Page 1


contents

06

Elephant Coast............................................................................... 06 Battlefields....................................................................................... 13 Zululand............................................................................................ 19 Drakensberg.................................................................................... 26 Pietermaritzburg & Midlands.................................................... 34 Greytown.......................................................................................... 41 North Coast..................................................................................... 45 Durban.............................................................................................. 54 South Coast..................................................................................... 68 & Beyond.......................................................................................... 83

13

19

PUBLISHED BY: Creative Solutions - CK 2001 0121 7823 PO Box 1487, Pinetown 3600 Editor:............................................. René Hartslief Telephone:.................................... Cell: +27 83 648 8700 E-mail:............................................. rene@thebestofkzn.co.za Website:......................................... www.thebestofkzn.co.za Photography ©:........................... René Hartslief, Clint Ralph Photography, .......................................................... Rocher Photography by Marc Anderson, .......................................................... Pauline Hibbert Photography Editorial:......................................... René Hartslief Advert Design:............................. Dianne Fraser Final Design.................................. Wendy Bow - Apple Pie Graphics Distribution.................................. Creative Solutions TO ADVERTISE: René Hartslief +27 83 648 8700 • rene@thebestofkzn.co.za SUBSCRIPTIONS: Creative Solutions +27 83 648 8700

26

THE PUBLISHERS WISH TO THANK THE ADVERTISERS FOR THEIR SUPPORT COPYRIGHT RESERVED The copyright of this publication is reserved under the Copyright Act of the Republic of South Africa. No part of this publication may be reproduced in any form or by any means, without the prior permission of the publishers.

INDEMNITY While extreme effort was made during the compilation of The Best of KZN to ensure accuracy, the publishers cannot accept any responsibility for any errors or omissions (E&OE) which may occur.

Categories

Accommodation..................................................................................... Arts, Crafts & Heritage.......................................................................... Attractions, Travel, Tours & Safaris.................................................... Conferences..............................................................................................

68

54

34

45

1


2


3


Wedding entertainer for 20 years with the musical knowledge and quality equipment to make your day one to remember Services available: DJ, MC, Sound and Lighting We also offer options for power backup in the event of outages and load shedding. We are very proud of our new additions to the family, 2 battery powered speakers with their own wireless mic for places where there is no power (perfect for a bush wedding ceremony). We do have standard costs, but give us a shout and let us try and tailor something to your needs and most importantly your budget.

Cameron Claassens Cell 082 442 8346 E-mail: cameron@entertainmenttoday.co.za Website: www.entertainmenttoday.co.za

NORWEB ELECTRICAL

ELECTRICAL SPECIALISTS

NORWEB (PTY) LTD

We offer the following specialist services for Residential, Commercial & Industrial premises

GENERATORS

• Supply • Installation • Commissioning • Maintenance and Repairs • Remote Monitoring of all makes and models of generators

SOLAR SYSTEMS

• Design • Installation • Monitoring

ENERGY MANAGEMENT

• Energy Analysis • Measurement and Verification Norweb operates throughout Africa and strives to deliver quality electrical engineering services within budget and on time. Focuses on customers and clients specific needs and objectives. We keep abreast of the latest technological advancements affecting the electrical industry. Tel: +27 11 465 2594 • Cell: +27 83 256 1874 • 24-Hour Emergency No: +27 83 395 5000 E-mail: norweb@lantic.net • Find us on Facebook 4


WHAT WE DO Fair Trade Tourism encourages and publicises fair and responsible business practice by tourism establishments in southern Africa and beyond. We do this by offering a certification programme (and supporting activities) that endorses tourism establishments that meet stringent criteria: • Fair wages and working conditions, fair operations, purchasing and distribution of benefits • Ethical business practice • Respect for human rights, culture and the environment OUR VISION Global leadership for fair, participatory and sustainable tourism. OUR MISSION Through certification, develop the market for Fair Trade Tourism in a way that benefits people, business and the environment.

