The Dlinza Forest Aerial Boardwalk in Eshowe is a 150 metre long walkway built above the Dlinza Forest floor, which allows visitors to view flora, fauna and avifauna at treetop level. It includes a 20 metre high tower, offering dramatic views of both the forest canopy and surrounding countryside.
The boardwalk employs a number of trained birding guides who are available to show visitors some of the delights of the forest.
About Dlinza Forest Aerial Boardwalk
South Africa and its subtropical province of KwaZulu-Natal are both testimony to the beauty and profusion of natural treasures to be found within the borders of one country. This province is home to the Dlinza Forest and its aerial boardwalk, which showcases the forest and its verdant greenery off to perfection.
The boardwalk extends some 127 metres and is perched 10 metres above the forest floor. It culminates in a steel viewing platform, which is a breath-taking 20 metres high, giving visitors a panoramic view of the fauna and flora that is found so abundantly in this part of the country. The local vegetation includes towering trees and a number of different, but equally magnificent tree orchids that flower in breath-taking beauty.
Within the forest itself, there are walking trails, which wind through the lush vegetation and allow visitors to see, smell and feel the wonder of nature around them. These trails are the Impunzi Trail (1/3 kilometres long), Unkonka Trail (1.8 kilometres) and Bishop’s Seat, which is a lovely clearing in the heart of the forest. The boardwalk is perched just above these, and offers panoramic views of the forest from this different perspective.
At these elevated heights, the exquisite variety of bird species can be seen. Look out for some of the 65 different species that are found in Dlinza Forest. These include the crowned eagle and the spotted ground thrush. There are also lynx, duikers, bush babies, porcupines, mongoose and 80 different butterfly species. This abundance and diversity makes the Dlinza Forest Aerial Boardwalk the perfect attraction for families and friends, young and old.
The Dlinza Forest is a 250 hectare indigenous coastal scarp forest, and is one of The Great Five Natural Forests in Kwa Zulu Natal. (The other forests are the Ongoye, Entumeni, Nkandla and Qudeni Forests, and lie on a 100 km line running northwest from the coast.) These five forests are the most important forests in Southern Africa from the aspect of unique biodiversity.
Birding and Wildlife
The Dlinza Forest is on The Zululand Birding Route, and is home to all sorts of rare birds and little creatures. Over 90 species of birds inhabit the forest, as well as 85 different types of butterflies. On a hiking trail whilst tuning in to the happy chatter of the birds, you can spot blue duikers, bushpigs, chameleons, beetles, bushbuck and much much more.
Some of the birds that inhabit the forest:
- Crowned Eagle
- Narina Trogon
- Spotted Ground Thrush
- Green Twinspot
- Purple Crested Lourie
- Eastern Bronze-naped Pigeon
- Chorister Robin-chat
- Olive Woodpecker
- Trumpeter Hornbill
- Delegorgue’s Pigeon
Some of the butterflies you can spot floating about:
- Citrus Swallowtail
- Dusky Veined Acrae
- Blue Spotted Charaxes
- Mocker Swallowtail
- Emperor Swallowtail
And, of course, home to the birds, butterflies and Bushbabies, are the wonderful trees that make up the Dlinza Forest:
- Forest Ironplum
- Giant Umzibeet
- Natal Milkplum
- Wild Plum
- Cabbage Tree
- Myrtle Quince
- Fluted Milkplum
- Forest Knobwood
- Flat Crown
- Forest Mahogany
There are two hiking trails through the forest which are best done in the early hours of the morning or the late afternoon when the birds are at their chirpiest.