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BLINKWATER NATURE RESERVE - OVERVIEW
Land of indigenous forests, upland grasslands, vleis, streams and commercial plantations – home to the endangered Oribi and rare Blue Swallow.
This is Blinkwater in the heart of the of the KwaZulu-Natal Midlands, an area of scenic wonder ideal for both the backpacker and the mountain biker !
The four overnight camps (trail huts) all accommodate twelve people, with bunks, mattresses, flush toilets, shower/baths,firewood and water provided.
The indigenous forests are classed ‘Mist belt Podocarpus’ - all three types of Yellowoods are to be found together with a wide varity of very old trees, ie. huge Knobwoods, Lemonwoods and Figs. Bushbuck may be sighted.
The grasslands of the Blinkwater provide the perfect habitat for the dainty Oribi, common reedbuck and mountain reedbuck.The very rare Blue Swallow has been known to breed in the area.There is an abundance of bird life in the grassland and forests, approximately 135 species. Including the shy Crested Guinefowl and the vociferous and brilliantly coloured Louries.
The hiker may also see the endangered Wattled Crane which breed in the vacinity of Island Dam. During the spring and summer months flowers are a delight to the eye, from proteas to rare orchids and in the winter months the beautiful flowers of Psoralea pinnata can be seen. Blinkwater was once the hunting ground of the Bushman and there is still evidence of their “hunting pits” on the edge of the forest. Local history abounds and the hiking trails have been designed to incorporate as much of the past as possible. eg. One section of the trail follows the course of the old railway line constructed at the turn of the nineteenth century to extract timber from the vast indigenous forests on the south slopes of the Blinkwater.
In 1994 history was made in the hiking world, when two timber companies and KZN WILDLIFE joined forces to create a network of hiking trails in the KwaZulu-Natal Midlands. The original players were HL&H Timber Products and now Mondi Forests, Sappi Forests and Natal Parks Board now KwaZulu Natal Wildlife, and the Umvoti Branch of the Wildlife & Environmental Society.