Durban bird-watchers should flock to these wildlife hot spots

02 April 2016 - 02:00 By Cath Jenkin
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Durban may be a cosmopolitan city, but suburban greenery and coastal wetlands create some of the best birdwatching opportunities to enjoy

A Southern brown-throated weaver.
A Southern brown-throated weaver.
Image: Supplied

1) Virginia Bush Nature Reserve

Set within Virginia in Durban North, just a quick turn off the freeway takes you to Virginia Bush Nature Reserve. Teeming with birdlife, this coastal bushland is also home to duiker, genet and mongoose families. Grab your binoculars and keep your eyes peeled for a grey waxbill, Natal robin and a blue-billed finch, among others. Head towards the pond during your walk through the reserve and you’ll definitely spot some feathered friends.

Don’t forget to pack a water bottle and wear comfortable shoes to enjoy a leisurely stroll along the reserve’s 1,5km walking trail. Call 031-563-6777.


2) Umgeni River mouth

Drive towards Durban North along the coastline and, just before Riverside Hotel, you’ll spot the Umgeni River mouth. Pull over along Riverside Road and whip out your birdwatching binoculars, as pelicans, herons and nightjars enjoy the rich feeding ground created by the river mouth. Avid birdwatchers know to pop in just after a cold winter snap, as that’s when southern seabirds make their way up the coastline towards the mangroves. Of course, the Umgeni River Bird Park is located close to this region too. Call 031-579-4601.

3) iSimangaliso Wetland Park

Turn your birdwatching adventure into a weekend away, as you pack up the car and head north to the iSimangaliso Wetland Park. Listed as South Africa’s very first World Heritage Site, it is a rich and diverse region offering visitors a glimpse at more than five hundred species of birds. Also home to one of South Africa’s only pelican nesting sites, a trip to iSimangaliso is a must-do for even the most casual of birdwatchers. Call 035-590-1633.

4) Bluff Nature Reserve

Bluff Nature Reserve’s 45ha of wetland and forest create a comfortable home for a wide variety of waterbirds and more. Take a walk to one of the two bird hides located along the edge of the pan and enjoy spotting a spoonbill or two. Call 031-469-2807.


This article was originally published in one of the Sunday Times Neighbourhood: Property and Lifestyle guides. Visit, like YourNeighbourhoodZA on Facebook and follow YourHoodZA on Twitter.

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