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The Wildebeest's guide to South Africa

KwaZulu-Natal attractions


Amanzimtoti Bird Sanctuary

The dam at the Amanzimtoti Bird Sanctuary

Photo © Steven Herbert

Amanzimtoti Bird Sanctuary is about 4.5 hectares in size. It is situated in Umdoni Road, Amanzimtoti, on the inland side of the N2 Highway.

The reserve consists mainly of a small dam surrounded by coastal bush. There is some lawn where one can have a picnic or braai.

Accommodation in Amanzimtoti

Over time a checklist of approximately 150 species of birds has been built up at the sanctuary. The most obvious ones are the various ducks and other waterbirds on the dam.

Vervet Monkeys also call the Bird Sanctuary their home and you need to keep an eye on your food!

There is a self-guided trail through the bush. The bridge across the dam is a good place to look for birds and brilliantly coloured dragonflies.

A Spur-winged Goose on the bridge at Amanzimtoti Bird Sanctuary

Photo © Steven Herbert


Some things to look out for:

Egyptian Goose

Spur-winged Goose

Malachite Kingfisher

Common Moorhen

African Darter

Reed Cormorant

Brown Pansy

Vervet Monkey

Fever Tree

Natal Mahogany

References and further reading

Reader's Digest Illustrated Guide to the Game Parks and Nature Reserves of Southern Africa - 2nd edi - Author: Editor - Alan Duggan - Year Published: 1991 - Page: 157

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Ansteys Beach

Afrikaans name: Ansteys-strand

Ansteys Beach is one of the popular Bluff beaches, Durban

Photo © Steven Herbert

Ansteys Beach is one of the beaches on the Bluff in Durban. It is a popular beach over the weekend.

Ansteys, like all Durban beaches, have warmer water all year.

Accommodation in the area

The beach is popular with sunbathers, surfers and fisherman and there is ample room for everyone.

A small restaurant serves a variety of meals. There is backpacker accommodation nearby.

References and further reading

Getaway - Vol 31 No 04 - Author: - Year Published: 2019 - Page: 26

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Bothas Pass

Afrikaans name: Bothaspas

Bothas Pass

Bothas Pass

Photo © Steven Herbert

Botha's Pass is on the R34 between Newcastle and Memel. The pass takes you from a height of 1569 m to 1805 m at the top. It is about 5 km in length.

The pass is in the KwaZulu-Natal province but the border with the Free State is at the top of the pass.

Although Botha's Pass is not one of the most spectacular, or challenging, passes in South Africa it does offer good views over the farmlands below.

There are a handful of shops at the bottom of the pass.

View from Bothas Pass

Looking down from Bothas Pass onto extensive grasslands

Photo © Steven Herbert

Shops at the bottom of the pass

There is a handful of shops at the bottom of the pass

Photo © Steven Herbert

References and further reading

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Didima Resort

Afrikaans name: Didima Oord

Didima Resort

Didima Resort in the Drakensburg mountains

Photo © Steven Herbert

Didima Resort is situated near Cathedral Peak in the Drakensberg Mountains. It is about 45 km away from Winterton.

The chalets at Didima are based on the design of the temporary dwellings that were used by the San people thousands of years ago. Didima has a restaurant and bar. There is also a camp site nearby.

The surrounding area is great for hiking and there are a number of caves that may be booked. If you are lucky you may see mammals such as Caracal, Genets, Grey Rhebuck and others. The bird checklist for the area is around 170 species.

Didima Resort is managed by Ezemvelo KZN Wildlfe.

References and further reading

Caravan & Outdoor Life - Issue 665 - Author: - Year Published: 2017 - Page: 5

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Dukuza Museum

Dukuza Museum

Dukuza Museum

Photo © Steven Herbert

The Dukuza Museum is situated in KwaDukuza (Stanger) opposite the King Shaka Visitor Centre. Entrance is free but there is a donation box.

It is a small museum concentrating on local history with exhibits that include Zulu heritage and the growth of the sugarcane and paper industries, all of which are linked closely with the town.

Accommodation in Stanger / KwaDukuza

There are also a collection of items such as old gramophones, phones and toys.

Zulu pots at Dukuza Museum

Above - Part of the Zulu display

Photo © Steven Herbert

Dukuza Museum

Above - Zulu baskets

Photo © Steven Herbert

Exhibit at Dukuza Museum

Above - Display of old gramophone and other devices

Photo © Steven Herbert

References and further reading

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Fort Amiel

Fort Amiel

Fort Amiel, Newcastle

Photo © Steven Herbert

Fort Amiel is a reconstruction of a specious fort on the outskirts of Newcastle in KwaZulu-Natal. The fort was originally built in 1876 by the 80th Staffordshire Volunteers under the command of Major Charles Amiel, after whom the fort was named.

