The Frederika Nature Reserve located at Southbroom on KwaZulu Natal’s South coast, was established in 1977 when thirty beachfront residential sites were placed on the market to be sold. A concerned environmentalist named Leo Driessen realised the importance of the area’s unique biodiversity, and the effect that development of the primary dune would have on Southbroom, so he decided to buy all of the properties and donate them to the South African Nature Conservation Centre.
The reserve was named after Driessen’s wife Frederika, who later went on to donate a number of adjoining sites on the highest part of the dune, which increased the size of the conservation area. In 1990, the reserve was registered with the Department of Environment Affairs as a South African Natural Heritage Site of National Importance.
The Natal Parks Board’s Chief Professional Officer’s at the time reported: “The stand of Coastal Forest is in good condition and has a high diversity of species present. The area shares a common boundary with the Government reserve and is therefore somewhat unique in having sea frontage. This community was once more extensive along the Natal South Coast but today exists only in a few isolated patches due to land being cleared for urban and agricultural development. Species such a blue duiker and bushbuck are present in the forest.”
Frederika Nature Preserve consists of eight hectares of mature, virgin dune forest and borders the 2nd, 16th and 17th fairways of the Southbroom golf course, and is best viewed from the beach. The Southbroom Conservancy is currently involved with the management practices required by Natural Heritage status which includes the continuous removal of alien vegetation with associated soil damage and erosion reclamation as well as regular patrolling to prevent the debarking of trees for traditional medicine, and the prevention of snares.