Mtunzini, “place of shade,” is a coastal town with a wealth of treasures for the birding or wildlife enthusiast. The town, situated on a hill overlooking the coastline, has pristine dune forest and an estuary lined with mangrove swamp forest.

Avenues of indigenous trees lining the streets of the village create corridors for wildlife movement and provide an excellent food source for birds. A striking feature of this area are the stands of Raphia palm (Raphia australis). Their fruits form an essential part of the diet of the Palmnut Vulture of which 3 to 5 pairs breed in Mtunzini. The best spot to see this species is at the Raphia palm monument, along the beach, or in the strips of forest along the drainage lines around the town.

A walk along the edge of the estuary, which also includes the mangrove forest, is good for African Finfoot, which may be flushed out into open water. During the winter months this is the best place to try and track down the elusive Mangrove Kingfisher. Walks in the coastal dune forest can be very productive and it is here that the Spotted Thrush can be located during the winter months. Mtunzini’s warm climate and “holiday style” appearance make it an excellent place for some productive self-guided birding.