The fort sits on a low hill and has good views over the surrounding countryside including over the spot that was used as a wagon drift across the Ncandu River.

Accommodation in Newcastle

There are a number of buildings, exhibits and memorials at Fort Amiel. One of the most interesting is the reconstruction of the cookhouse.

Fort Amiel lookout post

Lookout post

Photo © Steven Herbert

Fort Amiel memorial

Memorial to those who lost their lives in the vicinity

Photo © Steven Herbert

Officers room

Officers room inside the museum

Photo © Steven Herbert

Fort Amiel kitchen

Display inside the kitchen

Photo © Steven Herbert

References and further reading

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Fort Durnford

Fort Durnford

Fort Durnford, Estcourt

Photo © Steven Herbert

Fort Durnford is situated on a hill overlooking the midlands town of Estcourt.

The 'need' for the fort arose after a clash with the indigenous Hlubi people. As it happens the fort was never attacked.

The fort was built, and possibly built, by Major Durnford. The outside walls are 60 cm thick.

Accommodation in Estcourt

In 1910 the fort was abandoned.

When visiting, or passing through, the Estcourt area it is worth it to take the short drive up the hill to visit the fort, which is now a museum.

Heading up stairs inside Fort Durnford

Above - These wooden stairs leading to the top floor could be raised in event of an attack

Photo © Steven Herbert

Langalibalele plaque at Fort Durnford

Above - A plaque detailing the story of Langalibalele who ended up on Robben Island after being found guilty of high treason.

Photo © Steven Herbert

References and further reading

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Fort Nottingham

Fort Nottingham

Photo © Steven Herbert

Fort Nottingham is situated about 15 kilometres away from the town of Nottingham Road. It is open from Wednesday through to Sunday.

The fort is made up of a collection of small buildings one of which has been converted into a museum.

Accommodation in Nottingham Road

In 1856 a regiment of soldiers from Nottinghamshire, the 45th 'Sherwood Foresters', was stationed here and that is where the fort got its name.

The troops mission was to prevent raids on the settlers cattle.

References and further reading

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General Louis Botha's Birth Place

The monument marking the spot where General Louis Botha was born

Photo © Steven Herbert

Louis Botha was born at this spot near Greytown on 27th September 1862. He was one of 13 children.

His early military career included him leading a group of Boer soldiers who supported Dinuzulu in his battle against Zibhebhu.

Accommodation in nearby Greytown

In 1897 he became a member of the Transvaal parliament.

Botha fought in the Second Boer War and was promoted to Commander-in-Chief of the Transvaal Boers.

In 1907 he became Prime Minister of Transvaal and in 1910 he became the first Prime Minister of the Union of South Africa.

References and further reading

Southern Africa from the Highway - Author: AA RSA - Year Published: 1991 - Page: 231

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Greytown Museum

The Greytown Museum is contained in a house built in 1879

Photo © Steven Herbert

The Greytown Museum is located in Scott Street in the town of Greytown.

The museum building was originally a house erected in 1879. Originally the building was the residence of the District Surgeon Dr. Daniel Birtwell. It was later taken over by the local magistrate.

Despite its small size this museum is packed with interesting items. It has rooms devoted to different themes such as the military, Zulus, Indian community and more.

Accommodation in Greytown

Outside the museum building are a few larger items such as a cannon and a Cape Cart.

At the entrance way to the building stands a massive Natal Fig. This tree was apparently planted by Annie Botha over 100 years ago.

References and further reading

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Howick Falls

Howick Falls

Howick Falls

Photo © Steven Herbert

The Howick Falls are located on the edge of the town of Howick, in KwaZulu-Natal.

The Umgeni River passes through the town then drops 95 metres over the falls making for a spectacular sight.

Accommodation in Howick

The Howick Falls are easily visible from a view point in the town and there are a number of curio sellers in the area.

Over 40 deaths have been recorded at Howick Falls either from suicides or people accidently being swept over the falls while trying to cross the river.

Below the falls the Umgeni River winds through a deep valley, part of which is a nature reserve.

