Amatikulu Nature Reserve – A Must Visit
A day or two after waving our Christmas guests goodbye (with a sigh of relief on my part), we decided that a bit of exploring was in order. Friends had told us about the small but worthwhile Amatikulu Nature Reserve which is a mere 25 minute drive from our house. So, we packed a picnic of sorts and headed in the direction of Amatikulu …
The reserve is located about 100kms from Durban and is found between the Tugela and Amatikulu River mouths. It is one of the few places in this country where wildlife can be spotted feeding on forested areas that overlook the sea!
We paid the nominal entrance fee for day visitors (R10 per adult and R5 per child) and made our way to the picnic area. There are a handful of cement tables and chairs set up (although not many are in the shade which was much needed on the day we visited!) and these overlook the estuary and Nyoni River.
The reserve offers a range of activities; there are a number of self-guided walks that take one through the many different types of vegetation that make up the reserve. We headed off on one particular walk and found ourselves meandering along the water’s edge before working our way through thigh deep grass (with the threat of a black mamba bite ever present in my mind!) and then navigating up steep, sandy banks of coastal bushland. Not really my idea of a fun day out (especially when walking in a sun dress and slops!) so I eventually turned back for the mown grass of the picnic area!
However if you are made of sturdier stuff than I am, there is a particularly steep trial that leads to a viewing platform rewarding the walker with magnificent views of the reserve. I’m sure that doing these walks in the winter months when the vegetation is less lush would be a bit easier!
Keen birders will be kept occupied with the birdlife attracted to the forest and grassland areas of the reserve. There are also community based tour guides available for birding tours in the reserve and other nearby areas.
Canoes can be hired from the local community for use on the estuary and river. Fishing is said to be rewarding on the river and estuary but please be aware that marine fishing permits are required for estuary fishing. It is also to be noted that due to crocodiles living in this area, swimming is at your own risk!
We had a fantastic few hours here and found the reserve to be well worth the visit. The facilities and ablutions were all well-maintained and clean and the staff helpful. The gates are open from 06h00 to 18h00.