South Coast – T.C. Robertson Nature Reserve

About the Birding

T.C. Robertson Nature Reserve is situated on the outskirts of the coastal town of Scottburgh on the south bank of the Mpambanyoni River close to its mouth. It is about 60ha in extent and was established in 1989. It is named after the famous author, ecologist and conservationist Dr. Thomas Chalmers Robertson, who lived the past 16 years of his life in Scottburgh. The reserve is part of the townlands of Scottburgh.

Specials to look out for are African Fish Eagle, Blacksmith Lapwing, Village and Eastern Golden Weavers, Water Thick-knee, Common and Wood Sandpipers, Little Rush Warbler, Terrestrial Brownbul, Yellow-bellied Greenbul, Brown Scrub-robin, Red-capped Robin-chat, Chorister Robin-chat (winter), White-starred Robin (winter), Spotted Ground Thrush (winter), Green Malkoha, Yellow-throated Longclaw, Barratt’s Warbler, African Goshawk, African Harrier-Hawk and Black Sparrowhawk.

Key species:

Brown Scrub-robin, Spotted Ground Thrush, Green Malkoha, Black Sparrowhawk

About the Birding Site

The South Coast Birding Route in KwaZulu-Natal – spanning from Durban to the southern provincial border between KwaZulu-Natal and the Eastern Cape – comprises a variety of rich sub-tropical habitats ranging from coastal and inland wetlands to extensive grasslands, woodlands and forests. The forest birding to be had in this region is arguably some of the best anywhere in South Africa, featuring an interesting community of birds that is intermediate between the rich afromontane and coastal forests.

It is the only route within KwaZulu-Natal where these two diverse forest assemblages overall and, for this reason, birding in this area is extremely rewarding. Several species reach their northernmost limits within this route including the sought-after Knysna Woodpecker and Knysna Warbler, while other notable highlights include the Magpie Mannikin, Knynsa Turaco, and Red-headed Quelea. Moreover, the route boasts many of KwaZulu-Natal’s most revered birding sites including Vernon Crookes Nature Reserve, Oribi Gorge Nature Reserve and the Weza-Ngele Forest among others. Several days are recommended in the area to afford yourself with the best chances of finding the most sought-after species.

Key species:

Brown Scrub-robin, Spotted Ground Thrush, Green Malkoha, Black Sparrowhawk

Other Related Information

Take the old South Coast main road to Scottburgh. The turn off to the reserve is situated on the southern side of the bridge over the Mpambinyoni river. The entrance is sign posted requiring a sharp turn to the right if you approach from the north (Durban).

Notable points of interest include the:
Main entrance: -30.2810, 30.7543

Other related information:

Access and facilities:
The reserve is open to day visitors only and no entrance fee is payable at the gate. There are several picnic and braai sites in the reserve, as well as toilets. A system of trails of about 10km in length covers all habitats in the reserve.

Recommended accommodation nearby:
The nearest Birder Friendly Establishments are in the nearby village of Margate. For more information, please visit:
Diverse accommodation options are also available in the coastal village of Scottburgh.

Local guide information:
The nearest BirdLife Community Guide operates out of Umtamvuna Nature Reserve and Oribi Gorge. For more information, please contact: Mpendulo Innocent Mzindle on cell: +27 (0)73 893 0241. Alternatively, please visit:

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

Key species:

Brown Scrub-robin, Spotted Ground Thrush, Green Malkoha, Black Sparrowhawk

Contact details: