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BARN (EUROPEAN) SWALLOWS

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.  



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BIRD WATCHING

A pair of binoculars and a bird book are all you need to enjoy the wonderful birding experiences in Southbroom. It is a bird lover's paradise with a myriad of habitats to explore.

The Bushbuck Trail is particularly rewarding as are the shores of the two rivers that bound the village.
Some of the rare birds that one can expect include Pied Mannikin, African Broadbill, Spotted Thrush, African Finfoot and Broad-tailed Warbler.

Pelagic birds abound during the annual sardine migration in June/July and the Barn (European) Swallows over the reed beds at Umkobi are spectacular at sunset November to March. 



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BEACHES

By far the most popular eco-outing that our coastal village offers, is a day spent on a clean, un-spoilt beach. Southbroom has three beautiful swimming beaches, Main Beach, Grannies Beach (Hotel Pool) and Umkobi beach.

DOGS ARE NOT ALLOWED on the swimming beaches but can enjoy the long flat unspoilt area from the rocks on the north side of Umkobi as far as the rocks south of Grannies beach.

DOGS MUST BE UNDER CONTROL AT ALL TIMES

Main beach offers excellent swimming and surfing and the natural elevation of the headland provides breath-taking views of the ocean. The Imbezane lagoon is fun for little ones and canoeists - no powered crafts are permitted - and a good variety of bird life can be seen on its tranquil waters and shores. The deck of the Riptide restaurant is a lovely setting with lagoon and sea views. Lifeguards are on duty in season only.

Hotel Pool was originally built by Frank Eyles in front of the Hotel where the Admiralty apartments stand today. When the hotel was demolished the tidal pool became affectionately known as Grannies Pool, nestled amongst rocks and is well positioned for the sea to keep it clean and scoured of sand all year round. The experience is delightful, especially at high tide. It feels like you are in the deep of the sea and yet you have the security of the pool surrounds. It is a lovely safe swimming area for the elderly and toddlers, with lots of little rock pools for the little ones to explore. There is wheelchair access to the beach via a ramp and excellent ablution facilities. Thanks to Southbroom Conservancy there is a wonderful Ocean friendly wheelchair which is open for anyone to make use of.

Umkobi beach offers a more wild experience with its thick coastal vegetation. Fishermen enjoy the Marina beach rocks and bird life abounds on the Umkobi lagoon: Gallinule, Moorhen, Dikkop, Egret, Duck, and the fantastic show that the swallows provide, in summer, come sunset. Water mongoose are also active in and out of the reeds. Lifeguards are on duty in season only and the Trattoria restaurant affords excellent views of the lagoon. 



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BEACH WALKS

Not too many villages can boast easy access along the full extent of their coastline. Fewer seaside villages can boast that their natural heritage has not given way to high-rise hotels and apartment blocks.

To experience the natural beauty of it all, park at main beach and walk from the tidal pool around the headland. From there you can choose to get to Granny's Pool by scrambling the boulders and keeping seawards of the Admiralty apartments (its a bit tough); or to go up through The Outlook and on to Lewin Road.

From Granny's Pool, continue south and enjoy the splendid flora of the Frederika Nature Preserve before passing the 4th tee of the Southbroom Golf Course.

Shortly before, their is a cutting up to Blackrock Road if you would rather proceed into the village. Otherwise, continue south to Umkobi beach.

There are a few rocky outcrops along the way, but they are easily crossed and the little coves that nestle between them are stunning. 



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BUSHBUCK TRAIL

Ratepayer David Hallé, a keen and active environmentalist and founder Chairman of Southbroom Conservancy, started hacking out “The Bushbuck Trail” on conservation lots 921 and 690. His dream has become a reality - a delightful meander now exists, from behind the Tennis Club, through dense coastal vegetation.

Ratepayer Ted Rudzinsky has continued the trail, from across Eyles Road, through his property (Erf 720), to Tavistock Road.

Magnificent indigenous flora exists in the area and the abundant bird life is sure to reward those who undertake the walk. The resident crowned eagle and large flock of crowned hornbill are particularly special. As for the fauna: blue duiker is often sighted; a shy family of bushbuck still remain; and grey duiker are being seen more often.

The addition of benches, permanent bridges, and signage have made the trail user friendly. The eradication of alien invader plant species requires ongoing management.
Park at the Tennis Club on Captain Smith's road, or at Polafris Safari's in Tavistock Road, and grant yourself at least an hour with nature.



FREDERIKA NATURE PRESERVE
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.


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IMBEZANE RIVER RESERVE

Previously, Southbroom had no public access to its river. Now, thanks to the dedicated efforts of ratepayer Libby Cochrane and helper Doug Danca on Conservation Lot 927, a lovely trail meanders off Imbezane Drive, through the indigenous forest, down to the flat rocks on the river bank.

The walk is delightful and it is great to see fisherman enjoying their catch from the healthy river or to just simply sit on the rocks and soak up the beauty of it all.

Allow half hour or take your picnic basket and stay a while.



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THE OUTLOOK

Take a cold box, munchies, and your binoculars and head for The Outlook on the Southbroom headland. Any time of day will do.

Situated on Lewin Road, The Outlook offers spectacular rock formations, cliffs to sea, and a gentle meander through indigenous vegetation. There are several places to enjoy the experience, whether you set up on a bench, rock, or simply sit on the grassland.

The view to sea is uninterrupted and dolphin and whale often come by, close to shore. For the spectacular sardine run, there is no better view to be had.  

The antics of numerous Rock Dassie (Procavia capensis) in the boulders below are also most entertaining. 



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WHALE WATCHING

There are many destinations around the world to view whales due to their migratory life. Southbroom is fast becoming one of the best.

The Whale Route starts along the south of Cape Town and extends to Durban, 1,200 plus miles of whale watching coastline. At least 37 species of whales and dolphins can be found in the waters off South Africa. However, the Route is most famous for encounters with southern right whales, humpback whales, and several coastal dolphin species.

Humpback whale breaching - they are capable of lifting almost all of their 40 odd tons out of the water.

The whales migrate south during the summer months when supplies of krill are more prolific, and north during winter and spring to mate, calve and rear their young. They appear around the South African coastline from May to December and can be seen interacting in sheltered bays and coves close inshore and near river mouths.

Southbroom has many elevated vantage points from which to enjoy the whales - Main Beach, The Outlook, Granny's Pool and the Southbroom Golf Club verandah. For those out on the golf course, sightings from the 4th and 5th tee boxes are spectacular. Whales breach, lobtail and engage in courtship rituals - often as close as 50 metres from the shore.
The humpback whales are seen as they migrate along our coast between May and November en-route to their feeding and breeding grounds off Mozambique and Angola. The whales travel close to shore on occasion, particularly along the lower South Coast of KwaZulu-Natal where the continental shelf is close to the land.

The southern right makes use of extreme coastal waters along the southern and south-eastern coastal region of the Cape, and sometimes as far north as southern KwaZulu-Natal.

Boat-based whale-watching, previously only associated with the Western Cape, is gaining momentum in the province with a greater variety of species being spotted off the KwaZulu Natal coast.

The KwaZulu Natal whale season starts on July 1 and continues until November. 

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