A very large flock of Barn Swallows (formerly named European Swallows) have chosen to roost in the reed-beds of Umkobi lagoon In the summer months (October to April), about 45 minutes before sunset, hundreds of thousands of swallows get ready for bed. The sight is nothing short of spectacular even to those who are not regular bird-watchers. There are different schools of thought regarding the solid, non-stop, 24-hours a day, migration of the barn swallow. Some think that they sleep on the wing. Others believe that one half of the brain sleeps whilst the other half attends to the business of continuous flight and feeding.

The birds don't breed in South Africa and don't build nests. They simply roost, as many as eight to a stalk, depending on the reed's strength. Easily done when one weighs less than 20 grams!

Good vantage points are Umkobi Beach, the patio of the Trattoria restaurant, the lagoon shores of Marina Beach, or a friend's residence in Lower Milkwood or Umkobi lodge.
Don't miss out. Be sure to make time for this eco-outing. 


The Frederika Nature Preserve came into being in 1977 when 30 beachfront residential sites where placed on the market. Leo Driessen, a concerned environmentalist, realised the value of the biodiversity of the area and the negative impact that development of the primary dune would have on Southbroom. He chose to purchase all of the properties on offer and donated them into the custody of SA Nature Conservation Centre (now Delta Environmental Centre).

He named the preserve for his wife, Frederika, who later increased its size by the donation of certain adjoining sites on the highest part of the dune.

In 1990, Delta's then Chairman, and friend of Leo Driessen, Mr NC Bloom, registered the preserve with the Department of Environment Affairs as a South African Natural Heritage Site of National Importance.

To quote the Natal Parks Board's Chief Professional Officer's report: "The stand of Coastal Forest is in good condition and has a high diversity of species present. The area shares a common boundary with the Government reserve and is therefore somewhat unique in having sea frontage. This community was once more extensive along the Natal South Coast but today exists only in a few isolated patches due to land being cleared for urban and agricultural development. Species such a blue duiker and bushbuck are present in the forest."

The Southbroom Conservancy is now involved with the management practices required by Natural Heritage status: continued alien plant removal with associated soil damage and erosion reclamation; and regular patrolling to prevent debarking of trees, snares and eliminate trespassing.

Frederika comprises 8 hectares of mature, virgin dune forest and borders the 16th, 17th and 2nd fairways of the Southbroom golf course. It is best viewed from the beach.

For the shortest walk to view the Frederika, gain access to the beach at the Woodlands road cutting and continue south to Black Rock Road.