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Mpenjati Nature Reserve & Trafalgar MPA Featured Hot

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Mpenjati Nature Reserve and adjacent Trafalgar Marine Protected Area, lying between Port Edward and Margate, provides scenic beauty of the coastline, estuary and coastal vegetation. There ample opportunities for a range of wildlife photography and landscape photography.

Mpenjati is a worthwhile day-visitor stop-over destination.  At only 60-hectares in size, the terrestrial reserve is home to the shy Blue Duiker as well as a multitude of bird species. The Trafalgar Marine Protected Area shoreline is 4.8km in length, making it one of the smallest in South Africa. Trafalgar Marine Protected Area was promulgated primarily to protect a petrified forest of fossils that become exposed in the intertidal zone.

The Ipithi trail on the south bank is 1,2 km long, while the Yengele trail on the north bank is 1,8 km long and passes through one of the largest dune forests on the KwaZulu-Natal South Coast.

Osprey and African Fish Eagles occur on the estuary together with Half-Collared Kingfishers and migrant waders. In the forest patches, Green Twinspot and Orange-Breasted Bush-Shrike may be found together with the shy and difficult to see Narina Trogon.



Best Time to Photograph
Seascapes are best photographed during the hour before dawn and particularly in winter when stormy skies add to the overall mood of any images that have been taken. Dawn is also best for bird photography and for photographing the shy Blue Duiker which ventures out into sun spots in the coastal forest. Ghost crabs are most active at dusk on a retreating high-tide and large congregations may be viewed on the shoreline.
Type of Photography
  • Birds
  • Seascapes
  • Scenery
Photographic Tips
Tripod and cable release are a must for any landscape/seascape photography and it is worth taking a soft cloth to clean the camera lens of sea-spray after every photograph. Ghost crabs are very aware of any movements and so a cautious approach is necessary, as is the use of a long telephoto lens.

Be very aware not to leave items in any parked vehicles and it is best to move in small groups in this reserve. Always report your presence and movements to local Ezemvelo KZN Wildlife personnel.
Recommended Gear
Birds, the Blue Duikers and Ghost Crabs are all shy to movement and so long telephoto lenses are a must for photographing any wildlife on this reserve. Wide angled lenses with tripod and cable release are best used for seascape photography.


Season and Weather
Summers can be extremely hot and humid with afternoon thunderstorms. Winters are generally more pleasant but nights can be very cold.
Other Activities
  • swimming
  • Bird Watching
  • Hiking
  • Fishing
  • Canoeing


Closest Town
Getting There
The Mpenjati Nature Reserve is reached directly off the N2 Highway and lies 20kms south of the coastal town of Margate. The entrance to the reserve is well sign-posted.
Mpenjati Nature Reserve


Peter Chadwick
Author: Peter ChadwickWebsite: http://www.peterchadwick.co.zaEmail: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
As a dedicated conservationist, Peter Chadwick has 30 years strategic and operational conservation experience in terrestrial and marine protected area management. He has worked within all of the major biomes in southern Africa as well as having provided expert conservation advice at a global level. His conservation and wildlife photography is a natural extension to his conservation work where he has numerous opportunities to capture photographs that showcase the beauty and complexity of the outdoors. Peter’s photography is internationally recognized, with this work appearing globally in a wide range of print and electronic media.