There Is a range of hiking trails in and around the Umlalazi Nature Reserve. A short trail of about 15 minutes through one of the best examples of Mangrove Forest to be seen in South Africa, starts at the parking area at the lagoon and takes the visitor past John Dunn’s Pool. This forest is Inhabited by a number of strange creatures of which the fiddler crabs are perhaps the best known. Male fiddler crabs have an enlarged claw, which is used both for displaying to attract females as well as in combat with other males.
During mating season the mangrove forest Is alive with gaiety as the little males beckon to females with their enlarged claws. Also worth looking out for is the mudskipper – a little amphibious fish – which can often be seen skittering over the mud surface searching for insects and small crustaceans to eat. In the winter months this is the place to spot the Mangrove Kingfisher. Energetic hikers can continue on the trail which connects with the road to the mudflats which is often an excellent birding area.
Umlalazi Nature Reserve is open daily: 05h00 – 22h00 An entrance fee to the Umlalazi Nature Reserve is payable but visitors staying outside the Reserve can pay once and receive a temporary entrance card.
The circular Siyaya Coastal Dune Forest Trail starts at the parking area for south beach and follows the coastal forest adjacent to the Siyaya stream. Bushbuck, red, grey and blue duiker can be seen on this trail.
The trail to the Umlalazi River mouth is about 8kms long but takes one along the beautiful winding river until it enters the ocean at Port Durnford. The trail starts on the footpath linking north beach with the parking area at the lagoon. If hikers are returning along the beach they are advised to first check out the beach so they can recognise where to exit on their return.
Just outside the Reserve is the Raphia Palm Forest which can easily be included in one of the trails through the Reserve. There Is a boardwalk through the swamp forest which provides easy access to the heart of the colony of palms where the prime specimens create an awesome cathedral-like effect. The Palm Nut vulture is often seen nesting near the top of the raphia palms.