Umgeni Valley Nature Reserve

📍Howick, KZN

Situated just below the Howick Falls on the Umgeni River, this nature reserves offers 5 signature hiking trails ranging from 3km – 7km, with a few shorter 1.5km trails also available.

🥳Fun factor: it was a lovely way to start the morning, driving and walking through this expansive picturesque reserve. We wandered amidst zebra, wildebeest, impala, eland and bushbuck, walked through indigenous forest, along the dolerite cliff line and made our last stop at the mesmerising gorge.

🏋🏾‍♀️Fitness level required: for everyone. The trails differ in distance and technical difficulty accommodating all levels of fitness.

👧🏽Suitability for kids: yes. They’ll love the natural pools along the Shelter Falls trail especially on a hot day.

💸Cost: R35pp

🤩What we loved most: we love that we got to see and be amongst so much game in this beautiful expansive reserve. The variety of trails is a definite plus and with the option to camp overnight (tents or chalets), you wouldn’t be short of hiking/walking options and vast area to explore. Although it was quite overgrown, we were charmed by the natural rock features, waterfalls, and wooden walkways in the indigenous forest.

🚦What you need to know: some of the trails are overgrown & as a result, tricky to navigate. We had to abort mission along Dwarf’s Dawdle but made it all the way along Shelter Trail. Ask at reception before you head out so that you aren’t frustrated.

In short: “If we surrendered to earth’s intelligence we could rise up rooted, like trees.” – Rainer Maria Rilke