Exploring Pigeon Valley Pigeon Valley Nature Reserve, Bowes-Lyon Avenue, Bulwer, Durban, South Africa
Posted on 2nd Dec 2019 / 4750
Listing Type : Activities / Places of Interest
Location : Glenwood
Physical Address : Pigeon Valley Nature Reserve. Princess Alice Avenue, Glenwood, Durban, KwaZulu natal, South Africa
Opening Hours
  • Monday :09:00-17:00
  • Tuesday :09:00-17:00
  • Wednesday :09:00-17:00
  • Thursday :09:00-17:00
  • Friday :09:00-17:00
  • Saturday :Closed
  • Sunday :Closed

Pigeon Valley is a Natural Heritage Park and formally declared municipal nature reserve in Durban, South Africa. It is an unusual example of an urban reserve with very high levels of biodiversity. It was established to provide protection for the Natal Elm (Celtis mildbraedii) and other forest giants of the coastal climax forest.[1] Another rare tree that occurs here is Natal Forest Loquat (Oxyanthus pyriformis) which is endemic to the Durban area and to oNgoye Forest. Pigeon Valley is about 11ha in extent, and is situated on the Berea, overlooking Durban Bay. Its unusual north-south orientation may contribute to the biodiversity, with the south-facing slope covered in canopy forest, while the north-facing slope has thorny thickets. An adjoining reservoir, previously part of the reserve, provides a patch of coastal grassland.


The park is home to red duiker and blue duiker. Other mammals include Large-spotted Genet, a troop of banded mongooses as well as slender and water mongooses. Blue vervet monkeys are constantly present. From early July 2019, a Side-striped Jackal has been seen in neighbouring roads and is apparently living in the reserve. This may be the southernmost sighting of this species.


Various species of forest birds are found here including; Red-capped Robin-Chat, Green Twinspot, Cape White-Eye, Southern Boubou, Spotted Ground-Thrush, Purple-crested Turaco and African Paradise-Flycatcher. The Black Sparrowhawk breeds here annually. Another bird that is seldom seen but that is generally present is Buff-spotted Flufftail.[2] Unusual sightings of note in recent years include European Nightjar, Knysna Warbler, Lemon Dove, Mountain Wagtail, Black-throated Wattle-eye, Common Scimitarbill, Palm-nut Vulture and Knysna Turaco. The current bird list for Pigeon Valley includes 162[3] species.


The Spotted Ground-Thrush is of particular note, as Pigeon Valley is one of the places where this endangered bird can be most reliably found in winter. It arrives typically in late March or early April, and is present until August or September; in 2015 it was present until 5 October. Summer migrants include, occasionally, Black Cuckoo, Red-chested Cuckoo and Red-backed Shrike.

There are over 110 species of trees occurring in Pigeon Valley, almost all of which are locally indigenous.[4] Pigeon Valley is also notable for large stands of Buckweed (Isoglossa woodii) which grow in more open areas under the forest canopy and in forest glades. In recent years there have been a few discoveries of plants not previously identified.

Pigeon Valley is unique in having large numbers of the rare Natal Elm, and of Natal Forest Loquat. A Cryptocarya specimen found adjacent to the main track has so far not been definitively identified; it may be a species seldom found in the area or alternatively a hybrid.

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