I have always loved the outdoors and natural places. Hiking and camping have for many years been two of my favourite passtimes. Game reserves and campsites are special places for me,
even better if it is a campsite in the middle of a game reserve. It is not always possible though to go on that trip to Masai Mara, Senegeti or the Kruger National Park. Work commitments, financial restraints and other factors make trips like this impractical on a regular basis. For some people a trip to a major game reserve may be out of reach for their whole lives. The vast majority of us also live and work in cities and spend most of our time in this environment.
With all this in mind I've always enjoyed finding thin slices of natural beauty sandwiched between large chunks of urban development. In every area I've lived in there have always been nature reserves, parks, dams, rivers and little-known beaches just waiting to be discovered and explored. The great outdoors is great for a longer holiday or more adventurous trip, but for regular experience of the peace and energising effects of nature the lesser outdoors is perfect.
A typical example of this is the Hawaan Forest Nature Reserve in Umhlanga. I'd heard of the place before but never actually been there. In the last 6 months we have visited it twice and been impressed both times. So far we have only explored the picnic tables near the parking lot and one of the shorter paths that led through a marshy area, up through a bit of dune forest and onto a really nice beach.
Looking down the valley the rest of the reserve looks very green and natural with a lagoon further along one of the longer trails. I look forward to exploring the rest of this reserve. I believe some local hiking and walking groups visit the place regularly so I will be looking into that as a way to learn about the reserve as well as meeting some people that share my love of the outdoors.
The Hawaan Forest Nature Reserve is located at the far North end of Lagoon Drive in Umhlanga.