15 February 2017 by Damian Cupido

The Red Desert – Port Edward’s hidden secret

When you think of a desert, the Kalahari or even the Sahara subtropical deserts comes to mind. Other remarkable deserts are vast and barren lands that are hostile to plant and animal life. Considering Port Edward (situated on the south coast of KwaZulu-Natal) is renowned for its lush, tropical landscapes, you’d be surprised that the Red Desert can be found here.

Image by Vanda Chittenden

Yet it does – and what a magnificent sight it is. Spread across 200m, it’s considered to be the world’s smallest desert.

Image by Vanda Chittenden

Image by Vanda Chittenden

Theories behind the desert’s formation range from thoughts that extraterrestrials once landed, leaving behind eerie signs of their visit to extreme overgrazing. Whatever the truth, the Red Desert is a mysterious stretch of desolate land that has become an archaeologist's treasure chest as many artefacts have been unearthed in the area. As a result, the importance of conserving the desert has become the priority of conservationists, in order to protect it.

Image by Vanda Chittenden

Image by Vanda Chittenden

From grasslands and forests to wetlands, there are incredible areas around the desert where unique and rare plant life thrive. One of these breathtaking surrounds is the Mtamvuna Estuary, where its river runs approximately 162km long. Not far lies the Umtamvuna Gorge, which is 210m deep, and there’s a viewing deck that allows visitors to enjoy incredible scenery as far as the eye can see.

Here’s an incredible 360-degree view of the Red Desert, but please ensure you have Adobe Flash player 10.1 (or higher) to view.

Related articles

comments powered by Disqus