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LOCAL TIME: 12:22 am | Tuesday, 31 March
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Hiking the Umtiza Forest Reserve, East London

Hiking Umtiza Forest Reserve, East LondonUmtiza Forest Reserve incorporates all the remaining indigenous forests on the northern banks of the Buffalo River, 14 kilometres north of East London.

Named after the spiky umtiza tree with its multi-fluted stem, and endemic to the reserve, it is also home to samango monkeys, tree dassies and blue duikers as well as 30-40 bird species.

The reserve has easy day walks on a network of trails. There are three different trails, the first of which is a distance of 2½ km (a 1 hour walk) which circles the Manager’s Office and remains on the plateau. The second walk is 6 km long  (a 2 to 3 hours walk) and crosses to the north of the Buffalo Pass Road. The third is a shorter distance of 1½ km (a 30 minute walk) and covers part of the previous trail.

There are picnic and ablution facilities in the parking area near the Nature Conservation offices and maps of the trails are available in the small hut, also near the offices, as part of self-issue permits. If the permit book has been removed, refer to the map on the signboard in the parking area.

To reach the forest, drive north up Oxford Street from the East London Post Office and turn left onto Connaught Avenue at the traffic lights near the Museum. Turn left at the Buffalo Pass turnoff which is 3½ km further on, continue to the top of the hill and take the first road to the left. After a few hundred metres you reach the entrance after a journey of about 13 km.

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