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Doreen Clarke Nature Reserve is situated in the mistbelt area of Hilton/Winterskloof, just north of Pietermaritzburg. This small reserve consists mainly of mist belt forest, with some grassland on the edge of the forest. It is an easy area in which to walk (especially for older people and those with young children), and contains some of the best mistbelt forest birds. There is one trail, which at a very casual pace and stopping to look and listen for birds takes one to two hours to complete. There is a picnic site (no toilets), and entrance is free. Please keep the gate closed.



As with most forests, early morning birding is best, as is the season from spring to autumn. However, winter is worth a visit as altitudinal migrants such as Bush Blackcap and Chorister Robin-Chat move in at this period. Mistbelt forest residents include amongst others Buff-spotted Flufftail, Lemon Dove, African Emerald Cuckoo, Narina Trogon, Olive Woodpecker, Terrestrial Brownbul, White-starred Robin, Yellow-throated Woodland-Warbler, Cape Batis, Blue-mantled Crested-Flycatcher, Olive Bush-Shrike, Collared Sunbird and Forest Canary. African Crowned Eagle are regular visitors to the reserve, and in summer there are five species of cuckoo.



From the N3 take the Hilton turnoff; go through the village to the Crossways Hotel intersection. Continue straight through the intersection, along Dennis Shepstone Rd, pass the Hilton Police Station, and take the first road left after the entrance to Cowan House School (Amy Wilson Drive). Come to T-junction, turn right and after about 1km see reserve on left.

Contact telephone: +27 33 343 3184

KZN Wildlife Website

Athol and Les Marchant 2007.

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