GPS CO-ORDINATES 31d46’19″E 28d57’24.74″S

Our Resort of the Month is the Umlalazi Nature Reserve (UMNR) near the picturesque town of Mtunzini on the coast just south of Richards Bay in KwaZulu-Natal. This delightful little coastal resort has much to offer to the visitor. Situated on the Umlalazi River amongst the most wonderful coastal forests, the UMNR offers a host of attractions such as chalets, camping, self-guided trails, canoeing, and a lovely, clean and unspoiled beach. It is also a bird-watcher’s paradise – in this regard please refer to the accompanying article on birding in the Umlalazi Nature Reserve.


The resort offers 12 x 4-bed wooden chalets – six of these have only single beds, and six have queen-size beds and two single beds. Please make sure you stipulate clearly which bed combination you require when you make your booking! Each chalet is fully equipped with crockery, cutlery and bedding.


There are two campsites at Umlalazi. The Inkwazi campsite has 36 sites, while the Indaba campsite has 14. Both are five to ten minutes walk from the beach. All campsites have plug points and are serviced by ablution facilities with hot and cold water. The Indaba campsite has more privacy in that it is surrounded by trees, while the Inkwazi campsite has a playground and laundry facility.

While the risk of contracting malaria is pretty low, we suggest you consult your health practitioner in this regard.


Limited water-skiing and good fishing are enjoyed in the lagoon. Crocodiles and sharks may be present at times, so please exercise extreme caution whilst in the area. The beach is popular for swimming, surfing, windsurfing, angling and other water sports, but please note that there are no shark nets or life guards present. Recreational facilities include trampolines, a tennis wall, swings and other playground equipment.

Ski-boats are usually launched in the lagoon. At present the uMlalazi Ski-boat club is responsible for the inspection of boats and as they are situated just outside the reserve, it is easy to reach from the boom gate. Power boat users are required to produce a valid skipper’s licence before they can be permitted to launch their boats. Due to the shortage of water on occasion, we appeal to visitors not to wash any vessel in the reserve. All boats used in the reserve must be registered with Ezemvelo KZN Wildlife before being launched. Visitors participating in any boating activities must have all the safety equipment as required by law on board and must wear life-jackets at all times while on the water.

Three trails have been laid out in the reserve. There is an easy walk through one of the best examples of mangrove swamp forest in South Africa where several different species of mangrove trees can be seen. The second trail leads through coastal dune forest and offers possible sightings of bushpig, bushbuck, red, grey and blue duiker . A third trail leads through coastal dune forest and mangrove swamp forest along the edge of the uMlalazi River and offers possible sightings of a variety of aquatic birds as well as wild flowers in the grassy areas. Look out for the fascinating mudskipper fish and watch the waving antics of colourful fiddler crabs on the mudflats. A trail map and a complete bird list is available from the reception office.


In general:
• Food supplies, beach equipment, medical facilities and other supplies are available in Mtunzini village.
• Curios, souvenirs, charcoal, bait (sardines, shrimp and squid) may be purchased from the reception office during reception office hours.
• Canoes for use on the river are available for hire from the reception office.
• Fuel and oil can be obtained at the filling station just outside Mtunzini.
• A washing machine and tumble drier are available for residents’ use.
• No pets are allowed in the reserve.
• Portable generators are not allowed.
• Please consult your healthcare practitioner/pharmacist about the advisability of taking malaria precautions.
• The entrance gates to the reserve open at 05:00 and close at 22:00 throughout the year.

Reservations for all accommodation can be made through Ezemvelo KZN Wildlife Reservations, PO Box 13069, Cascades, 3202. Telephone +27 (0) 33 845 1000 or fax +27 (0) 33 845 1001 email: Website:

Use this link to visit the Umlalazi page on the Ezemvelo KZN Wildlife website:

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