Durban and surrounds – Beachwood Mangroves

About the Birding

The Beachwood Mangroves are situated just 6km north of Durban central, protecting a small area of indigenous mangrove vegetation besides the Umgeni Estuary. The area is controlled by Ezemvelo KZN Wildlife and a small hide and resource centre have been set up near the mangroves. Several short walks also lead through the mangrove system, including a short path that leads through the nearby dune vegetation; both habitats full of interesting plant and animal life. In the mangrove vegetation, search for Black-throated Wattle-eye, Green Malkoha, Purple-banded Sunbird, and Mangrove Kingfisher (mainly in winter).

The dune scrub supports a small population of Square-tailed Nightjar, as well as breeding White-fronted Plover and Little Bee-eater. The surrounding scrub and fringing grasslands support Red-faced, Rattling and Rufous-winged Cisticolas, as well as Southern Tchagra; the latter best detected by its descending trill call.

Key species:

Black-throated Wattle-eye, Mangrove Kingfisher, Green Malkoha, Square-tailed Nightjar

About the Birding Site

The eThekwini Metropolitan Area (Durban) is a major harbour city situated on the east coast of South Africa. It serves as the most accessible port of entry into the KwaZulu-Natal province with daily flights to all other major cities in South Africa, and further afield (e.g. Mauritius, Dubai). The city and surrounding towns are popular among holidaymakers, given the sub-tropical climate and extensive beaches along the rich waters of the Indian Ocean. Moreover, the city falls within a global biodiversity hotspot – the Maputaland-Pondolona-Albany (MPA) Hotspot.

This region is home to more than 7000 species of plant, more than 25% of which are found nowhere else on Earth. The variety of landforms and sub-tropical climatic conditions, combined with its unique biogeographical position, have resulted in a range of aquatic (wetlands, rivers, estuaries) and terrestrial (mainly forests and coastal grasslands) environments which additionally support a plethora of interesting bird, mammal, reptile and amphibian species. The eThekwini area contains three of South Africa’s eight biomes (namely savanna, forest and grasslands), and supports more than 2000 plant species, 82 terrestrial mammals, 69 reptiles, 25 endemic invertebrates and well over 500 bird species – making it South Africa’s most biodiverse city, by far. To be expected then, the region offers a variety of prime birding spots featuring a number of South Africa’s most sought-after bird species. Top among these are the Spotted Ground Thrush, Mangrove Kingfisher, Buff-spotted Flufftail, Green Malkoha, and Knysna Woodpecker. Durban is also well known for its variety of waders and marine species, often turning up rarities such as the Lesser Black-backed Gull. Key sites within the eThekwini Metropolitan Area include Tala Game Reserve, Pigeon Valley and Krantzkloof Nature Reserves, Durban Bay Head and the Durban National Botanical Gardens.

In addition, as a further attraction to this rich region, the eThewkini Natural Science Museum has world-class ornithological displays and collections.

Key species:

Black-throated Wattle-eye, Mangrove Kingfisher, Green Malkoha, Square-tailed Nightjar

Other Related Information

The Beachwood Mangroves are situated on the seaward side of the M4. When heading north, take the first turnoff after crossing the bridge and, after a short distance, turn sharp left onto a gravel road and follow this into the parking area for the Beachwood Mangroves. All trails and the boardwalk lead from the main parking area.

Notable points of interest include the:
Main parking area: -29.8077, 31.0383

Other related information:

Access and facilities:
The Mangroves are opened to the public on the third Saturday of every month (08:00-13:00), during which an Honorary Officer will be in attendance to answer any questions. Organized bird walks depart from the main parking area on these days, starting at 08:00. There is no admission charge on these open mornings, but a donation box is provided, and soft drinks are available for sale. However, note that the Beachwood Mangroves are closed to the public on all other days of the month and are accessible only by prior arrangement only (call 072 339 6113 to arrange your visit). There is a small charge for group bookings, with the exceptions of recognised educational groups. Safe parking, toilet and picnic and braai facilities are all available.

Recommended accommodation nearby:
Diverse accommodation options are available in the city of Durban to suit all budgets and requirements. A number of Birder Friendly Establishments are also available within the wider eThekwini Metropolitan Area including Camperdown/Kloof/Pietermaritzburg.

For more information, view:

Local guide information:
No community bird guides are currently available within the wider eThekwini Metropolitan Area.

Text prepared by:
Daniel Keith Danckwerts (Rockjumper Worldwide Birding Tours)

Key species:

Black-throated Wattle-eye, Mangrove Kingfisher, Green Malkoha, Square-tailed Nightjar

Contact details:

For more information, or to arrange a visit, please contact:

Beachwood Mangroves
Tel: +27 (0)72 339 6113

Alternatively, contact:

eThekwini Municipality
Tel: +27 (0)31 274 1150