Walk the Beach – Walk the Bush
Walk the Beach – Walk the Bush
The South Coast provides approximately 150km of pristine sandy beaches with seven world recognized Blue Flag beaches and makes this coastal strip a holiday paradise for families, couples and singles alike.
Sardines – A feast for the eyes!
During July 2018 the sardines arrived in abundance and many were netted which brings a large number of dolphins, whales, sharks and birds and were seen for 2 weeks on a daily basis. This allowed for great boating adventures and sight-seeing. The ‘Sardine Run’ is an annual event anytime from June through early August and something fishermen, local residents and holiday makers look forward to.
Whales can be seen until October/November and dolphins throughout the year. A feast for the eyes indeed.
Beaches, nature reserves, walking and hiking trails
We are blessed with amazing beaches and a significant number of nature reserves both small and large with trails of differing lengths, difficulty and estimated time to complete the trail.
Mpenjati Nature Reserve
A good example of a small trail is Mpenjati Nature reserve, 20km South of Ramsgate on the N2 freeway just before you cross the bridge over the river on the left-hand side is a bold sign and entrance gate to the north bank of the reserve.
Both North and South sides of the river and lagoon have ablution blocks, play areas for children including a jungle gym and swings, concrete tables and benches, plus braai facilities. Swimming in the lagoon is not allowed for obvious reasons.
If you fish, you are required to have a permit and fishing can be done from the embankments of the river on either side.
There is an abundance of bird life and Fish Eagles are often seen.
Please be sure to get there earlier in the day as it can become quite busy, mostly for braaing, relaxing and socializing.
There are two trails, one on each side of the bank.
The Yengele Trail is 1.8km long and takes about 1 hour.
The Ipithi Trail is about 1.2km long and takes 45 minutes to an hour. Animals you can expect on these trails include vervet monkey, bushbuck, blue, red and grey duiker, cape clawless otter, the spotted genet and the large grey mongoose, that doesn’t even include the amazing bird sightings.
Umtamvuna Nature Reserve
There are two entrances to the reserve – The Pont and Beacon Hill which is the main office.
All visitors must report to the respective entrances for day fees, advice on trails, recording of the trails you are taking, your estimated time of return and for safety reasons. The reserve has opening and closing times, so please take note of these and plan your walk or hike accordingly.
The Pont entrance to the reserve offer 4 different trails.
Kingfisher trail of 500m is a very easy circular trail through riverine forest.
Loerie trail of 2km is also a circular riverine forest walk and takes about 1 hour.
For your more experienced hikers, we suggest –
Fish Eagle trail of 8km taking approximately 4 hours. This is a strenuous circular route through the forest up to the grassland at 240m, along the krantz edge, and back through the forest and along the Mthamvuna river.
Mpunzi Trail of 10km taking approximately 4 to 5 hours. This is a long trail above the kranz edge, through the grassland, linking up the Fish Eagle and Nkonka trails from the Pont entrance to the office entrance (Beacon Hill).
Beacon Hill Entrance
Beacon Hill entrance offers a number of trails and also have picnic huts with braai facilities and ablutions at the office entrance.
There is an education centre located inside the main office area with excellent visuals on the walls covering mammals, birds, fauna and flora, grasslands, wild flowers and more. Worth the visit.
Mfeni trail 1km and is a circular and easy walk through lush grasslands.
Nkonka trail which is 8km long and takes approximately 6 hours to complete. This trail is a fairly strenuous circular route combining sections of the Ngungumbane and Mpunzi trails, along the Bulolo river to the confluence with the Mthanvuna river before a long climb up to the grasslands and back to the office.
Ngungumbane trail, 4km long and takes approximately 3 hours to complete. This trail is moderately strenuous through grassland and forest descending 240m to follow the Bulolo river then back up to the office.
Mziki trail, 12km long and takes approximately 8 hours to complete. Please note this is a very strenuous trail through grasslands down to the Bulolo river, up to the high forest and plateau at 400m and back to the office. The trail can take the whole day and suggested only if you are an experienced hiker.
Please be vigilant of the trail markings and stay on the trails.
Umthamvuna is a jewel on the lower South Coast – great for bird watchers and the most amazing waterfalls that flow into the scenic river.
You can expect great experiences with the fauna and flora, so much natural beauty in one place.
Oribi Gorge is like the Grand Canyon of KwaZulu-Natal, only greener with amazing hikes, sneaking swims at the base of the waterfalls, beautiful rock formations and more.
There are waterfalls on almost all the hiking trails that are not to be missed and to complete your hike, you will find an abundance of wild mushrooms, flowers, shrubs, trees and of course, all the critters that come with being on river banks and amongst the trees.
Picnic areas along the river bank completes this beautiful scenic area so make a day or two available to explore the beauty of the Oribi Gorge.
There are six trails at Oribi Gorge.
Baboon View is a short walk of 1km.
Hoepoe Falls is a 7km slightly strenuous hike through the gorge against the river.
Samango River is a 1.5km trail which ends at the Samango Falls that at the right timing, you can swim in the natural pool below it, on other days its got small trickles of water with an empty pool but makes for amazing photos.
The View trail is 9km long which takes you through the forest up to the office and base camp which has spectacular views over the gorge and grasslands.
Nkonka trail is 5km long and
Horseman’s Point is 4.5km long.
Due to the splendour of the forest areas, you can spot baboons, vervet and samango monkeys, various small buck and there is an abundance of bird life, fauna and flora with the most amazing sights to be seen.
A list of some essentials and items for use whether picnicking or hiking:
- A small backpack
- Folding chairs and table (for picnic)
- Bird book
- Mammal book
- A pocket-sized note book, pen/pencil
- Your route map (found at camp)
- Hat and sun screen
- Enough drinking water
- Some food
- Fully charged cell phone