The largest population of mangrove trees in the Durban region can be found in the 76-hectare Beachwood Mangroves Nature Reserve. The location serves as a centre for environmental education. You can see the red mangrove, the white mangrove, and the black mangrove.
Sand dunes along the shoreline are home to creeping plants and pioneer brush. The Mangrove Kingfisher, Curlew, and Water Dikkop are among the birds that can be found. On occasion, one might hear the Natal Nightjar. A boardwalk has been constructed over the waterways with assistance from Lions International to provide access.
The unusual mudskippers, fish that utilize their pectoral fins to either skim over the water or drive themselves across the mud, can also be anticipated. Numerous molluscs and thousands of fiddler crabs, each with a single big claw, are also present. The reserve has three trails that go to the bird hide and the marsh where waders congregate to eat. The public can only visit the Beachwood Mangroves Reserve on the third Saturday of the month from 8:00 am to 1:00 pm. It’s only available by appointment outside of these times. The Reserve is located in Durban North right off Riverside Road.
All You Need To Know
Mangrove swamps are considered to be among the most uncommon and scientifically intriguing tidal ecosystems. The Beachwood Mangroves have tremendous historical, educational, and botanical importance, and because they are close to a major city, they are advantageous to many key educational institutions. On July 18, 1980, it was designated as a National Monument under the previous NMC regulations. The Northern side of the Umgeni River Mouth, where it completes its terrestrial course and empties into the Indian Ocean, is home to the Beachwood Mangroves Nature Reserve. The River separates Durban from Durban North, a sizable residential area, and its wonderfully renovated coastline (on the southern bank).
Despite being small (just 76 hectares), the reserve is teeming with rare, beautiful species. On the coast of KZN, one of the most polluted rivers in the nation is one of the last remaining patches of protected mangrove habitat. It’s a comfort that this under-the-radar area is protected as a National Monument rather than being exploited because it’s mostly used by researchers and educational organizations.
There is a trail surrounding Beachwood that winds through the mangroves and is high, making it possible to explore the reserve even when the tide is in. The self-guided option is available, but we opted to join a group tour conducted by one of the competent policemen. Most of Beachwood’s flora and wildlife are local. We were missing a lot of the species because mangroves are invisible in the winter while climbing whelks and fiddler crabs were active as usual. However, the vegetation was thriving in a riot of green, true to KZN form! Mangroves function in an amazing way.
There are three varieties at Beachwood: red, black, and white. Each one contributes in a different way to the mangrove environment. Together, they stabilize the shoreline, shield land masses from harsh weather (particularly hurricanes and tropical storms), and create a habitat for fish, birds, and other animals to live, breed, and eat. The boardwalk meanders across an Umgeni distributary before emerging into the mudflats and passing through a cool Black Mangrove forest.
The spotted bush snake likes to hide out in the thin tufts of Ncema Grass that dot the mudflats. You might be able to spot a threatened KZN dwarf chameleon hanging off a blade of grass if you look closely.
When To Visit
The Beachwood Mangrove Nature Reserve is only open to the public on the third Saturday of every month from 8 am to 1 pm. Otherwise, a visit must be arranged by appointment with the conservation officer.
Entrance to the nature reserve is free.
How To Get There
The Umgeni River is located north of Durban (eThekwini) on the M4. The Beachwood Nature Reserve is just off Riverside Road in Durban North.
+27 (0)82 559-2839