Umlalazi Nature Reserve is a must-see destination for nature enthusiasts and families looking for a breakaway. Located in the greater Siyaya Coastal Park, this reserve protects 42 km of coastline, from the mouth of the Mlalazi River in the north to the southern borders of the Amatikulu Nature Reserve in the south.
One of the main attractions of Umlalazi is the protected group of Palmnut vultures, which can be seen nesting near the top of the raphia palms. Although the raphia palm forest is outside the reserve, the boardwalk through the swamp forest that leads into the colony of palms is an incredible experience and worth making a detour for.
The reserve also boasts one of the best examples of mangrove forest in the country, which can be explored on a short trail that begins at the parking area at the lagoon, past John Dunn’s Pool. Visitors should time their visit during the mating season of the fiddler crabs to see many of them, as well as mudskippers and the mangrove kingfisher in winter.
Aside from the mangrove forest, Umlalazi offers a variety of other activities for nature lovers. The Siyaya Coastal Dune Forest Trail and the Mlalazi River mouth trail offer hikers the opportunity to spot bushpig, bushbuck, red, grey and blue duiker, and a variety of birds. There are also beaches, lagoons, dune forests and grasslands to explore, as well as self-catering chalets and campsites, picnic sites, and a series of trails.
Siyaya Coastal Park
Siyaya Coastal Park is a vast and diverse protected area located in KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa. The park covers an area of over 1,200 square kilometers and includes several different ecosystems such as beaches, dune forests, wetlands, and grasslands. The park is home to a wide variety of wildlife including reptiles, mammals, and birds. The park is also home to many marine life species and various marine ecosystems such as rocky shores, coral reefs and estuaries.
Visitors can explore the park through various trails, or take a guided tour to learn more about the park’s unique ecosystems and wildlife. Some of the main attractions in the park include the Umlalazi Nature Reserve, which is known for its protected group of Palmnut vultures, the Mlalazi River mouth trail, which offers the opportunity to spot bushpig, bushbuck, red, grey and blue duiker, and a variety of birds and the Siyaya Coastal Dune Forest Trail, which takes visitors through a unique dune forest ecosystem. The park also offers a range of recreational activities such as hiking, bird watching, fishing, and swimming.
Siyaya Coastal Park is a great destination for nature lovers and outdoor enthusiasts looking to experience the natural beauty of South Africa. The park’s diverse ecosystems and wildlife offer something for everyone to enjoy, whether you’re interested in bird watching, wildlife spotting, or simply exploring the natural beauty of the area. The park also offers a range of accommodation options, including self-catering chalets and campsites, to suit all budgets and preferences.
Overall, Umlalazi Nature Reserve is a perfect destination for those looking to escape the hustle and bustle of everyday life and experience the beauty of nature.