Visit the Beachwood Mangrove Nature Reserve where red, white and black mangroves flourish just a stone's throw from the bustling coastal city of Durban (eThekwini). A number of wading birds, mudskippers, crabs and other creatures of this ecosystem promise an interesting walk through the reserve along a series of boardwalks.

Did you know?

The Beachwood Mangrove Nature Reserve was only proclaimed in 1977.

The 76ha Beachwood Mangrove Nature Reserve at the mouth of the Umgeni River preserves a natural estuarine ecosystem, the only one of its kind in Durban (eThekwini).

You’ll encounter three protected mangrove species in the Beachwood mangrove ecosystem – black, red and white.

This estuarine nature reserve, with its characteristic tidal fluxes, is also home to enchanting mudskippers, little fish that propel themselves over their mudflat home using their pectoral fins. Fiddler crabs, with their distinctive large claws, are plentiful among the mangrove roots at low tide, along with marsh crabs and the threatened dwarf chameleon.

The rare mangrove kingfisher, along with curlew, dikkop, weavers, sunbirds and the occasional Natal nightjar, make this a great venue for the twitching and birding fraternity. There are three trails through the reserve, with a sturdy boardwalk system to keep visitors above the muddy swamp.

Along the shoreline you’ll discover sand dunes that separate the estuary from the sea, where tough creepers and pioneer scrub are to be found, as well as ubiquitous ghost crabs scuttling along the sand.

A tarred road guides visitors to the southern section, close to the Umgeni estuary, where a thatched activity centre is available for educational groups. A road bridge crosses the river, providing access to the popular fishing spot at the river mouth known as Blue Lagoon.

Travel tips & Planning info

Who to contact

Beachwood Mangrove Nature Reserve (Ezemvelo KwaZulu-Natal Wildlife)
Tel: +27 (0)82 559 2839

How to get here

The Umgeni River is located north of Durban (eThekwini) on the M4. The Beachwood Nature Reserve is just off Riverside Road in Durban North.

Best time to visit

The Beachwood Mangroves Nature Reserve is only open to the public on the third Saturday of every month from 8am to 1pm. Otherwise a visit must be arranged by appointment with the conservation officer.

Get around

A series of sturdy boardwalks provides visitors with access to the reserve, the mangrove forest and the beach.

What will it cost

Entrance to the nature reserve is free.

Length of stay

Two hours should be sufficient to take in all the reserve has to offer, but allow more time should you wish to take photographs.

What to pack

Camera, binoculars, birding book, hat and plenty of sunscreen. In summer, when mosquitoes are prevalent, inset repellant would be a good idea.