Blyde River Canyon

Durban, has much to offer in terms of green spaces and nature reserves. Take a walk with the family and friends this weekend on one of these awesome Day Hikes in Durban. Get away from the city life for a few hours, stretch those legs and get some fresh air in some beautiful nature spots. 

1. Kenneth Stainbank Nature Reserve

Location: Coedmore Ave, Yellow Wood Park, Durban, 4011

Length Of Trail: 13km

Estimated Time: 2-3hr

Entrance Fee: R40 per person

Contact Info: 0603557088

The 253 hectare Kenneth Stainbank Nature Reserve is regarded as one of the finest coastal / riverine forest and bush clump / grassland mosaic areas remaining in the greater Durban area.

The land was a given from a man named Kenneth Stainbank, hence the name, and aside from the wonderful plant life, you also get to see zebra, bushbuck, reedbuck, impala, blue, red and grey duiker, vervet monkeys, mongoose, bushbabies and dassies or rock hyrax. There are even night drives that one can arrange.

There are a number of short marked walks in this pretty reserve, southwest of Durban, including the 5,5-kilometre Mkumbi Trail. It passes a dam and wetland area alive with waterbirds, grasslands on which you see zebra and various antelope, and a section of coastal forest leading down to the Umhlatuzana River. 

Over and above the 13 kilometres of nature walks there is also a 10 kilometre mountain bike trail, regarded as moderately challenging – in other words, a good weekend ride that won’t see you exhausted, and Durban’s mountain bikers enjoy the reserve as a refuge. There is a small fee to ride the trail

2. Giba Gorge Mountain Bike Park

Location: 110 Stockville Rd, Tollgate, Pinetown, 3610

Length Of Trail: Various Trails 45km in total

Estimated Time: 2-3hr

Entrance Fee:   Adult Rider : R90
Child Rider (under 12yrs) : R60
Pensioner rider : R60
Park Visitor : R40

Contact Info: 0317691419

Giba Gorge Mountain Bike Trails is one of the best mountain bike trails to experience in SA.

Chris Harburn decided to cut additional paths on land he had purchased called Stockville Quarry in 2007, and Giba Gorge Adventure Park was born. Subsequently, these were the humble beginnings of what is now known as Giba Gorge Adventure Park.

Since its inception, the Giba Gorge mountain bike trail has grown in popularity plus momentum, thanks to the continuing assistance from friends and outdoor enthusiasts. The active Giba community deserves credit for maintaining the park’s high standards.

Giba Gorge MTB Park caters for all kinds of riders, which works well with the current diversification of South African mountain biking. In addition, a UCI-level BMX track hosts events and offers kids a safe, fun riding zone. If you want to take the park in at a slower pace, you can choose to explore the many trails on foot instead.

3. Kranskloof Gorge Nature Reserve

Location: 152 Kloof Falls Rd, Kranskloof, Kloof, 3624

Length Of Trail: 6km trail, 15km trail and 22km trail

Estimated Time: 2 – 4hr

Entrance Fee: R60 per adult (12 years and older) and R30 per child (under 12 years)

Contact Info: enquiries are dealt with via the website form and not by phone.

The Krantzkloof Nature Reserve a beautiful reserve where visitors can enjoy sightings of the abundant wildlife which includes zebra, bushbuck, vervet monkey among others. As well as over 200 recorded species of birdlife and a variety of indigenous flora, the reserve also has picnic site, waterfall, walking and hiking trails and a small conference centre.

Krantzkloof Nature reserve offers spectacular views across the well forested gorge cut by the Molweni River. Most of the Krantzkloof Nature reserve’s 532 hectares is covered by dense forest and vegetation.

The reserve’s best known attraction is the well developed picnic area adjacent to the dam at the head of Kloof Falls.

This Gorge is also a popular spot for climbing.

4. Beachwood Mangroves Nature Reserve

Location: Riverside Rd, Prospect Hall, Durban, 4051

Length Of Trail: (Couldn’t find info)

Estimated Time: 1-2hr

Entrance Fee: Free (Every 3rd Saturday of the Month)

Contact Info: 0825592839

Beachwood Mangroves Nature Reserve is a 76 hectare reserve with the largest population of mangrove trees in the Durban area. The area is used as a Nature Conservation Education Centre. The black mangrove, the red mangrove, and the white mangrove may be seen here.

An elevated boardwalk has been laid out as a trail around Beachwood, so even when the tide is in, it is possible to explore the reserve.
On the shoreline, there are sand dunes where creeping plants and pioneer scrub are to be found. There is some birdlife, including the Mangrove Kingfisher, Curlew and Water Dikkop. The Natal Nightjar may sometimes be heard.

You can also expect to encounter the strange mudskippers – fish that use their pectoral fins to either skim over the water or to propel themselves across the mud. There are also thousands of fiddler crabs with their single large claw and an assortment of molluscs. There are three trails in the reserve, taking the visitors to the bird hide and to the swamp, where waders come to feed.

