The nature reserve, where the Kosi Bay Hiking Trail lies, is one of the most attractive places in Maputaland in the far north of KwaZulu Natal, close to the border to Mozambique. The coastal area is a proclaimed marine reserve which surrounds the unique Kosi Bay lake system. This lake system consists of four lakes and a series of natural channels which eventually drain via a sandy estuary into the Indian Ocean.. The lakes offer a variety of freshwater and saltwater habitats and are home to a tremendous variety of birds and animals including hippos and crocodiles
The Kosi Bay Hiking Trail is a four day trail in this coastal area which is a place where giant turtles come and lay their eggs, usually in early November. The trail is guided by a member of the Kwa-Zulu Natal conservation services staff.
Access to the Kosi Bay Nature reserve is via Jozini and Kangwanase. The distance to the reserve is about 13kms from Kangwanase where one completes the formalities at the office. The Nhlange base camp is a short drive down a rutted and very sandy track. A 4x4 vehicle is recommended.
Day 1: Meet the guide at a prearranged time and venue and take the trail through a dune forest down to the first lake which one wades through. This can be either knee deep or waist deep, depending on the amount of rain received in the catchment area. Some old fish traps can be seen during the crossing which the guide explains how they worked. On arrival at the camp, hikers have the option of leaving their packs and walking the short distance down to the river mouth for some snorkelin, which is worthwhile due to the diversity of fish.
Day 2: The trail starts with a stiff climb up the side of a dune, where the sand is soft and therefore its quite tiring on the legs. The trail then meanders through bushes and grassland before descending to the beach where the hikers makes his way to the Bhanga Nek camp. This is a beautiful tented camp situated close to the beach amongst the dune forest. The local Spaza Shop is not far away.
Day 3: After a leisurely morning at Bhanga Nek, hikers head off for the short walk to Sihadla hutted camp. The trail leads away from the coast and inland to the Sihadla river. The picturesque camp consists of two person thatched huts complete with beds and mattresses situated close to the shores of the lake.
Day 4: The final day of the trail leads the hikers down to the Sihadla River, where a Raffia Palm raft takes hikers across the river. Once on the other side, the trail leads through beautiful mangrove swamps and passed some Raffia Palms.
Bookings: Umvuna Hiking Trails: P.O. Box 355, Kangwanase, 3973. Phone/Fax: 035 592 9662