The Wildebeest's guide to South Africa

Pigeon Valley Nature Reserve

Afrikaans name:

Entrance to Pigeon Valley Nature Reserve

Main walkway in Pigeon Valley Nature Reserve

Photo © Steven Herbert


Pigeon Valley is a small nature reserve situated in the heart of Durban. It is a great place to take a walk and get lost in nature but, unfortunately, you can't escape the car noises as there are busy roads nearby.

The reserve is popular amongst birders and it has a reasonable list of birds despite the habitat being predominantly forest. As you enter the reserve there is normally a number of birds to be seen, or heard, including Black-collared Barbet, Red-capped Robin-chat, Southern Black Flycatcher, African Dusky Flycatcher, Olive Thrush and Spectacled Weaver. If you stick to the main walkway, up the middle of the reserve, then look for Purple-crested Turaco, African Paradise Flycatcher, Thick-billed Weaver, Cape Batis and many more. Black Sparrowhawk and African Goshawk are often seen or heard. Other, more elusive, birds to look for include Buff-spotted Flufftail, Green Malkoha, Blue-mantled Crested Flycatcher and Spotted Ground-Thrush. Click the link to see some of the birds.

The reserve is a remnant of coastal forest that used to cover large areas of Durban so it is no surprise that there are plenty of trees and, fortunately, many of them have been identified and labelled. Some of the trees to be seen are Broom Cluster Fig, Natal Elm, Thorny-rope Flat-bean, Giant-leaved Fig, Fluted Milkwood, Forest Natal Mahogany and Copper-stem Corkwood.

Near the entrance there is a small pond which normally has various dragon-flies in attendence and is a good place to photograph them.

Entrance to the reserve is free and there is little in the way of facilities.

Pigeon Valley Nature Reserve

Above - A clearing in the forest

Photo © Steven Herbert

Dragonfly at Pigeon Valley

Above - Female Lucia Widow dragonfly

Photo © Steven Herbert

Some birds that may be seen in Pigeon Valley

White-eared Barbet

Black-collared Barbet

Purple-crested Turaco

Spotted Eagle-Owl

Tambourine Dove

African Goshawk

Black Sparrowhawk

Square-tailed Drongo

African Paradise-Flycatcher

Southern Boubou

Olive Thrush

Southern Black Flycatcher

African Dusky Flycatcher

Red-capped Robin-Chat

Black-bellied Starling

Olive Sunbird

Collared Sunbird

Spectacled Weaver

Thick-billed Weaver

Bronze Mannikin

References and further reading

Where to see Birds in Natal - Author: Gordon Bennett - Published: 1989 - Page: 10

Where to see Birds in KwaZulu-Natal - Author: Bennett and Herbert - Published: 1995 - Page: 22

Self-guided Trails in Durban - Author: Durban Corporation - Published: 0 - Page: 27

Readers Digest Illustrated Guide to the Game Parks and Nature Reserves of Southe - Author: Editor - Alan Duggan - Published: 1991 - Page: 162


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