Umbogavango Nature Reserve, located in Amanzimtoti, KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa, is a hidden gem that is truly a paradise for bird enthusiasts. This 36-hectare reserve is surrounded by the lush forest, offering a peaceful and serene escape from the hustle and bustle of the city. The thick overhead canopy, the tangled creepers, and the slatted bamboo bridge near the bird hide create an enchanting and magical atmosphere, making Umbogavango a haven for birds.
The reserve was once part of the stormwater trap dams that served the AECI industrial plant at Umbogintwini, but it has been transformed into a conservation area for all to enjoy. The reserve is one of three transformed from waste disposal dams into conservation areas within the Umbogintwini Industrial Complex, along with the Vumbuka and Mamba Valley reserves.
What makes Umbogavango even more special is the fact that the old dams are now high in nutrients, attracting a vast number of waterfowl, especially during the summer months. This has led to a long list of bird species being spotted in the area, including the Natal spurfowl, brown-hooded kingfisher, violet-backed starling, tambourine dove, Klaas’s cuckoo, African firefinch, and spur-winged goose. The Cape teal, in particular, is a rare sight in Durban and can only be found in this reserve.
Popular activities and tourist destinations at Umbogavango Nature Reserve
In addition to bird watching, there are several popular activities and tourist destinations in and near Umbogavango Nature Reserve that visitors can enjoy.
The reserve offers several trails for nature lovers to explore, including the Umngeni River Trail, which provides stunning views of the river and its surroundings.
Fishing enthusiasts can try their hand at fishing in the nearby Umngeni River, known for its abundance of fish species, including catfish, tilapia, and yellowfish.
Located just a short drive from the reserve, Durban is a bustling city with a rich history and cultural heritage. Visitors can explore the city’s stunning beaches, historical landmarks, and vibrant markets, among other attractions.
iSimangaliso Wetland Park
This UNESCO World Heritage Site is located just a short drive from Umbogavango and is home to a wide range of wildlife, including elephants, rhinos, and over 550 species of birds.
uShaka Marine World
This world-renowned aquarium is located in Durban and offers visitors the opportunity to experience the beauty of the ocean and its inhabitants.
Gateway Theatre of Shopping
This is a popular shopping mall located in Umhlanga, just a short drive from Umbogavango. Visitors can enjoy a variety of shopping, dining, and entertainment options.
Amanzimtoti Bird Sanctuary
The Amanzimtoti Bird Sanctuary, located just a short distance from Umbogavango Nature Reserve, is a must-visit destination for bird lovers. The sanctuary offers visitors a breathtaking view of shimmering waters surrounded by rolling lawns and lush forests.
The 30-minute self-guided trail through the forest is a birdwatcher’s paradise, offering visitors the opportunity to spot over 150 different bird species, including the resident Spurwing Geese, White Faced Duck, Greenback Heron, Giant Kingfisher, and Hamerkop.
Visitors can also stroll through the gardens and marvel at the variety of plants and flowers, as well as the abundant birdlife that calls this area home. Whether you’re a seasoned birder or a nature enthusiast, the Amanzimtoti Bird Sanctuary is a must-see destination in and around Umbogavango Nature Reserve.
Umbogavango Nature Reserve offers visitors a peaceful and serene escape from the city, surrounded by stunning natural beauty and abundant wildlife. With a wide range of activities and tourist destinations to choose from, there’s something for everyone in and around Umbogavango.
The Umbogavango Nature Reserve is not just a nature reserve, it’s a place that has been preserved and protected, offering a glimpse into the beauty of South Africa’s flora and fauna. It’s a place where you can escape from the modern world and immerse yourself in the peaceful surroundings, and where you can discover the magic of nature and the secrets it holds. So, if you’re looking for a peaceful and serene escape, look no further than Umbogavango Nature Reserve.