Southern Zululand – Richard’s Bay Southern Sanctuary
About the Birding
Southern Sanctuary is listed as an Important Bird Area by BirdLife South Africa and is comprised of the Umhlatuze Lagoon and sand banks to the south of the harbour berm wall and extending east to the new mouth. It encompasses estuarine mud flats, sand banks and mangroves; the latter encroaching on the sand banks. These areas are among some of the richest shorebird watching sites in South Africa.
About the Birding Site
Southern Zululand is perhaps the premier forest birding route in all of KwaZulu-Natal, home to a rich diversity of species in a mix of different habitats. Starting on the warm coast of Zululand, between Mtunzini and Richard’s Bay, the route offers many estuarine swamp forests supporting impressive numbers of threatened species including the Mangrove Kingfisher and Black-throated Wattle-eye. Coastal forests here are equally rich in species and are perhaps the best areas anywhere in South Africa to search for the Spotted Ground Thrush (mainly a winter visitor) and Palm-nut Vulture.
Other Related Information
To reach the mudflats at Southern Sanctuary, enter the harbour area at the Portnet customs gate and continue for 6km crossing a central canal on a long bridge that sweeps left onto the berm wall. Park near the green roofed warehouse and walk across the main road and down to the mudflats.
Notable points of interest include the:
Portnet customs gate: -28.788660, 32.026305