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Kenneth Stainbank Nature Reserve is one of the finest areas of coastal/riverine forest and bush clump/grassland mosaic remaining in the greater Durban area. There are trails of varying length, the longest of which will require a minimum of 4 hours to walk at a reasonable pace. There are also tracks leading to the more remote picnic sites, and it is possible to drive to these sites, while birding along the way. Maps are available at the gate.

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Birding

1. For the less energetic, a very short trail built for the handicapped leads into the forest from the car park. Though the variety of birds may not be as great, one may still be lucky and see a good number of the forest specials including Grey Cuckooshrike, Purple-crested Turaco and Tambourine Dove. On the forest fringes, particularly around the main car park, White-eared Barbet, Black Sparrowhawk (at least two pairs breed in the Reserve) and Brown-backed Honeybird may be found. Check the car park for Bronze-winged Courser in summer.

2. From the main car park it is possible to take the main circular trail either clockwise or counter-clockwise. Going clockwise (uphill at the start), the trail heads out through a marshy grassland where Rattling Cisticola and Neddicky often scold the visitor from the tops of clumps of strelitzias. Once the path starts traversing the main grasslands, White-browed Scrub-Robin and Little Bee-eater are often seen along with a wide range of seed-eaters. This is also the favoured area for some of the parks ungulates such as zebra and impala and the insects disturbed by them provide food for Lesser Striped Swallow, Barn Swallow and Black Saw-wing.

3. A small dam approximately 1 km from the car park always proves interesting as you may well come across African Rail, Squacco Heron, Black Crake, African Jacana and a number of other waterbirds. The mournful call of the Red-chested Flufftail can sometimes be heard emanating from the reeds, but the likelihood of seeing these elusive rallids is minimal. Yellow Weaver breed in the reeds.

4. The path then climbs up to the forest area and here the quiet and patient visitor may be lucky enough to glimpse Green Malkoha, Narina Trogon, Olive Woodpecker, Spotted Ground-Thrush (in winter), Lemon Dove, Grey Waxbill, Green Twinspot and Red-backed Mannikin. Yellow-bellied Greenbul continuously warn of intruders with their bellyaching call, while Square-tailed Drongo screech from the canopy. Depending on time available, you can either turn back at this point, or continue along the trail.

5. The trail eventually joins up with a small river and crosses it twice, and on this section look for the striking Mountain Wagtail. The trail winds around most of the reserve and ends up back at the main entrance gate.

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General

Kenneth Stainbank Nature Reserve is managed by Ezemvelo KZN Wildlife. There is no accommodation, but a campsite is available. Night drives are available on request. Entrance times vary during the year but are usually in the range of 6 am to 6 pm. A small entrance fee is charged.

There are a number of approaches to Yellowwood Park where the Kenneth Stainbank Nature Reserve is situated; the preferred route is as follows. From Durban take the N3 to Pietermaritzburg, then the N2 south towards the airport. The first offramp after the N3/N2 interchange is Edwin Swales/Queensburgh, take this and turn left into Edwin Swales. At the first set of robots turn right into Wakesleigh Road, almost immediately left into Cliffview and at the T-junction, left into Sarnia Road. Drive through Bellair village to the second traffic light and here turn right into Coedmore Road, passing the cement works and after crossing the low level bridge over the Umhlatuzana River, the road follows the boundary of the reserve to the gate which is on the right.

Contact Information: Cellphone +27 83 423 0843, Tel: +27 31 469 2807, Fax: +27 31 469 2807

Dave Bishop 1997.



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