Nestled between rolling green hills, Inanda Dam is a playground for city kids craving a wild fix. By Tate Drucker

The sight of zebras, sparkling water and birds soaring above acacia trees instantly stilled my restless heart as I arrived at the reserve. It was hard to believe somewhere so picturesque could exist only an hour’s drive from downtown Durban.

Bliss is an effortless afternoon hike through Inanda’s forest. Pictures by Tate Drucker

Over the course of the weekend I got to know the view from many different angles. From renting a canoe to paddle on the dam’s placid waters to exploring the winding shoreline by bike and having a picnic in the shade of an acacia tree as those zebras grazed nearby, I drank my fill of the scenery.

Take to the water in a canoe or enjoy a dam cruise.

Zebra graze among the campsites.

The grassy shore is perfect for picnics.

Although Inanda Dam attracts its fair share of day visitors, the best way to take full advantage of all the reserve has to offer is to spend the night in one of the spacious, en suite safari tents. This way you can meander along the forest trails or birdwatch in leisurely fashion from the boat.

When the sun went down, I was in the very best spot. Right then nothing could beat the perfect pleasure of sundowners on the porch of the tent. As dusk settled on the valley and the stars came out, there were no sounds of highways or city life anywhere around.

Immerse yourself in a world of adventure just past the city limits. Explore Inanda on foot, in a canoe, by bike or aboard the Spirit of uMngeni. After an action-packed day, relax in the stylish comfort of a safari tent.

Trip planner

Stay in your own tent or in one of the reserve’s private, well-equipped en suite canvas tents.

  • Camping: From R220 for one or two people, R110 an extra adult, R55 a child
  • Four-sleeper safari tent: R1,200
  • Conservation fees: R40 for adults, R28 for children, Wild Card members free
  • Boat trip: hour-long dam cruise at R140 an adult, R75 students and pensioners, R50 schoolchildren. Departures at 10:00, 12:00, 14:00 and 16:00 in summer.
  • Contact: +27 (0)31 766 9946,

The safari tents look out over Inanda Dam.

Each tent sleeps four and boasts an en suite bathroom.