The Dassie Trail in the Nahoon Estuary Nature Reserve in Beacon bay is a short, flat meander well-suited to family outings.
The Dassie Trail starts at the Visitor Centre (which also has a quaint bird hide) and proceeds through a forested section before opening up on a wide vista of mud flats lined with mangrove trees. For the most part, the trail is on a boardwalk made with recycled plastic from which you can enjoy an estuarine environment that is relatively pristine and representative of the bigger river systems in the area.
Informative sign boards and tree labels along the route add to the experience, enlightening you about estuarine dynamics, bird life, fishes, mangroves and the riparian forest.
The first part of the route leads you toward the sea and follows the river, impressively framed by high sandstone cliffs - the product of millions of years of erosion.
At the end of the mangroves and the boardwalk section, there is a route marker that guides you back into the forest. The bird calls are fantastic and if you are lucky you might even glimpse a shy Narina Trogon.
Droppings and nibbled leaves reveal the presence of abundant bushbuck, and blue duiker often dart back and forth. Plan to spend at least an hour or two doing the trail (especially the forested bit). If you are a keen birder, plan to spend a lot longer, particularly in the summer months, when waders are plentiful.
Vervet monkeys look down at you from the forest canopy and rock hyrax spend a lot of time sunning themselves on the cliff ledges.
If you’d like a little more rambling , another shorter 30-minute trail can be accessed from the Visitor Centre. The reserve is open only on weekdays, from 9am-4pm. Entrance is free and secure parking is available.
Source: Night Jar Travel