Hiking, Trails and Routes

ID #4526

Zululand Birding Route – Eshowe District, Eshowe, Zululand, Northern Kwa-Zulu Natal.

Home to some of the best forest birds in South Africa. Eshowe, with the Ongoye, Dlinza and Ntumeni forests, offers a number of “specials” and numerous common forest species.

• Dlinza Forest. Southwestern side of Eshowe.  20 pairs of endangered spotted ground thrush, two pairs of black sparrowhawk as well as crowned eagle breed in the forest. Keep a lookout for Delegorgue’s pigeon, green twinspot, green coucal, narina trogon, emerald cuckoo, olive bush shrike, scaly-throated and lesser honeyguides, olive woodpecker, grey cuckooshrike, red-backed mannikin, wood owl, purple-crested lourie, chorister robin, lemon dove, terrestrial brownbul, grey and collared sunbirds and white-eared barbet.  Drive along Kangella Street in the direction of Nkandla. Turn left into Oftebro Street at the Dlinza Forest sign. Park near the picnic sites. The canopy boardwalk is easily accessible. A 1-km path winds through the forest from the picnic sites to the other entrance in Saunders Street. Features include the canopy boardwalk, bird hide, picnic sites and ablution facilities. Open at 07h00. The gates are locked at 17h00. Kwa-Zulu Natal Conservation Services. No permit required.
• Ongoye Forest.  Famous for being the only location where the green barbet is found.  You should see most of the birds found in the Dlinza and Ntumeni Forests as well as forest buzzard, yellow-streaked greenbul, pygmy kingfisher and striped pitpit. Keep a lookout for the numbered fig trees. 36.4 km from Eshowe and 21.3 km from Mtunzini. The route to Ongoye from both Eshowe and Mtunzini is complicated. Detailed route maps are available from the Zululand Birding Route office in Eshowe.  A guide and a 4x4 vehicle (in summer) are strongly recommended. Kwa-Zulu Natal Conservation Services. Open from 07h00 through 17h00. No permit required. An entrance fee is payable.
• Theunissen’s Dam. Lookout for African yellow and thick-billed weavers, red bishop and dabchick. Specials include the great painted snipe, but you may also see black-crowned night heron, goliath heron, black crake, African jacana, dabchick, all the white egrets, geese swallows, martins and duck. In summer, you can also see waders, terns and black-backed cisticolas. At the far end of the dam is a breeding colony of white-breasted cormorants. Near the spillway, water dikkop, African fish eagle, waders and crowned crane. 85 species recorded here. Permission required from Craig Theunissen. +27 (35) 337 1504. Head towards the N2 from Eshowe on the N66. Pass the Gingindhlovu turnoff on the right and travel a further one km. Turn left at the signboard “High Rain Farm, Craig and Sue Theunissen, Residence Only”. Cross a cattle grid and travel a further 1-km until you reach a small dam on the left.
• Amatikulu Nature Reserve. Bordering the Indian Ocean north of the Tugela, this reserve boasts five unique eco-systems – estuarine, dune scrub, dune forest, coastal riverine and coastal forest. Birding is spectacular. Coastal grassland birding includes Ayres’, rattling, fan-tailed and croaking cisticolas. See red-billed oxpeckers on the giraffe. Look out for flycatchers, pitpits, longclaws, shrikes, starlings, sunbirds, weavers, widows and crested guineafowl in the odd patches of forest.  See crakes, cranes, jacanas, plovers stilts, sandpipers, stints, black-throated wattle-eye and white-fronted bee-eater at the estuary. Open from 07h00 to 17h00. Kwa-Zulu Natal Conservation Services. No permit required. Walking and canoe trails, picnic sites and ablution facilities. Travel on the R66 from Eshowe, pass through the Dokodweni Toll Plaza onto the N2 and continue until you see the Amatikulu Nature Reserve signboard.  Turn left and follow the signs.
• Dreadnought Walking Trail. Listen for crowned eagle. Lookout for African crested flycatcher, mountain wagtail, African black duck, grey waxbill, purple-crested lourie, black-bellied starling and dusky and ashy flycatchers. After passing a clump of clivia miniata, keep a watch for African finfoot, half-collared kingfisher, green coucal, woodpeckers and bulbuls.  The walk ends at a picturesque waterfall.  Take the Ntumeni/Nkandla road from Eshowe. After 13.2-km, turn left at the Ntumeni Nature Reserve signpost. Travel a further 8.4-km and turn right onto the D397 road. Proceed for 4.4 km. Pass Farm Watch sign 9.6 and the signboard “Mr L Gunther”. Continue down a decline, cross the first stream. Just after the second stream, turn right. Park in the parking area. Permission is required from Louis Gunther +27 (35) 474 9004.
• Ntumeni Forest. Birds similar to those seen in Dlinza Forest may be seen. You might also see African broadbill, Rameron pigeon, brown scrub-robin, yellow-streaked greenbul, yellow-throated woodland warbler, mountain wagtail and black cuckoo. On the forest edge lookout for Drakensberg prinia, lazy and croaking cisticolas and southern tchagra. Listen for Shelley’s francolin. Open 07h00 through 17h00. Kwa-Zulu Natal Nature Conservation Services. West of Eshowe along Kangella Street in the direction of Nkandla. After 13.2-km turn left and continue for 3.5-km. The entrance and a picnic site are on the right.  Two energetic walks take one and three hours respectively.
• Goedetrou Dam. Keep an eye out for Thornveld species such as Jacobin cuckoo, robin-chats, weavers, starlings and white-tailed widows.  See duck, waders, swallow, speckled pigeon, red-shouldered widow, rock martin, cormorant, dusky and ashy flycatchers. Below the dam wall lookout for half-collared kingfisher, African black duck and little bee-eater. Travel on the R66 from Eshowe in the direction of Nkwalini and turn left at the Goedetrou Dam signpost.

Eshowe is on the R68 north of Gingindlovu, which is on the N2 northeast of Durban, which is at the intersection of the N2 with the N3. AUZueshowe. 

Contct:   Hamish Mclaggan
   Box 266 Eshowe 3815
   +27 (3547) 41234 telephone office
   +27 (3547) 42531 telephone home
   e-mail: zulubird@iafrica.com
   web: www.birding.co.za/zulubird/


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Last update: 2009-07-12 02:39
Author: Alan McIver
Revision: 1.0

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