References and further reading

Places to Visit in Southern Africa - Author: AA RSA - Year Published: 1995 - Page: 131

Reader's Digest Illustrated Guide to the Game Parks and Nature Reserves of Southern Africa - 2nd edi - Author: Editor - Alan Duggan - Year Published: 1991 - Page: 137

Road Tripping South Africa - Author: MapStudio - Year Published: 2014 - Page: 104

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Japanese Gardens, Queensburgh

Queensburgh Japanese Gardens

Funtion area and offices at the Queensburgh Japanese Gardens

Photo © Steven Herbert

The Japanese Gardens in Durban are very well known and a popular picnic spot, but the Japenese Gardens in Queensburgh are also a good choice for family gatherings.

Although there are not many 'Japenese' related features the gardens do have beautiful lawns and a few ponds.

Accommodation in Queensburgh

There is plenty of place for the kids to run around.

Zulu pots at Dukuza Museum

Above - There is plenty of space to have a picnic

Photo © Steven Herbert

Japanese Gardens

Above - Rock feature

Photo © Steven Herbert

References and further reading

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Majuba Hill

Majuba Hill as seen from Charlestown

Photo © Steven Herbert

Majuba Hill is the prominent feature of the landscape in the Volksrust area. It is a large flat-topped hill that dominates the skyline.

On the 27th February 1881 it was the site of a battle between the Boers and British during the First Boer War. The British forces, which numbered 405, were led by Major-General Sir George Pomeroy Colley. They occupied the top of the hill. About 450 Boer soldiers, led by Nicolas Smit, stormed the hill and achieved a remarkable victory despite having the inferior position of having to climb the hill.

Accommodation in Volksrust

The British defeat at Majuba helped to bring about an end to the First Anglo-Boer War.

References and further reading

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Mzimkulwana River

Mzimkulwana River flowing through Oribi Gorge

Photo © Steven Herbert

The Mzimkulwana River is a short river that is best known as being the one that flows through the magnificent Oribi Gorge.

The river has cut through the rock over millions of years.

The Mzimkulwana River joins the Mzimkhulu River before flowing into the Indian Ocean at Port Shepstone.

References and further reading

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Paradise Valley Nature Reserve

Afrikaans name: Paradysvallei Natuur Reservaat

Paradise Valley Nature Reserve

Photo © Steven Herbert

Paradise Valley Nature Reserve is located near Pinetown and New Germany. It is 170 ha in extent.

The Umbilo River flows through the reserve and forms an attractive waterfall at one point.

Accommodation in Pinetown

The habitat is a mix of grassland and coastal forest. Approximately 4 km of trails wind their way through the reserve.

Paradise Valley Nature Reserve is a very popular picnic area on weekends. Near the entrance is a conference facility and toilet facilities.

There is an admission fee payable.

References and further reading

Chris and Tilde Stuart's Guide to Southern African Game and Nature Reserves - Author: Chris and Tilde Stuart - Year Published: 1989 - Page: 133

Getaway - Vol 29 No 12 - Author: - Year Published: 2018 - Page: 71

Reader's Digest Illustrated Guide to the Game Parks and Nature Reserves of Southern Africa - 2nd edi - Author: Editor - Alan Duggan - Year Published: 1991 - Page: 162

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Port Shepstone lighthouse

The Port Shepstone Lighthouse was completed in 1905.

Photo © Claire Herbert

The Port Shepstone Lighthouse was built in 1905 and is painted in a black and white check pattern. It is a quaint structure that stands on the south bank of the Umzimkulu River where it spills into the Indian Ocean.

The light flashes every 6 seconds and is visible for up to 26 sea miles. When it was constructed Port Shepstone actually had an operational harbour.

Accommodation in Port Shepstone

The lighthouse is fully automatic and has it's own back up power generators in case the main electricity supply goes off. It is made of cast iron and has a circumference of 8 metres.

References and further reading

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Richmond Museum

Richmond Museum

The Richmond Museum

Photo © Steven Herbert

The town of Richmond, in KwaZulu-Natal, really has a multicultural heritage and this is evident in the exhibits at the Richmond Museum.

The area around Richmond is perhaps best known as the land where the Byrne Settlers settled in 1850. The museum has exhibits that show the tough life that faced these immigrants. Included in the exhibits are clothing and furniture.

Accommodation in Richmond, KZN

Another exhibit describes what happened at the ‘Trewirgie’ incident and the Bambatha Rebellion.

Other exhibits at the Richmond Museum highlight the cultures of the Zulu and Indian communities.

Tank at Richmond Museum

Above - Tank outside the Richmond Museum

Photo © Steven Herbert

References and further reading

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Skyline Nature Reserve

Afrikaans name: Skyline Natuur Reservaat

Coastal forest at Skyline Nature Reserve

Photo © Steven Herbert

Skyline Nature Reserve was founded in 1962 and is situated between Margate and Uvongo. It is a small reserve that has a large diversity of trees and other plant life.

