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- Written by JayWay
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- This beautiful coastal reserve is conveniently nestled in the dunes and thick coastal forest was established as a protected area in 1948 and is 1 028 hectares in extent.
- Umlalazi Nature Reserve has the rare distinction of offering two unique and unusual attractions: it is home to the Palmnut Vulture, which is one of the rarest birds of prey in South Africa and also home to the fascinating Raffia Palm Monument.
- The raffia palm is the largest palm in the world.
- The estuary provides an ideal nursery ground for juvenile fish and you can often see shoals of young mullet swimming on the surface.
- Water-skiing, boating and canoeing can be enjoyed on the Umlalazi River and the surf and lagoon fishing is also excellent. Vast stretches of un-crowded beaches are outstanding for swimming, surfing, windsurfing and angling as well as for long beach walks.
- Recreational facilities include trampolines, a swimming pool, a tennis wall, swings and other playground equipment.
- Three trails have been laid out in the reserve.
- There is an easy walk through one of the best examples of mangrove swamps in South Africa, where several species of mangrove can be found.
- A second walk leads through the dune forest where bush pig, bushbuck and red, grey and blue duiker may occasionally be seen.
- A third trail leads through dune forest and mangrove swamp along the edge of the river.
- Umlalazi is superb wildflowers and for birding, with a great variety of bird life to be seen.
- Visitors may also come across colonies of fiddler crabs and fascinating mud-skippers.
WHAT TO DO ON ARRIVAL
- All visitors who have reserved accommodation are requested to check in at the reception office by 16:00 on the day of arrival.
- Late arrivals can complete the register at the entrance gate and check in at the reception office the following morning.
- Food supplies, beach equipment, medical facilities and supplies are available in Mtunzini village.
- Curios, souvenirs, charcoal, bait (sardines, shrimp and squid) may be purchased from the reception office during reception office hours.
- Canoes for use on the river are available for hire from the reception office.
- Fuel and oil can be obtained at the garage near the Mtunzini turn-off.
- A washing machine and tumble drier are available.
- No pets are allowed in the reserve.
- Portable generators are not allowed.
- Visitors are advised to take precautions against malaria before, during and after a visit to the area.
- The entrance gates to the reserve open at 05:00 and close at 22:00 throughout the year.
- For enquiries or further information please contact Umlalazi on +27 (0) 35 340 1836 / 9.
HOW TO GET THERE
- Follow the N2 freeway to the Mtunzini turn-off, which is situated 132 km north of Durban.
- The reserve is signposted at this junction and access to the reserve, approximately 4 km further on, is through Mtunzini village.
- 31d46'19"E 28d57'24.74"S