Umlalazi Nature Reserve Hot
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Umlalazi Nature Reserve lies just off the N2 Highway north of Durban and mid-way to the Zululand Game Reserves.

It is best known for its Rafia Palm Forests which attracts breeding populations of Palm Nut Vulture. Good examples of mangrove forests also occur along the edges of the lagoon. Given the large variety of habitats at Umlalazi Nature Reserve there is a very diverse variety of bird, invertebrate and small mammal species. This makes Umlalazi a must see stop over en-route to Zululand.


Best Time to Photograph
Given the variety of habitats at Umlalazi it is possible to photograph throughout the day. Birds are most active in the early mornings while photographing the Red Duiker is best photographed in the evenings.
Type of Photography
  • Landscapes
  • Birds
  • Coastal
  • Small Mammals
Best Time of Year
Throughout the year
Photographic Tips
For bird photography it is best to use a vehicle and drive slowly along the road network. Photographing the small mammals and mangrove invertebrates is best done by walking slowly with a tripod and telephoto lenses. When photographing in the Rafia Forests move in a group for safety reasons.
Recommended Gear
A window mount for the vehicle is a must and telephoto lenses are needed for both small mammals and bird photography as well as for photographing mangrove invertebrates.


Site Highlights
Mangrove Forests adjacent to the lagoon.
Raffia Palm Forest.
Coastal Forest walk and drive.
Relaxed Red Duiker.


Season and Weather
Summer months are hot and humid and afternoon thundershowers can be expected. Winter weather is very pleasant with cooler temperatures and more stable weather patterns.
Other Activities
  • Bird Watching
  • Hiking
  • Boating
  • Fishing
  • Beach activities


Closest Town
Getting There
Follow the N2 freeway to the Mtunzini turn-off which is situated 132km north of Durban. The reserve is signposted at the junction and access to the reserve is approximately 4km further on through the Mtunzini village.
Umlalazi Nature Reserve


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Peter Chadwick
Author: Peter ChadwickWebsite: 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.