10 Best Hiking Trails in Durban - 2018
10 Best Hiking Trails in Durban - 2018
Title Image
10 Best Hiking Trails in Durban - 2018
Durban has a wide variety of hiking and trail running routes to try out, we’ve listed the best and most recommended ones here for you to go and experience.
Title Image

10 Best Hiking Trails in Durban - 2018

Durban has a wide variety of hiking and trail running routes to try out, we’ve listed the best and most recommended ones here for you to go and experience.
Title Image
10 Best Hiking Trails in Durban - 2018
Durban has a wide variety of hiking and trail running routes to try out, we’ve listed the best and most recommended ones here for you to go and experience.

Durban and the surrounds are absolutely brimming with natural green spaces and reserves,durbanites have no excuse to not take advantage of the warm weather and fantastic outdoor spaces to get into nature and do a hike or trail run.

There are a variety of spots, some, close to the city, others further and deeper in nature but there is something for everyone in this list of trails and routes.

Remember to be prepared with correct equipment and plenty of water on your hiking trail adventures this summer.

Hiking routes around the country:

Don't forget to check what's happening in Durban this weekend.

Quick JumpBurman Bush Nature ReserveBallito North to Salt RockUmhlanga Lagoon Nature ReserveBeachwood Mangroves Nature ReserveGiba Gorge Nature ReserveParadise Valley Nature ReserveVirginia Bush Nature ReserveShongweni DamKenneth Stainbank Nature ReserveRoosfontein Nature Reserve (Herbie's Hike)

Burman Bush Nature Reserve

While Burman is generally small compared to its neighbours, it can provide a great opportunity for a quick trail run after work or a slow-paced walk to enjoy nature.

Explore nature at Burman Bush Nature Reserve@bryanfunz

The three trails mean that trail runners can easily practice building up stamina by combining trails or completing them in a loop, while still enjoying the superb fauna and flora selection that the reserve offers.

The reserve is a great example of a Coastal Bush environment (rare in recent years after the expansion of suburban areas).

Some of the wonderful birdlife that calls the reserve home include; the Yellow Billed Kite, Spotted Eagle Owl and the Lanner falcon.

You may also be visited by the reserves primate inhabitants. Velvet monkeys also live on the reserve and are quite people-friendly, but visitors are advised not to feed these fury friends.

There are 15 lookout points along the reserve marked with benches, so make sure to take some time to admire the views.

  • Location:
    • Burman Dr, Morningside
  • Distance:
    • Pithi Trail - 500m
    • Hadeda Trail - 1 km
    • Forrest Olive Trail - 2 km
  • Elevation:
    • Slopped
  • Estimated Time:
    • Pithi Trail - 30 min walking
    • Hadeda Trail - 1 hour walking
    • Forrest Olive Trail - 2 hour walking
  • General Contact:
    • 031 201 1303
  • Map:

Ballito North to Salt Rock

This beach is a great place to walk or hike because you can create your own route.

create your own beach adventure at Ballito Northafrica_thru_my_lens

The walk from Salt Rock caravan park to Ballito North is about 4.4 km but you can decide to go further for a more intense hike, or stop along the route for a swim at one of the tidal pools for a more leisurely walk.

The walk is mostly flat but the route can be changed to include more beach sand or road depending on your preference.

Along the way you’ll pass Charlie’s pool (an olympic-sized swimming pool) and Shaka’s rock, where Shaka Zulu is said to have thrown his enemies to their death off the cliff.

The last stretch of the walk takes hikers over Umhlali Beach.

  • Location:
    • Hotel Rd, Salt Rock, Dolphin Coast
  • Distance:
    • 4.4km - 7km
  • Elevation:
    • Flat
  • Estimated Time:
    • 1 - 2 hours
  • General Contact:
    • 032 525 5025
  • Map:

Umhlanga Lagoon Nature Reserve

Nestled in the centre of Umhlanga, this trail is great for new runners or hikers with children. The path begins opposite the entrance to the Breakers hotel and takes hikers through the reserve, with routes that lead out to the Durban promenade.

become a conservation warrior at Umhlanga Lagoon Nature Reserve@planet_marco

Many hikers who frequent this trail suggest arranging a guided tour of the reserve at the Breakers hotel to fully appreciate the history and conservation of the reserve (especially if it your first time on this trail).

