About 15 kms past Dlinza Forest on the road to Nkandla is the turn-off to the Ntumeni Nature Reserve, which is often overlooked by visitors to Dlinza. Sadly, because where Dlinza can be sombre – Zulu legends always connect it with burials and meditation – Ntumeni is enchanting and historically it has a happy association with the dashing younger brother of King Cetshwayo, Prince Dabulamanzi, who had his Royal homestead near the forest.
The 750-hectare Reserve is the forest of one’s childhood fantasies. It has a particularly high and impressive canopy provided by trees such as the Giant umzimbeet, the African Wild Plum and Flatcrowns.
It is filled with fern-covered gorges and waterfalls and the understorey is open and uncrowded making it easy to spot the gems of the forest which are its cycads and colonies of clivia.
It was here that the celebrated yellow clivia (Clivia miniata var. citrina) was discovered in the 1880s and grown by the Resident Commissioner Sir Melmoth Osborn in his garden in Eshowe.
Get a new perspective of life in the forest from the the 125-metre Aerial Boardwalk which leaves from the Visitor Centre and is soon in the leafy canopy high above the forest floor.
It is wheelchair friendly up to the final observation tower which is 20m high and offers superb views of the forest and the distant countryside.
There is a wealth of information – from birds to butterflies – on display in the Visitor Centre which will enrich your visit to this beautiful forest.
There is also a refreshment kiosk, wheelchair-friendly toilet facilities, birding hide and several picnic sites on the fringe of the forest near the car park.
Trained guides are available at the Centre and can be hired to accompany visitors along the boardwalk.
A highlight to Ntumeni is the wild flowers that can be seen
in the forest and in the grassland around the forest.