While Durban is a busy urban centre, a few hours’ drive from the city lies a number of phenomenal wildlife destinations. From Durban’s Sharks Board to uShaka Sea World for marine wildlife to Hluhluwe-Imfolosi and a host of smaller parks along the Elephant Coast, or down south to Pure Venom reptile park or inland to private reserves or the Lion Park – there’s wildlife aplenty not far from Durban.
In July most years the annual Sardine Run hits the beaches of the south coast, when millions of small, silver fish migrate up the coastline, followed by predators such as dolphins, whales, sharks and seabirds.
The Umgeni River estuary is a popular picnic spot. At low tide, the shallows are exposed, and thousands of birds, including terns and pelicans, gather to feast. Get close to nature and birdlife by traversing the boardwalk through the protected Beachwood mangroves on the north side of Blue Lagoon.
Don’t miss CROW (Centre for Rehabilitation of Wildlife) in Yellowwood Park, a wildlife hospital that cares for injured and orphaned wild animals and birds. Also worth a visit is the KwaZulu-Natal Sharks Board for an informative glimpse into the world of these impressive, misunderstood predators.
KwaZulu-Natal is a leading conservation area packed with game parks and reserves. In the north are the Hluhuluwe-Imfolozi Game Reserve and the iSimangaliso Wetland Park, a World Heritage site. Both are renowned for large populations of wild animals and exquisite bird life.
uKhahlamba-Drakensberg Park and small boutique game reserves
Inland is the mighty uKhahlamba-Drakensberg Park, another World Heritage Site that is home to a wealth of plant and birdlife. Numerous smaller boutique game reserves such as Tala and GwaHumbe lie in the mid-Illovo region, and the Lion Park is close to Pietermaritzburg.
DID YOU KNOW? Hluhuluwe is the oldest game reserve in South Africa. Now you have every reason to visit KwaZulu-Natal, not only does it have great beaches but you are also able to view some of the best wildlife.