The terrain is a combination of wetlands, coastal and forest environments with some dunes. Because of this unique environment so near to the beach, it provides a refuge for many animals and plants from the sometimes-hostile ocean weather.

Umhlanga is also not as populated in the summer as some of the more popular beaches, making a great place to relax after your walk.

The reserve has some fascinating features like two boardwalks and an Iron Age shell midden from 600 AD.

Hunter gatherers of the time would collect mussels and other shellfish from rocks along the beach and discard the shells in a pile.

After time, the shells build up and start to resemble a dune or a rock and are often naturally preserved because of their compactness.

See how others did on this hike here.

  • Location:
    • Hawaan, Blackburn
  • Distance:
    • 2 km
  • Estimated Time:
    • 1 hours
  • General Contact:
    • 031 205 1271
  • Map:

Beachwood Mangroves Nature Reserve

This haven between the sea and the Umgeni river is a conservation hotspot.

discover strange creatures at Beachwood Mangroves Nature Reserve@floris.vdbeek

Perfect for a hike (rather than a trail run) with its long winding boardwalks, it also has a variety of natural environments, from swampy marsh, to beach sand and tropical-looking mangroves.

This trail is well-photographed because of its natural beauty and secluded wonder.

Travel the maze of boardwalks along the reserve and take some time to look out for the infamous fiddler crab (with one large pincher) which lives in large numbers in the sands and swamps on the reserve.

  • Location:
    • Riverside Rd, Prospect Hall
  • Elevation:
    • Flat
  • Estimated Time:
    • 1 - 2 hours
  • General Contact:
    • 082 559 2839
  • Map:

Giba Gorge Nature Reserve

While the nature reserve is primarily a mountain biking location, it does also host a maze of running trails and actively organizes running events both during the day, and more recently, at night.

EXPERIENCE THE MAGIC OF Giba Gorge Nature Reserve@blackheart_2017

This trail can be a beautiful run to experience with three large waterfalls, indigenous flowers and a variety of birdlife.

Some of the trails lead hikers to some breathtaking views of the grasslands and koppies.

The trail has many well-maintained amenities including a camping site with bathrooms, showers, a horse riding trail and a first aid station.

Spring is the best time to visit this trail.

  • Location:
    • 110 Stockville Rd, Tollgate, Pinetown
  • Elevation:
    • Hilly
  • Estimated Time:
    • Varying trails
  • General Contact:
    • 031 769 1527
  • Map:

Paradise Valley Nature Reserve

Paradise valley is host to four trails of relatively short distances, but the unique views and spectacular scenery encourage you to visit often.

VISIT a historical site at Paradise Valley Nature Reserve@purush_puri

While the four trails are not as long as some of the other hiking spots on this list, they do vary in difficulty, with the Dormouse Trail being the steepest and longest.

For new hiking enthusiasts, this is a great introduction to the beauties of nature and hiking, while more experienced hikers can combine trails or do multiple laps through the looping trails to extent their walking distance.

Some attractions to be spotted on the trail are bubbling waterfalls and the The Umbilo Waterworks, a historical site in the area.

  • Location:
    • 10 Oxford Rd, Pinetown
  • Distance:
    • Waterfall Trail - 705m
    • Duiker Trail - 642m
    • Bushbuck Trail - 861m
    • Dormouse Trail - 1315m
  • Elevation:
    • Waterfall Trail - Gentle walk
    • Duiker Trail - Mild walk
    • Bushbuck Trail - Mild-steep walk
    • Dormouse Trail - Steep walk
  • General Contact:
    • 031 702 3443
  • Map:

Virginia Bush Nature Reserve

While it is still close to many busy streets, the noise of traffic disappears as you enter the Virginia Bush Nature Reserve.