To find out more about Fair Trade Tourism establishments, visit www.fairtrade.travel 5


MOÇAMBIQUE

elephant coast

ELEPHANT COAST

SWAZILAND

elephant coast distances - kms Durban to Kosi Bay.............. 440 Kosi to Sodwana.................. 88 Kosi to Hluhluwe.................. 164 Kosi to Mtubatuba................ 217 Kosi to Mkuze...................... 134 Cape Vidal to St Lucia.......... 45 St Lucia to Richards Bay...... 63 Sodwana to Mkuze.............. 75 Sodwana to Hluhluwe.......... 85 Sodwana to St Lucia............ 129 Sodwana to Pongola............ 130 6


CLINT RALPH PHOTOGRAPHY

elephant coast The Elephant Coast on KwaZulu-Natal’s coastline stretches from the world heritage site of Lake St Lucia in the south to Kosi Bay, almost on the Mozambique border. It is a remarkable, untamed area that is becoming popular for its variety of habitats and eco-systems and unspoilt scenery that make for unique experiences. It is named the Elephant Coast after the country’s largest herd of indigenous African elephants that have lived in sand forests in this region for centuries. The Elephant Coast extends inland across to the Lebombo Mountains in the west, and includes the Hluhluwe-Imfolozi Game Reserve, the oldest game park in Africa which is home to the big five. It is not hard to understand why the Elephant Coast is regarded as the ecotourism haven of the Zulu Kingdom. Sand dunes blend with swamps, coastal forests, rocky shores, coral reefs, mangrove swamps, woodlands, savannah grassland, and the largest protected wetland in southern Africa, iSimangaliso Wetland Park (The Greater St Lucia Wetland Park). Getaways to the Elephant Coast are rich in adventures such as scuba diving, game viewing, birding, paddling, snorkelling, hiking, horse trails, boating to see dolphins and humpback whales, or watching turtles lay eggs on the beach. Highlights of the Elephant Coast include Cape Vidal which has wonderful beaches for deep-sea fishing and is famous for whale watching. Sodwana Bay Nature Reserve is the mainstay of scuba diving. Kosi Bay is one of the most unspoilt regions with numerous lakes where you can watch local fishermen. CAPE VIDAL falls within the St Lucia Marine Reserve. The Cape Vidal bay has a launch site for skiboats with deep-sea fishing and spear fishing being popular sports. The bay is sheltered and snorkelling at a low tide is spectacular. Cape Vidal is near the site of the Dorothea shipwreck, a wooded barque which was lost in heavy weather on 31 January 1898. She was said to be carrying gold from the Transvaal. The whereabouts of the Dorothea is unknown. however there is a chain underwater in the bay that is said to have come from the wreck.

incredible diversity of fauna and flora. Self-guided auto trails, game viewing and guided walks are also available. There is evidence of the first Iron Age communities who are reputed to have settled along the coast and in the river valleys in Hluhluwe from 300 AD with proof of metal working sites that date back to 1000 AD in the reserve itself. JOZINI is a small town on the main route to Mocambique and has a dam of the same name - the Jozini or Pongolapoort Dam. This massive dam on the Pongola River supports a large population of fish, hippos and crocodiles.

Cape Vidal has access to the eastern shores of Lake St Lucia where there is a variety of game including reedbuck, other antelope, hippos, crocodiles and buffalo and a host of spectacular water, forest and grassland birds. The marine habitat is the route used by humpback whales on their northerly migration to Mocambique to calve. Other sea creatures include migratory marlin, sailfish and dolphins. In December the Loggerheads and Leatherback turtles come onto the beach to lay eggs.

Jozini Dam lies in between the majestic Ubombo and Lebombo mountains and covers over 16 000 ha. It was originally designed to irrigate over 80 000 ha of farm land supporting products such as sugarcane, rice, coffee and various sub-tropical fruits. Lake Jozini is a very popular Tiger fishing destination. The dam borders with the Pongola Nature and Game Reserve and you can view wildlife from your boat and glow-flies light up the early evening shoreline, transforming the water into an incandescent array of fairy lights.

HLUHLUWE is found in the heart of Zululand on South Africa’s east coast. It is only a two-hour drive from Durban (275 kms). Hluhluwe was home to the Zulu kings Dingiswayo and Shaka, who allegedly prompted the very first conservation laws and the oldest game reserve in the country - the Hluhluwe and Umfolozi Game Reserve, established in 1895.

Game to be viewed includes: elephant, buffalo, wildebeest, giraffe, zebra, kudu, bushbuck, duiker, steenbok, hyena, cheetah, wild dog, cerval cat, warthog and even the occasional sighting of leopard, which roam the Lebombo mountains. There are over 350 different bird species, including the whistling duck, yellow

This low-risk malaria park is famous for rescuing the white rhino

from the verge of extinction and its protection of both the white and black rhinoceros. Besides game the park contains an 7


Hippo and crocodile are also prevalent at the estuary’s edge.

billed storks, Egyptian geese, herons, kingfishers and several fish eagles to be found in this area.

