Beachwood Mangrove Reserve

On the North Banks of the Umgeni River mouth lies a verdant belt of Mangroves, home to prolific and unique flora and fauna.
Beachwood Mangroves Nature Reserve was proclaimed in 1977 and the Mangrove Swamps were proclaimed as a National Monument in 1977.
The Beachwood Mangroves is a 76 hectare reserve and provides a fascinating glimpse into an unusual yet vital ecosystem.
With three species of protected Mangrove trees, the red, black and white mangroves, the reserve offers visitors a chance to view a number of animal species peculiar to the area, including mudskippers, fiddler crabs and the mangrove kingfisher.
The Mangroves are a valuable ecosystem, protecting land from storm erosion, trapping sediment washed down by the Mgeni River, acting as a nursery for fish and prawns and acting as a “carbon sink”.

Unfortunately this rare and fragile reserve is constantly under threat, with pollution being a major concern.
A trip to the Mangroves with a walk along the adjacent beach leaves no doubt as to the magnitude of this problem.
Threats to this area are by no means recent.
In 1971, 7000 m3  of sand was removed to construct an all‐weather horse training track at Summerveld, with devastating effects on the estuary.
On the Northern side, large area of dunes were removed flattened to become a parking area for fishermen.

Interesting facts:

Prior to the 1850’s the Mgeni River never entered the sea at the current location of its mouth.
The river was connected to Durban Bay via a series of lakes and swamps.
The Beachwood area was a series of swamps extending as far north as La Lucia – Approximately 10km.
Over time, with development and infilling of the swamps and lakes, floods, along with wind and wave action, led to the formation of the Mgeni River mouth in its current location.

The Beachwood Mangroves are open to the Public every 3rd Saturday of the month, from 8:00am to 1:00pm, (by appointment only outside these time), and an elevated wheelchair friendly boardwalk make it easily accessible for all.

For nature lovers and those with children this is a must visit.

Access from Durban is via the Ruth First (m4) Freeway travelling North.
Cross the Mgeni River over the Ellis Brown viaduct at Blue Lagoon, and take the first off ramp to the left.
This leads to Riverside Road/Prospect Hall Road.    Bear sharp left and proceed for 50 m, then take a sharp left turn into the entrance to Beachwood Mangroves Nature Reserve.

Contact number: (at the time of this article being produced) : 082 559 2839