Umlalazi Nature Reserve Holiday Diary

Umlalazi Holiday Diary

Umlalazi Nature reserve is situated in the Siyaya Coastal Park, near Mtunzini on the KZN North Coast. This well-loved family destination with the beach, a Lagoon and coastal forest makes for a fun-filled outdoor holiday!

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Visitors have easy access to the beach or lagoon from the Log cabins and campsites.

The 4 bed Log Cabins are simply furnished and set in the coastal bush. Cost per extra adult per night (to 31 October 2015): R340/ per child R170.

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Campsites are shady and spacious, with communal ablutions, tapped water and braai stands. Cost of Campsites (to 31 October 2015): R 270 for 3 people; R 90 per extra adult / R 45 per extra child.

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Canoeists enjoy the open water of the Lagoon, paddling past the Mangrove Swamp, while others water-ski, or swim in the shallows. Canoe Hire for three hours: refundable R100. Adults and children pay R 85 per person.

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Water-skiing is allowed between sunrise and sunset and is controlled by the National small vessels Safety Regulations and the Conservation Ordinance Reserve and Resort Regulations.

At low tide, a small sandbank near the lagoon’s edge makes a perfect pool for young children to play, swim and “boogy” board! Parents set up their rods and fish for the favourite catch of the day – salmon! Braai fires are lit in anticipation of a “fish lunch”.

Three trails have been laid out in the reserve:

Three trails have been laid out in the reserve. There is an easy walk through one of the best examples of mangrove swamp forest in South Africa, where several different species of mangrove can be seen. The second trail leads though coastal dune forest where bush pig, bushbuck and red, grey and blue duiker may be seen. A third trail leads through coastal dune forest and mangrove swamp forest along the edge of the Umlalazi River. Wildflowers and a great variety of bird life can be seen. A trail map and a complete bird list is available from the office.

The Mangrove Trail lies opposite the Lagoon and starts at the boardwalk, entering a muddy but fascinating swamp, which is home to scuttling Mangrove crab, mudskippers, whelks clinging to the mangrove trees. This short educational walk through an excellent example of mangrove swamps is a must for nature lovers and those that intend on seeing one of the many dwindling ecosystems on the KwaZulu-Natal coast. The many different species of fauna and flora in this complex ecosystem provide the visitor with a unique example of interactions in nature.

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Armadillo Centipedes are very hard to see and are not common in the coastal forests, but you may spot one as you walk along the pathway to the old-style, crystal blue swimming pool.

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THE SIYAYI DUNE FOREST TRAIL

This short walk winds its way through one of the best examples of coastal dune forest on the KwaZulu-Natal coast. It is approximately 2, 5 km long, and is best attempted in the early morning, or late evening as the humidity can rise to uncomfortable levels during the day. If you do decide to walk in the evenings be aware of the possible presence of bush pig.

The walk is named after the Siyaya River which you cross just before you reach beach. Be sure to look out for the small forest-dwelling antelope, which are seen regularly along this trail.

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THE RIVER MOUTH / BEACH TRAIL

This walk covers 8 km of diverse habitats ranging from coastal dune forest to estuarine, to beach habitat. As you walk along this trail you will notice how the vegetation changes from thick coastal dune forest to the more sparsely vegetated dunes closer to the sea. You also notice how the topsoil changes from the dark nutrient rich soil in the forest to the sandy nutrient poor soil on the dunes closer to the sea.

When you reach the river mouth you can either return the way you came or you walk back along the beach.

Red Forest Duiker feed on the large fibrous fruit of the Powder-Puff tree that grows in the coastal forest surrounding the Log Cabins and camping areas.

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Before leaving the reserve, stop at the Market stall where they sell ethnic pots and other goods!

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