Witness breathtaking views from Virginia Bush Nature Reserve@ellen__jonker

Perfect for trail running, hiking or bird watching, the reserve is also dog-friendly.

The walk is roughly 2 km long but will take you up to two hours to complete.

Many of the tree varieties are labeled for hikers convenience and the walk crosses over a small bridge and hill with spectacular views.

  • Location:
    • Adelaide Tambo Dr, Durban North
  • Distance: approximately 2 km
  • Elevation:
    • Varying but sloped at times
  • Estimated Time:
    • 1 - 2 hours
  • General Contact:
    • 031 563 6777
  • Map:

Shongweni Dam

The Shongweni dam hiking trails allow you to experience the african wildlife more than most routes.

experience the wild Shongweni Dam@anthony_george_kirkwood

This is not a trail you can expect to run, as most hikers take the time to experience the wildlife around the reserve with a guided tour.

Some of the animals you might spot on your route are impalas, rhinos and giraffes.

This site also has great amenities like a campsite, canoeing facilities, rock climbing and cabins for accommodation.

Book in advance for a guided tour for the best animal-spotting experience.

  • Location:
    • 15 Mr461 Rd, Shongweni Resource Reserve
  • Elevation:
    • Slopped
  • Estimated Time:
    • 2 - 3 hours
  • General Contact:
    • 031 769 1283
  • Map:

Kenneth Stainbank Nature Reserve

This reserve is a great example of a combination grasslands, coastal and forest ecological zones.

Explore at Kenneth Stainbank Nature Reserve@caseyvictor

The Kenneth Stainbank Nature Reserve has a maze of trails that can add up to 13 km of running trails as well as 10km of mountain bike trails.

With an extensive variety of animal life, you may choose to stop long the trail to observe the wildlife on the reserve.

The reserve is home to species including; Rock hyraxes, dassies, and bushbabies as well as over 200 bird species.

The reserve management has even created a trail for the differently-abled visitors of the reserve, which makes up one of the four main trails.

There is a small entrance to access the park, but the amenities and well managed facilities make up for it in spades.

This trail is best experienced on summer mornings before the heat kicks in.

Tip: If you’d like a proper introduction to the park, a running group meets in the park at 5 pm on Tuesdays.
  • Location:
    • Coedmore Ave, Yellow Wood Park
  • Distance:
    • Mkumbi Trail - 6km
    • Yellow Trail - 3km
    • Brown Trail - 500m
    • Handicap Trail - 500m
  • Estimated Time:
    • Mkumbi Trail - 45 - 50 min
    • Yellow Trail - 25 min
    • Brown Trail - 15 min
  • General Contact:
    • +27 31 469 2807
  • Map:

Roosfontein Nature Reserve (Herbie's Hike)

This hilly trail starts in the parking lot near Westville prison.

join a hiking group at Roosfontein Nature Reserve@Durban-Ramblers-Hiking-Club

The trail is usually about 7 km and is a popular location for group hike with the Durban Ramblers Hiking club and while the trail is incredibly peaceful, it is recommended that hikers stay in groups as the fencing at times can be spotting.

To find out when the next group hike will be, visit their Facebook page.

Hikers joining the group are encouraged to bring a R20 donation with them for the upkeep and maintenance of the reserve.

The reserve is sloping with a valley running through the middle and can at times, have very little shade, so remember to bring a hat.

  • Location:
    • Harry Gwala Rd, Dawncliffe, Westville
  • Distance: Approximately 7 km
  • Elevation:
    • Slopped
  • Estimated Time:
    • 45min - 1 hour
  • General Contact:
    • 031 203 7067
  • Map:

Be prepared for your hiking adventures with correct hiking boots, light and comfortable clothes, enough water, sunblock and any cash you might need for entrance fees when you embark.

Let us know where your favorite hiking and trail running spots are in Durban.

Our vision at Vibescout is to provide the most relevant, current and comprehensive information.

If you feel we've missed something amazing or have any suggestions regarding our system, we would love to hear from you! Contact: info (at) vibescout.com

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