Early morning is the best time to visit when the forest echoes with the calls of Trumpeter Hornbills, Purplecrested Turacos and Narina Trogons.
As the day warms up the distinct chorus of the cicada beetles reverberates through the forest.
An alternative to walking the forest trails, is to walk (or drive) the Royal Drive, a gravel road through the centre of the forest where visitors can still have a good chance of glimpsing a secretive Blue Duiker or bushbuck.
Numerous tree markers provide interesting information along the trails and describe Zulu medicinal uses of the various trees, and the myths associated with them.
Throughout the year, but especially in autumn, the butterflies are most impressive . As many as 80 species including the Gaudy Commodore, Mocker Swallowtail and the Mother of Pearl have been recorded in the 250 hectare forest.
Winter: 07h00 – 17h00
Summer: 06h00 – 17h00
The 125 metre Aerial Boardwalk is wheelchair friendly up to the final observation tower which is 20m high.
There is a wealth of information in the Visitor Centre on birds, butterflies, insects and small mammals, which will enrich your visit to this beautiful forest.
There is also a refreshment kiosk, wheelchairfriendly toilet facilities, several picnic and braai areas and a bird hide on the fringe of the forest near the car park. Trained guides are available at the Centre and will accompany visitors along the Boardwalk.
(Closed Christmas Day)
(1 Sept – 31 March) 06h00 – 17h00
(1 April – 31 August) 07h00 – 17h00
(Includes trained guide)
Annual ticket: R120
Season Family: R300
Children 4 -18 years: R10
Children u/4: Free
The iMpunzi Trail (1,3kms) is an easy 30 minute round trip from the Visitor Centre and takes you past majestic Fluted Milkwoods, Giant Ironwoods and Wild Plum trees. Trees are clearly labelled and described on the trails.
The uNkonka Trail (1,8kms) reaches deeper into the forest and is an easy 45 minute walk joining the iMpunzi Trail near its end. Along the way you will cross the source of the Mpushini river, where you may see the spoor of the Blue Duiker. Look out for blooming Clivia miniata flowers during Spring.
Bishop's Seat is a beautiful clearing in the forest where one of the early Bishops of Eshowe, Bishop W M Carter, would come to ponder his next sermon. It is now used as a venue for outdoor functions as well as an amphitheatre for the 'The Forest Noël' which the people of Eshowe present every three years.
The Royal Drive is a picturesque drive on a gravel road through the forest and was specially cleared for the British Royal Family's visit to Eshowe in 1947.