In the heart of the KwaZulu-Natal Midlands lies a valley created by the Umgeni River, after cascading over the majestic Howick Falls.
In 1973 members of WESSA conducted a massive fundraising effort to purchase a portion of a farm belonging to Mr Eric Humphries. WESSA members in KwaZulu-Natal decided that the aim for the reserve was "to manage and maintain the reserve in as natural a state as possible so as to provide for the needs of Environmental Education". Over thirty five years later we are still providing a diversity of quality Environmental Education (EE) fieldwork courses!
Reserve description : The greater part of the nature reserve lies in the spectacular gorge below the Howick Falls, while the upper part is the fringe of a rolling plateau which has an average altitude of about 1 000m. The land falls away abruptly at the edge of the plateau for about 60m to form rock faces in places. The valley sides below 860m altitude slope away gently towards the Umgeni River, 7km of which falls within the reserve. The lowest point is 737m above sea level. The reserve is home to giraffe, zebra and a variety of antelope. There is an indigenous tree trail surrounding the main Education Centre and self-guided walks mingling with the game animals in the beautiful Umgeni Valley Nature Reserve. A bird watchers paradise, with over 270 bird species to view throughout the year - see if you can spot the elusive Nerina Trogon or the Crowned Eagle. Butterflies abound in the reserve.
The gorge and its branches were formed by the headward erosion of the Umgeni River through the Middle Ecca shales and sandstones and Karroo dolerite. The Howick Falls, situated 0.6 km above the reserve boundary, have partially eroded through a large dolerite sill. The average annual rainfall varies between about 835mm in the upper parts to about 750mm in the valley. The valley is several degrees warmer than the plateau but the temperature range in the valley is greater.The two main categories of soils in the reserve reflect the degree of weathering. Highly leached soils, represented by Balmoral, Clovelly, Griffin and Mispah series occur in the upper, cooler and moister parts of the reserve. They are acid and have a low nutrient status. The slightly less leached soils below the escarpment are less weathered and include the Arniston, Glengazi and Mispah series. They are usually associated with rockiness. The Arniston series is most common in the lower parts of the reserve.
Places of interest close to the Umgeni Valley Nature Reserve :
It is central to the well known Midlands Meander - country treasures of arts, crafts, shops and restaurants. Umgeni Valley Nature Reserve has spectacular views of the Howick Falls, with Shelter Falls situated in a secluded valley within the nature reserve. Umgeni Valley Nature Reserve is close to Midmar Dam for power boating and sailing and the reserve is easily accessible being only 1 km from Howick. Howick is on the main N3 route from Durban to Johannesburg - 30 km. from Pietermaritzburg, 120 km. from Durban and 500 km from Johannesburg.
Click here to download a map of Umgeni Valley Nature Reserve
For information about educational, school tours and adventure activities , please contact Shari Cade at: Tel: +27 (033) 330 3941 Fax: +27 (033) 330 3903
or email email@example.com
For reservations and further information , please contact Wendy Melrose at:
Tel: +27 (033) 330 3941 Fax: +27 (033) 330 3903 or email firstname.lastname@example.org or PO Box 394, Howick, 3290