, as well as shaded areas with concrete tables and benches, a rubbish bin, and a braai area. The reserve is also home to a large variety of bird life, making it a great destination for bird watchers.
If you’re looking for a little pampering, the Impilo Beauty Spa is a must-visit. This spa offers a wide range of restorative facials and advanced skin therapies, as well as indulgent treatments like rose petal-filled jacuzzis, invigorating body scrubs, and outdoor body massages. The spa also offers specialized full and half day treatments, detox programs, and tailor-made packages for couples and corporate groups.
While in Ballito, be sure to visit the Ballito Lifestyle Centre. This shopping destination offers a wide range of boutiques, surf stores, and restaurants, as well as services like ATM’s, post offices, and foreign exchange.
The Harold Johnson Nature Reserve is a great destination for nature lovers and adventure seekers. With its diverse activities, attractions, and nearby tourist destinations, there is something for everyone to enjoy. Visitors can explore the reserve, relax on the Tugela River, or take a short drive to experience the beauty of the Dolphin Coast of KwaZulu Natal.