Construction on the first stretch of the new raised Umhlanga Lagoon Nature Reserve boardwalk has begun.
This community-focused and funded project is led by the Umhlanga UIP. It aims to enhance the area’s environmental integrity and provide a lovely ‘walk-in-the-trees’ experience for locals and tourists to enjoy.
Approved by Ezemvelo KZN Wildlife and KZN Department of Economic Development, Tourism and Environmental Affairs, the project’s initial funding of R345k was raised by community-minded stakeholders, businesses and contributors.
This amount will see the first 81m of the 1km long, 1,8m wide boardwalk built by mid-December.
Made from recycled plastic, the raised, wheelchair-friendly boardwalk’s design will provide viewing decks overlooking the beach and lagoon and formalised access points from the boardwalk onto the beach. The infrastructure will be managed and maintained by the Umhlanga UIP.
Other important benefits of the boardwalk include preventing further frontal dune damage allowing for natural regeneration of degraded areas, unlocking tourism and employment opportunities and relieving congestion on the promenade.
The long-term plan is to build an environmental education centre to host nature-based activities including guided walks, canoeing, a bird hide and children’s activities.
Brian Wright of the Umhlanga UIP said once the boardwalk is complete, visitors will safely be able to experience the coastal forest life while having a negligible environmental impact.
“This initiative will improve and enhance this fantastic natural space which is right here on our doorstep while allowing for an amazing experience for the public. We call on all businesses and the community to pledge their support with donations to help us complete it and further enhance the uMhlanga experience," he said.