TC Robertson Nature Reserve: A Hidden Gem in KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa
Located just on the edge of Scottburgh and only a scenic 40-minute drive from Durban, TC Robertson Nature Reserve is a hidden gem that offers a unique blend of breathtaking natural beauty and abundant wildlife. Named after Dr TC Robertson, a leader in conservation in South Africa who spent his last years in the town, this 60-hectare nature reserve was established by a small group of Scottburgh residents in 1989. Today, it is a green oasis, a popular picnic spot, and a nature lover’s paradise.
The reserve boasts 12 kilometres of established self-guided trails that take visitors through a variety of landscapes, including forest, coastal grasslands, wetlands, river and estuary systems, palmveld, and thornveld. In spring, the reserve is full of wildflowers, and visitors can enjoy stunning views of the forest and the floodplain of the Mapambanyoni River. The name Mapambanyoni means “where birds gather,” and it is a fitting name for this reserve, which is home to 180 species of birds, including African fish eagles, blacksmith lapwings, village and yellow weavers, wood sandpipers, little rush warblers, chorister robin-chats, African goshawks, and black sparrowhawks.
In addition to birds, the reserve is also home to a variety of other wildlife, including blue and grey duiker, buck, butterflies, mongoose, and monkeys. The reserve’s coastal trail is popular with those interested in coastal trees, and the area is also a favourite picnic spot, only 10 minutes’ walk from the beach.
Visitors to TC Robertson Nature Reserve can enjoy the reserve’s beauty and wildlife without any entrance fees. The reserve is located off the Old Main South Coast Road, just north of the Mapambanyoni River bridge. Visitors can make a day of it by combining their visit to the reserve with a trip to Scottburgh beach or a dive at Aliwal Shoal, which is rated one of the top ten dive sites in the world.
Scottburgh Beach is a top destination for tourists visiting TC Robertson Nature Reserve. The beach offers a wide range of activities for people of all ages, making it an ideal location for families. The safe and well-guarded swimming area is perfect for a dip in the sea, while the soft sands provide an ideal spot to soak up the sun or go for a leisurely walk. The popular super tube and put-put facilities offer excitement for thrill-seekers, while the nearby lagoon is perfect for splashing around or canoeing.
For those looking for more of an adrenaline rush, Scottburgh Beach is a great surf spot for beginners, with boards available for hire. If surfing is not your thing, you can still enjoy the waves by grabbing a body board. Visitors can also enjoy abseiling and orbing during certain times of the year.
When you’re not in the water, there are plenty of restaurants, takeaways, and bars available to grab a bite to eat or a refreshing drink. For surf enthusiasts, the beach is also home to several surf shops, where you can find gear for your next surf session or purchase new beachwear. The curio shops near Scottburgh Beach are also worth checking out, offering a variety of interesting items and trinkets.
In short, Scottburgh Beach is a complete family-friendly destination that offers something for everyone. Whether you’re a surfer or simply looking to soak up the sun and enjoy the beach life, this is the place to be.
Green Point Lighthouse
In addition to the rich biodiversity found within TC Robertson Nature Reserve, the nearby Green Point Lighthouse in Clansthal is another must-visit tourist destination. This historic lighthouse, built in 1905 and listed as a provincial heritage site, has a unique cast-iron structure painted in red and white stripes. It is one of three lighthouses that help ships avoid the Aliwal Shoal, a popular dive site known for its incredible variety of hard and soft corals and tropical fish. While the lighthouse is fully automated, visitors can appreciate its significance in maritime history and the important role it continues to play in guiding ships along the coast.
Aside from visiting the lighthouse, the Aliwal Shoal is a popular destination for snorkeling, diving, and other water sports. With a radio beacon installed at the Ifafa Beach lighthouse, the area is considered safe for these activities and offers a chance to experience the stunning underwater world of the Shoal. So, whether you prefer exploring the rich flora and fauna of the TC Robertson Nature Reserve or taking in the maritime history at Green Point Lighthouse, Clansthal has something for everyone to enjoy.
Elysium Beach is a paradise for beach lovers, offering warm blue waters and pristine white sands. Located on the Umdoni Coast of KwaZulu Natal, the beach is known for its stunning sunsets and tranquil atmosphere. Visitors can enjoy a range of activities at Elysium Beach, including walking, jogging, sunbathing, building sandcastles, playing beach games, and more. The beach remains relatively quiet and is a peaceful escape from the hustle and bustle of city life, making it an ideal destination for families.
In addition to sunbathing and beach activities, Elysium Beach is also popular for swimming, surfing, snorkeling, and SCUBA diving, thanks to its rich marine life. The whole of the Umdoni Coast is renowned for its exceptional SCUBA diving sites, attracting divers from all over the world. Fishermen also enjoy the beach for its abundance of Garrick, shad, and kob, making it an ideal spot for fishing.
Elysium Beach is located between Mtwalume and Ifafa Beach, just under 100 km from Durban and its international airport. With its breathtaking sunsets, tranquil surroundings, and array of activities, Elysium Beach is an ideal destination for beach lovers and those seeking a peaceful escape from city life.
Cageless Swimming With Sharks
TC Robertson Nature Reserve is not just about scenic hikes and wildlife viewing. For thrill-seekers and marine enthusiasts, the opportunity to swim with sharks in their natural habitat is a must-try experience. Blue Wilderness, a well-known ecotourism company based in Durban, KwaZulu-Natal, offers visitors customized marine expeditions to the eastern coastline, allowing them to interact with a variety of shark and marine predator species.
By exposing visitors to the wonders of the ocean, Blue Wilderness aims to increase awareness and change perceptions about these magnificent creatures. With no prior SCUBA qualifications required, even those as young as 8 years old can take part in this unforgettable adventure. The 2.5-hour swim allows for sightings of different shark species, including blacktip sharks, tiger sharks, dusky sharks, and ragged tooth sharks, as well as dolphins and whales (in the second half of the year). For those who prefer a more secure experience, cage diving is also available.
Not only will you be able to witness these magnificent creatures up close, but also contribute to the preservation of these threatened species. Blue Wilderness is committed to educating and raising awareness through their expeditions, and hopes that visitors will become more dedicated to their conservation.
TC Robertson Nature Reserve is a must-visit destination for anyone interested in nature and wildlife. Whether you are a seasoned hiker, birdwatcher, or simply looking for a peaceful escape from the hustle and bustle of city life, this reserve offers something for everyone. So, pack a picnic and make your way to TC Robertson Nature Reserve today!