The site is located on fairly level ground on the outskirts of Eshowe, abutting directly onto the south-western boundary of the town. Dhlinza consists almost entirely of forest that has species characteristic of both coastal lowland forest and of mistbelt forest, and that is sometimes called coastal scarp forest. Tree genera include Harpephyllum, Albizia, Chrysophyllum, Margaritaria, Halleria, Prunus, Podocarpus, Eugenia and Combretum.
See Box and Tables 2 and 3 for key species. The forest is a regular breeding site of the globally threatened Zoothera guttata and Columba delegorguei. The forest also holds Cossypha dichroa and Cercotrichas signata is a rare transient. Lioptilus nigricapillus and Bradypterus barratti occur as uncommon winter visitors. The forest also supports Stephanoaetus coronatus, Smithornis capensis, Telophorus olivaceus, Mandingoa nitidula and Tchagra tchagra.
Non-bird biodiversity: The forest is noted for its plant diversity, and the presence of many rare species. Included are the cycads Encephalartos villosus and Stangeria eriopus, an orchid Bolusiella maudiae, the spectacular epiphyte Dermatobotrys saundersii, and the trees Alchornea hirtella, Oxyanthus pyriformis (VU), Cryptocarya wyliei and Millettia sutherlandii (known from very few other localities). Other rare and localized trees include Drypetes gerrardii, Garcinia gerrardii and Strychnos mitis.
Pressure/threats to key biodiversity
Dhlinza is one of the most important sites in South Africa for Zoothera guttata, with many pairs breeding here during the summer. The forest is very much part of Eshowe, and several public roads run through it. An artificial clearing, the Bishop’s Seat, was created in the forest years ago, before it was a declared reserve. Both this and the road are occasionally used for low-impact public occasions. A proposal exists to build a skywalk at canopy level. No major earthworks are envisaged, and once the initial disturbance of building has passed, this should serve to publicize a vital conservation area, which is superbly sited to exploit the ecotourism market.
BirdLife International (2022) Important Bird Areas factsheet: Dhlinza Forest Nature Reserve. Downloaded from
http://www.birdlife.org on 08/08/2022.