Silverglen Nature Reserve, located just thirty minutes from Durban, is a hidden gem in the heart of Chatsworth. The 220 hectare reserve sits on the northern bank of the Umlazi River and is home to a diverse array of flora and fauna, including 150 bird species and 120 tree species.
The reserve’s history is closely tied to the Umlaas River, which was once the main source of water for Durban. In the late 1800s, engineers began exploring the Umlaas River as a supplementary water source due to a rush of refugees from the Boer War and a couple of years of drought. The dam was then popular for picnics and people used to make their way there from Durban on horseback or cart.
Despite its rich natural heritage, the reserve has been closed to the public for many years and is only recently re-opening its gates. The picnic site, for example, is still only open by arrangement for safety reasons, and hikes are not safe unless guided. Contact the reserve for guided tours. The Silverglen Trail starts at the picnic site.
The reserve’s star attraction is the Umlaas Nursery, South Africa’s first and largest medicinal plant nursery. The nursery produces thousands of specimens of 350 species of indigenous plants commonly used for traditional medicine, and holds weekly propagation courses and interesting talks in its education centre. The nursery, which is a good place to spot the green malkoha, violet-backed starling and lesser honeyguide, makes its rare trees and plants available to collectors and other nurseries.
Popular activities and tourist destinations in the area
Silverglen Nature Reserve offers a variety of activities and attractions for visitors to enjoy.
In addition to the reserve’s rich natural heritage, visitors can also explore the nearby Chatsworth Centre, which is renowned for its truly rich Indian Eastern Experience. The Centre boasts a total of 150 stores ranging from jewellery to furniture, authentic food stores, banking malls, exquisite Eastern wear and trendy Western wear, making it a perfect destination for cultural shopping experience.
The Chatsworth Centre is situated on a hilly terrain approximately 15 km from the centre of Durban, and is bordered by the Umlaas River in the South and the Umhlatuzana River in the North. Visitors can easily access the Centre via the Higginson Highway, which is within walking distance of the major bus routes and railway station. A mini-bus service also operates from the Centre’s premises to shoppers.
Silverglen Nature Reserve offers a unique blend of nature and culture. Visitors can explore the reserve’s diverse array of flora and fauna and then head over to the Chatsworth Centre for a truly rich Indian Eastern Experience. The Centre’s 150 stores and cultural shopping experience make it the perfect destination for visitors looking for a little something extra during their trip to Durban.
uShaka Marine World
Silverglen Nature Reserve offers a variety of activities and attractions for visitors to enjoy, and one of the must-see destinations in Durban is uShaka Marine World. It is a world-class entertainment and tourism destination, located at the end of Durban’s Golden Mile. Spanning over 15 hectares of prime beach front, uShaka Marine World is Africa’s largest Marine Theme park.
uShaka Marine World incorporates fresh and sea water, lush vegetation, natural materials, and the re-creation of a wreck of a 1940’s cargo ship. With the 5th largest aquarium in the world by volume of water, the park is tastefully themed with a focus on family entertainment. Visitors can enjoy fun at Sea World, have a memorable meal at any one of the many restaurants, go shopping in over 11,250m² of retail space, and experience the salt water aquarium with indoor and outdoor displays and exhibits, a 1200 seater dolphin stadium, seal stadium and penguin rookery. In addition, Sea World offers edutainment tours behind the scenes and special interactive activities such as snorkeling through reefs and grottos and scuba dives.
Durban is famous for its beaches, and that’s exactly what visitors will find at uShaka Marine World. Bell’s Beach, adjacent to uShaka Marine World, has been set aside for adventure seekers and offers perfect all-year non-stop fun. Activities include windsurfing, beach volleyball, and beach rugby, surfing, jet skiing, kite surfing, paddle boat rides, dolphin viewing charters, and national and international beach sports events.
Wet ‘n Wild World is another fresh water entertainment wonderland, which offers exhilarating fun and safe entertainment for the whole family. It features separate swimming pools for kids and adults, relaxing river rides, and high-speed chutes for adrenaline junkies. The mini-super tube, play area with water cannons and water mushrooms will keep kids busy for hours and ensure visitors’ visit to Wet ‘n Wild World is fun-filled. The tunnel ride, a roller-coaster enclosed ride, is not for the claustrophobic, but it is a thrilling experience that visitors will want to come back for more.
uShaka Marine World offers a wide range of activities and attractions that visitors can enjoy, from marine life and adventure sports to dining and shopping. With its focus on family entertainment, visitors of all ages will find something to enjoy at this world-class destination in Durban. And is a perfect complement to the nature oriented Silverglen Nature Reserve.
Umgeni River Bird Park
Silverglen Nature Reserve offers a variety of activities and attractions for visitors to enjoy, and one of the must-see destinations in Durban is the Umgeni River Bird Park. It is designed and built in an old quarry site on the banks of the Umgeni River, just 10 minutes outside Durban.
The park is situated in 3.5 hectares of lush tropical landscaping and houses an ever-increasing collection of more than 800 birds from 200 species. Some species are the only representatives of their kind in Africa whilst others are commonly kept as pets. Walk-through aviaries, birds out on perches, wonderful green vegetation, some amazing waterfalls and rock faces all combine to make this a very special place to visit.
The Umgeni River Bird Park’s main feature is a free-flight show that has as its focus a conservation theme to inspire visitors, as birds glide past them in full and unrestricted flight. To appreciate the beauty of the natural world around them. Macaws, a Cape Vulture, the critically endangered wattled crane and others take part in the first show of its kind in Africa. This show is scheduled at certain times during the day and is really worth seeing. Conservation is high on the park’s list of priorities. They breed 17 of the 23 endangered bird species that are kept in the park, and young chicks are fed hourly around the clock, avidly watched from a viewing window by visitors.
The Umgeni River Bird Park is a great complement to the nature oriented Silverglen Nature Reserve. Together, these two destinations offer visitors the opportunity to explore the natural world in and around Durban, and to learn more about the conservation efforts being made to protect and preserve the region’s wildlife. Visitors can enjoy the beauty of the natural world while also learning more about the importance of conservation and the protection of endangered species.
Silverglen Nature Reserve is a must-visit destination for nature lovers and outdoor enthusiasts. With its rich natural heritage, diverse array of flora and fauna, and the Umlaas Nursery, the reserve offers something for everyone. But remember to contact the reserve for guided tours before visiting.