In the centre of Morningside, on 55 hectares of what’s left of the coastal forest, is Burman Bush, as the nature reserve is more generally known in Durban. Knowing that not much has changed in this area of woodland since 1850 gives it value. However, everything around it has changed as suburbs and industry have taken the place of the forest. Despite the road noise, one can get a fair sense of how Durban must have appeared when settlers first came to Burman Bush.
The Burman Bush Nature Reserve is a part of the Durban Municipal Open Space System, or D’Moss, a network of open spaces totalling around 74 000 hectares of land and water. The network also includes higher catchments, riverine and marine corridors, Paradise Valley, and Kenneth Stainbank Reserve.
Small as the Burman Bush may be, it contains three trails that lead through the indigenous woodland that borders the last section of the Umgeni River. You may easily spend two hours here examining the local flora and wildlife.
Each of the fifteen observation sites is designated by a wooden bench but beware of the vervet monkeys, who won’t think twice about stealing any food you might bring (there is a strict no-feeding policy).
Burman Bush is situated on a slope that, in some areas, climbs from 19 meters above sea level to around 133 meters. This is accomplished after just 1 km of ascending along a winding, uneven path that frequently has roots and pebbles in it. As a result, runners and walkers frequently use the trail.
What You Need To Know
There are three hiking routes there—the Pithi (500 m), Hadedah (1 km), and Forest Olive (2 km) walks—that run through the forest and let tourists see the diverse plants and animals. The Umgeni River, which runs from Connaught bridge to the Blue Lagoon, may be seen in its entirety from a viewing platform at the northernmost part of the outer walk.
Many of the species in the fauna are solitary. Aside from the grey duiker, banded and slender mongoose, porcupines, and vervet monkey groups, the reserve is home to Durban’s largest population of blue duiker. Its birdlife, which is most noticeable in the early morning, might be best observed from the main private road.
Along with spotted ground thrushes (during the winter), red-capped robin-chats, yellow-bellied greenbuls, yellow-breasted apalises, ashy and paradise flycatchers, grey sunbirds, and southern tchagras, it also includes tambourine doves, green wood hoopoes, fork-tailed and common square-tailed drongos, yellow-bellied greenbuls, and yellow-brea The flat-crown, forest fever-berry, forest olive, and red beech are just a few of the forest trees that may be found in the reserve. Much of the forest floor is covered in buck weed.
Burman Bush Nature Reserve, Morningside, Durban, KwaZulu Natal