Head for the great outdoors, enjoy the early-winter crisp weather and
discover somewhere new: visit the Mqeku Picnic Site – a magical unexplored
playground only 20 minutes from Hillcrest in the heart of the Valley of
With Youth Day and Father’s Day both coming up in the next fortnight –
families may be looking for interesting things to do together.
Mqeku offers fabulous birding opportunities (including sightings of the
rare African Finfoot); river tubing or “bum-sliding” on a natural rock
slide, 4×4 trails; nature hikes and picturesque picnic and braai sites,
with a toilet and water – all in a pristine indigenous vegetation. For
those who want to make a full weekend of it, there are fully serviced Pop
Up Camping options too.
Owned and managed by the gregarious nature-lover Sibusiso Shangase, with
marketing and management, support from Green Corridors, a Durban based
environmental non-profit organisation supported by the economic development
unit of eThekwini Municipality. Sibusiso is a certified South African
Tourist Guide, and his qualified team welcome guests to the site and offer
a guiding service to visitors keen to know more about the area. The site is
on his family’s ancestral land, which allows him to talk to visitors
personally and authentically about the diverse fauna, flora and history of
The area is environmentally pristine. Situated on the confluence of the
uMngeni and Mqueku Rivers, Shangase and his family are proud to have kept
the bush wholly indigenous, with distinctive fever trees framing the
meandering rivers punctuated with enormous granite rocks – perfect for
soaking up the winter sun! The more adventurous can explore the river and
natural water slide on tubes.
Mqeku is accessible with a conventional car – but is especially fun for 4×4
fans – offering various trails throughout the reserve – self-drive or more
formal 4×4 trails offered by Monteseel Adventures.
For those who prefer to savour nature in a more sedate way, scenic walking
and hiking trails are available. Hikes are easy enough to follow unguided,
or visitors can book Shangase for a guided walk. Visitors can take a slow
stroll towards the old Mfula trading store, something of a landmark for
Dusi canoe fans, and still has a small shop in operation.
Mqeku is a perfect destination for family groups or meetings of friends –
also for corporate outings and enviro-themed functions and events.
The site is part of the Green Corridors initiative: an eco-sustainability
project which involves collaboration with local communities, creating
multiple opportunities for members to participate in the health and welfare
of their natural surroundings. Green Corridors partners with a variety of
stakeholders, to create open spaces in key local destinations and plays a
vital role in improving the quality of the environment within which
communities live, work, play and thrive.
*Good to Know:*
Mqeku Picnic Site about 20 minutes from Hillcrest.
There is a nominal entry charge which goes towards the upkeep of the site.
Activities include picnic sites, amazing bird watching (including a local
African Finfoot), 4×4 trails, hiking trails, MTB rides, rive tubing and
local cultural walks.
River tubes, helmets and lifejackets can be hired from Green Corridors
Info and map: https://durbangreencorridor.co.za/mqeku-adventures
To find out about these and other things to do in the area – visit The
Valley of a 1000 Hills Community Tourism Organisation website at