The Wildebeest's guide to South Africa

Umlalazi Nature Reserve, Mtunzini

Afrikaans name: Umlalazi-natuurreservaat

Looking across the Umlalazi Lagoon from the northern side

The lagoon at Umlalazi Nature Reserve

Photo © Steven Herbert


The Umlalazi Nature Reserve is situated next to the town of Mtunzini on the KwaZulu-Natal north coast. The reserve comprises of coastal forest, a lagoon and the coast line. This makes for a variety of habitats which in turn leads to a wide variety of animal life that may be found here.

One of the most interesting things to do is to take a walk on the trail through the mangrove forest. Thousands of crabs scuttle out of your way. You may also see mudskippers and, in winter, the Mangrove Kingfisher.

Mtunzini accommodation

Are you looking for accommodation in Mtunzini?

Mtunzini has plenty of accommodation options available

Just outside the reserve is the raffia palm monument where you will see the huge raffia palms and, with some luck, a Palm-nut Vulture.

The lagoon offers some opportunity for fishing and water-skiing but be aware that you may encounter a shark or Nile Crocodiles (that walk through the mangrove forest with the crabs is not sounding so scary anymore is it?).

There is both hutted accommodation and a camp site.

Share your experiences at Umlalazi

There are plenty of crabs amongst the mangroves

Photo © Steven Herbert

Above - Choose whichever of the following statements suits you:

a) I love crabs so Umlalazi Nature Reserve is the place for me!


b) I hate crabs which means you are never going to get me to visit Umlalazi Nature Reserve!

There are lots of crabs at Umlalazi but they are mainly in the mangroves so, even if you are scared of these little guys, it is worthwhile visiting this great nature reserve.

Burchell's Zebra in Umlalazi Nature Reserve

Photo © Steven Herbert

Above and below - There are some lovely picnic spots on the banks of the lagoon although you may have to chase away some of the wildlife to get to use them.

Vervet Monkeys in Umlalazi Nature Reserve

Photo © Steven Herbert

References and further reading

Wild Issue 20 - Author: - Published: 2012 - Page: 76

Wild Issue 22 - Author: - Published: 2013 - Page: 78

Where to Watch Birds in Southern Africa - Author: A. Berruti and J.C. Sinclair - Published: 1983 - Page: 166

Top Birding Spots in Southern Africa - Author: Hugh Chittenden - Published: 1992 - Page: 279

Where to see Birds in KwaZulu-Natal - Author: Bennett and Herbert - Published: 1995 - Page: 45

Where to see Birds in Natal - Author: Gordon Bennett - Published: 1989 - Page: 35

The Rough Guide to Game Parks of South Africa - Author: P. Briggs - Published: 2020 - Page: 185

The Pictorial Motoring Atlas of South Africa - Author: Maxwell Leigh - Published: 1987 - Page: 134

Southern African Birdfinder - Author: Cohen, Spottiswoode and Rossouw - Published: 2006 - Page: 133

Atlas of National Parks and Reserves of South Africa - Author: Marielle Renssen - Published: 2006 - Page: 86

Caravan & Outdoor Life - Issue 674 - Author: - Published: 2018 - Page: 22

Chris and Tilde Stuarts Guide to Southern African Game and Nature Reserves - Author: Chris and Tilde Stuart - Published: 1989 - Page: 143

Country Life - Issue 222 - Author: - Published: 2015 - Page: 18

Illustrated Guide to the Game Parks and Nature Reserves of SA - 2nd edn - Author: Readers Digest - Published: 1991 - Page: 156


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