Besides the hundreds of species of trees there is the chance of seeing mammals such as Bushbuck and Blue and Grey Duiker. The reserve is home to a number of bird species as well.

Accommodation in Margate

There are a few short trails through the reserve.

Opening times: 07h00 to 17h00 all year round. Entrance is free and there are no facilities available. Skyline Nature Reserve is administered by Ezemvelo KZN Wildlife.

Some of the birds that may be seen at Skyline Nature Reserve

Natal Spurfowl

White-faced Duck

Egyptian Goose

Spur-winged Goose

African Black Duck

Yellow-billed Duck

Lesser Honeyguide

Black-collared Barbet

Crowned Hornbill

Trumpeter Hornbill

African Hoopoe

Narina Trogon

Malachite Kingfisher

Brown-hooded Kingfisher

Little Bee-eater

Speckled Mousebird

Diderick Cuckoo

Burchell's Coucal

Knysna Turaco

Purple-crested Turaco

Spotted Eagle-Owl

Laughing Dove

Cape Turtle-Dove

Red-eyed Dove

Emerald-spotted Wood-Dove

Tambourine Dove

Blacksmith Lapwing

Black Kite

African Fish-Eagle

African Goshawk

Little Sparrowhawk

Steppe Buzzard

Long-crested Eagle

Black-headed Heron

Hamerkop

Hadeda Ibis

Black-headed Oriole

Square-tailed Drongo

Fork-tailed Drongo

African Paradise-Flycatcher

Black-backed Puffback

Southern Boubou

Chinspot Batis

Pied Crow

Grey Cuckooshrike

Southern Black Tit

Barn Swallow

Dark-capped Bulbul

Sombre Greenbul

Cape White-eye

Rufous-naped Lark

Olive Thrush

Southern Black Flycatcher

African Dusky Flycatcher

Red-capped Robin-Chat

White-browed Scrub-Robin

Red-winged Starling

Black-bellied Starling

Cape Glossy Starling

Common Myna

Olive Sunbird

Grey Sunbird

Amethyst Sunbird

Collared Sunbird

Spectacled Weaver

Yellow Weaver

Village Weaver

Southern Red Bishop

Thick-billed Weaver

Common Waxbill

Bronze Mannikin

Red-backed Mannikin

Pin-tailed Whydah

House Sparrow

Southern Grey-headed Sparrow

Yellow-throated Longclaw

Yellow-fronted Canary

Golden-breasted Bunting

References and further reading

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Tugela River

Afrikaans name: Tugelarivier

Bergville

Tugela River near Bergville

Photo © Steven Herbert

With a length of 502 km the Tugela River, also known as the Thukela River, is the longest river in KwaZulu-Natal.

It begins its journey to the sea high up in the Drakensberg Mountains where it tumbles down 947 metres at the Tugela Falls. It eventually flows into the Indian Ocean.

The Tugela River is fed by numerous other rivers including the Mooi River, Klip River, Blood River and Sundays River.

Near Winterton

The Tugela River near Winterton

Photo © Steven Herbert

Road bridge across the Thukela River

The road bridge over the river near the town of Tugela

Photo © Steven Herbert

Railway bridge

Railway bridge near the town of Tugela

Photo © Steven Herbert

References and further reading

Conolly's Guide to Southern Africa - Author: Denis Conolly - Year Published: 1982 - Page: 199

Getaway - Vol 31 No 04 - Author: - Year Published: 2019 - Page: 48

Reader's Digest Illustrated Guide to Southern Africa - 4th edition - Author: - Year Published: 1986 - Page: 348

Wild Issue 32 - Author: - Year Published: 2015 - Page: 74

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Winterton Museum

Winterton Museum

Behind the Winterton Museum building

Photo © Steven Herbert

The Winterton Museum is housed in an old house, just off the main street, as you enter Winterton from the N3 freeway side.

Inside the building there are collections of books, photographs and items from the battles between the British and Boers and in particular the Battle of Spioenkop.

Accommodation in Winterton

In the back yard there are a number of exhibits of old agricultural implements and Zulu bee-hive huts.

One of the most interesting exhibits is housed in an open shed at the back. It is the motorhome used by Rear Admiral John Weston and his family to tour South Africa and beyond.

The museum is open on weekdays and on Saturday mornings. It is closed on Sundays and public holidays.

Winterton Museum

Above - John Weston motor home

Photo © Steven Herbert

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