The Beachwood Mangroves Reserve is only open to the public every 3rd Saturday of every month from 08h00 to 13h00. Outside these dates, it is by appointment only. The Reserve is just off Riverside Road in Durban North

5. Umhlanga Lagoon Nature Reserve

Location: Hawaan, Blackburn, 4319

Length Of Trail: 2 km

Estimated Time: 30min to 1hr 

Entrance Fee: R30 per person

Contact Info: 031 561 2271

The Umhlanga Lagoon Nature Reserve is a sanctuary not only for small wildlife but also for a number of wetland and coastal forest species. The reserve is small at only 26 hectares, but the trails are stunning and lead through dune forest, across the lagoon and onto the beach. At the lagoon mouth are the remains of a Stone Age sea shell midden.

The entrance gates lie just beyond the Breakers Hotel on Lagoon Drive and from there is a trail known as the Umhlanga Lagoon Trail that passes many labelled trees, like the coastal red milkwood, a rare sighting, en route through the coastal forest. There is also a picnic site.

Over 208 bird species make the reserve their home, as do blue and grey duiker, bushbuck and other smaller mammals. Water birds are prolific and one can sight herons, fish eagles, African rails and warblers without a problem. It is the shyer narina trogon, forest weaver, robins and tinker barbets that are more difficult to spot in the thicker bush of the forest.

There are daily guided walks through Umhlanga Lagoon nature Reserve along the trail, at 9am, 11am and 3pm that take roughly an hour and a half – ask at the Breakers Hotel reception area.

The Umhlanga Ponds lie just beyond the reserve, whilst over the freeway on the corner of Portland Drive and Herald Drive is a wonderful, preserved piece of ancient forest known as Hawaan Forest. Walks through the forest are managed by WESSA.

6. Virginia Bush Nature Reserve

Location: Adelaide Tambo Dr, Durban North, Durban, 4051

Length Of Trail: 5km

Estimated Time: 1-2hr

Entrance Fee: Free

Contact Info: 0315636777

Enjoy this 5.3-km loop trail near Durban, Kwazulu-Natal. Generally considered a moderately challenging route, it takes an average of 1 h 40 min to complete. This is a popular trail for walking, but you can still enjoy some solitude during quieter times of day.

Many of the tree varieties are labeled for hikers convenience and the walk crosses over a small bridge and hill with spectacular views.

A trail suitable for all ages, this reserve can be included in every Durban to-do-list. It is quiet and peaceful and well looked after by volunteers. Some of the trails are dog friendly and are marked accordingly. Its thick blanket of vegetation may however raise security concern and thus it is advisable to not explore the reserve solo.

7. Roosfontein Nature Reserve (Herbie’s Hike)

Location: Harry Gwala Rd, Dawncliffe, Westville, 3630

Length Of Trail: 7km

Estimated Time: 3-4hr

Entrance Fee: Free

Contact Info: 0312037067

The reserve covers 150 hectares of South African grasslands, with a fair smattering of wild flowers and other gorgeous vegetation. This is the ideal retreat for those visiting or living in Durban that want a quick escape from city life, to enjoy the lushness and the crisp fresh air of the east coast countryside.

The Roosfontein Nature Reserve was established in 1985. It has a number of self-guided trails to explore on foot, which is always a hit with young ones with plenty of energy, as well as their parents or friends that want to experience the prettiness of this setting.

The reserve is home to a variety of bird species (mainly those that are typical of grasslands, such as the broad-tailed warbler), as well as to small antelope and mammals. So, visitors that love the outdoors and the wildlife of South Africa are reminded to bring their cameras along and to keep their eyes and ears open for their wilder companions.

Because there are so many little animals here, dogs are, unfortunately, not permitted to join their owners for a walk through the reserve. The reserve is open at all times and there is no entrance fee. However, visitors should be made aware that there are also no ablutions or other facilities here.

8. Bluff Nature Reserve

Location: The Bluff, Brighton Beach, Durban, 4052

Length Of Trail: 2.1km

Estimated Time: 30min-1hr

Entrance Fee: R20 for Adults, R10 for Kids

Contact Info: 0338451999

The Bluff Nature Reserve is well worth a visit for its fresh water pan, wetlands and patch of coastal lowland forest. In the reserve is a diverse plant life as well as a large number of water birds that include the common purple gallinule and rare lesser jacana.

Even though everyone knows the Bluff and its accompanying beaches, particularly Brighton Beach and Anstey’s, it is one of the most underrated areas of the city. Most of the headland (bluff) lies on the remains of a huge coastal dune system that formed on this shoreline ions ago.

In the past people who grew up on the Bluff were regarded as being a bit ruffer around the edges. If you lived in other parts of Durban, you seldom ventured out here, unless it was to come to the beaches. As a result, the nature reserve has remained obscure to most.

Today the suburb is something of a motley crew. There are areas that are pretty with impressive homes, and then there are eyesores like the oil refinery. But the Bluff Nature Reserve compensates for this, a beautiful green space, providing reed beds for roosting and breeding of waterfowl, herons and egrets. Egyptian and spur-winged geese, swamp hens and coots tend to dominate the scene.

How many of these trails have you tested the good ol’ running shoes on? Did you have a good experience walking/running these trails? Or maybe you didn’t have the best experience? Tell us all about it in the comments below so others know what to expect. Also did you think I missed any cool nature spots in Durban. Tell me so I can go explore some more (hey that ryhmed).

This is 8 of the Best Day Hikes in Durban…

 

– Chase The Adventure –

 

Best Day Hikes in Durban

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