South Coast – Vernon Crookes Nature Reserve
About the Birding
Vernon Crookes Nature Reserve is one of the most important protected areas in southern KwaZulu-Natal, covering an immense area of approximately 2189 hectares. It preserves a magnificent stretch of coastal grassland and coastal forest. The reserve was named after a distinguished local sugar baron and it is under the control of KZN Wildlife. At its closest point, the reserve is about 13km inland from the coast though the influence of the rich Indian Ocean is profound and many of the forests are supplemented by warm moist air carried inland off the sea.
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.
Other Related Information
This reserve is marked on most popular road maps. The turnoff to Vernon Crookes is well signposted from the N2 freeway linking Durban and Port Shepstone, and turns inland to Highflats/Ixopo at the Park Rynie/Umzinto flyover. Follow the R612 inland, bypassing Umzinto, for about 12,5km. The turnoff to the reserve is on the right of the road and it is adequately signposted. Follow the gravel road, taking note of the signboards along this route, the main entrance is about 6km off the tar road.