The Dlinza Forest in Eshowe, KwaZulu-Natal, is humming with birdlife and insects – including a number of rare species. This popular bird-watching destination includes a spectacular tree-top boardwalk, many hiking trails and luxuriant scenery.

Did you know?

The Dlinza Forest was traditionally used as a burial ground for slain Zulu warriors.

The Dlinza Forest is famous for its tree-top aerial boardwalk, incredible birdlife and vast array of insects.

Lying just outside the town of Eshowe, Dlinza is a magnificent indigenous forest and top KwaZulu-Natal tourist attraction.

The 250-hectare forest, established in 1947, is crisscrossed with walking trails, but the most rewarding way to explore this natural attraction is via its 10-metre high aerial boardwalk.

The Dlinza Forest aerial boardwalk is especially popular among bird watchers, thanks to the presence of and rare species such as the spotted ground thrush and eastern bronze-naped pigeon.

Keep eyes open and ears attuned for the unmistakeable calls of the trumpeter hornbill, purple-crested turaco and narina trogon.

Butterflies also abound in Dlinza, especially during autumn when more than 70 recorded species are most often seen. If you're a keen lepidopterist, you'll be happy to learn that the mocker swallowtail, mother of pearl and gaudy are found here.

Although it's home to a number of rare plants, birds and insects, the forest's most endangered creature is the Dlinza Forest pinwheel - an unusual snailwith bristles radiating out from the edge of its shell - found nowhere else on Earth.

This forest in KwaZulu-Natal has wonderful picnic facilities and a number of hiking trails, but can also be explored by car via Royal Drive, which passes through the middle of the forest. Choose from the iMpunzi or uNkonka trails, which offer travellers hikes of 1.3km and 1.8km respectively, or spend time in a peaceful clearing called Bishop's Seat. If you're planning a hike, the early morning is the best time to do this, as it's cool and the forest's birds and frogs create an unforgettable cacophony of sound.

As you head along a forest trail, discover fascinating facts and learn about the medicinal value of local plants via informative plaques dotted throughout the forest.

The Dlinza Forest is rare in that it is situated within an urban area, which makes accommodation easy to find. Children will enjoy playing in the forest and clambering along the wooded walkway while looking out for vervet monkeys and a pair of crown eagles that nest here.

Travel tips & Planning info

Who to contact

Dlinza Forest Visitor Centre
Tel: +27 (0)35 474 4029

Dlinza Forest Accommodation
Tel: 035 474 2377

How to get here

The Dlinza Forest is easly accessed from Kangella Road in Eshowe, KwaZulu-Natal. The entrance is just beyond the Eshowe High School.

Best time to visit

Any time of year. For butterfly enthusiasts, autumn is best.

Get around

You can drive through the forest but hiking, either at ground-level or on the aerial boardwalk, is a far more rewarding way to enjoy the incredible creatures that live here.

What will it cost

A day visit costs R25 per adult, R20 for pensioners and R5 for children between the ages of 5 and 18. Children under five free.

Length of stay

At least a day to explore the forest, longer if you're a keen birder or butterfly enthusiast.

What to pack

Never forget sunscreen and a hat. Sturdy walking shoes are a must and remember your camera and binoculars.

Where to stay

Accommodation, ranging from basic budget backpackers to luxury lodges, is available in Eshowe. Dlinza Forest Accommodation has comfortable log cabins within 300m of the aerial boardwalk.

What's happening

In addition to the aerial boardwalk there are two trails in the forest. Both depart from the Visitor Centre and are easy.