MAPUTALAND MARINE RESERVE is approximately 11 kilometres north of Jesser Point and runs all the way to the Mocambique border. It was brought into existence mainly for the preservation of the dwindling Leatherback turtles nesting in the area. Sodwana Bay lies within the Maputaland Marine Reserve and is the only scuba-diving area along this strip of coastline and regarded as one of the top dive sites in the world.

KOSI BAY is a rich network of lakes that stretches from Lake

Zilonde on the Mocambique border in the north, to Lake Amanzimnyama, in the south. Essentially it is a complex system of six large lakes, two smaller lakes and one of the best preserved estuaries on the Indian Ocean coastline. A number of lakes and streams enter the sea at Kosi Bay and the region is famous for its pristine beaches. Much of the area is protected within the Kosi Bay Nature Reserve. Kosi Bay’s lake system is home to a large variety of birds, animals such as hippos and crocodiles and a great variety of fish and other aquatic fauna.

Popular tourism destinations and attractions include sites such as Kosi Lakes, Kosi Mouth, Bhanga Nek, Rocktail Bay, Black Rock, Lake Sibaya, Mabibi, in fact anywhere north of Sodwana and south of Ponta de Ouro in Mozambique. Mkuze lies just 18 km west from the entrance gate of the Mkuze Game Reserve on the N2.

Humpback whales can be viewed just off the beaches, on their northerly migration to Mocambique. Loggerhead and Leatherback turtles that lay their eggs on the beaches every year can be seen.

The MKUZE GAME RESERVE tends to be overshadowed by the Hluhluwe and Umfolozi reserves, but the area is worth a visit for the splendid variety of bird and animal life and the amazing range of over 700 plant species. Mkuze Game Reserve was proclaimed a protected area in 1912 and is a birdlife mecca with around 450 identified species of bird.

Fishing is a way of life to many of the Thonga people of the region as a food source but is also very popular amongst visitors. Fishing is usually only allowed in the reserves and with a permit. Fly fishing has become popular, although the presence of hippos and crocodiles does tend to add an element of danger to the sport.

Three of the five pans throughout the park, the Kubube, Kamasinga and Kwamalibala are set up with viewing hides to provide some of the best game viewing in South Africa. The Hhlonhlela and Nsumo pans further north in the park have hippo, crocodile and white & pink backed pelicans. Just outside the reserve is the Ghost Mountain, which towers over the Mkuze River, and as legend has it, is said to be haunted because a cave near its summit was a burial place for chiefs of the Ndwandwe family, who were often in conflict with Shaka.

Kosi Bay is home to rare species such as the two-armed Mudskipper fish and the one-armed Fiddler crab. LAKE SIBAYA is the largest fresh water lake in South Africa with a surface area of 77km and an average depth of 13m. The lake was previously connected to the sea and with the closure of the estuary, numerous invertebrates and vertebrates were trapped in a fresh water environment.

MTUBATUBA means ‘he who was pummelled out’ and was initially established as a railway siding in 1903 in a swampland of reeds and papyrus. The town was almost swept away in 1918 in one of the worst floods the area had seen in over 100 years. It was only in the late 1920s that efforts to drain the swamp began and Mtubatuba became an official village in 1950. Mtubatuba is the land of sugar cane and forests with a mountainous ridge along the coast that culminates in a series of giant forested dunes being the highest of their kind in the world.

The reserve is a protected area. Each beach has limited access and scuba-diving, snorkelling, swimming and sunbathing are the main activities. Walks with guides are conducted in the community conservation area, in the forest and along the lake edge. In November and through to February, during summer months, the great Leatherback turtles return year after year to the Marine Reserve between St Lucia and the Mocambique border. Here they make their nests in the sand dunes, lay their eggs and then return to the sea.

SODWANA BAY means ‘little one on its own’ in Zulu and is best known for its deep-sea diving and beautiful coral reefs.

MABIBI lies between Lake Sibaya and Sodwana Bay, forming part of the Kosi Bay coastal forest reserve. This is one of KwaZuluNatal’s most spectacular coastlines. It is the only tropical dive site in South Africa and lies alongside Africa’s most southern coral reefs and makes for some of the best diving in the world. The secluded and sheltered beach lies bordered by spectacular rocky outcrops and dune forest lies away from the beach.

There is an abundance of tropical fish, moray eels, large schools of pelagic fish, hard and soft coral, sponges and, at certain times of the year, whales, whale sharks and dolphins. In summer, Loggerhead and Leatherback turtles come out of the sea on to the beaches to lay their eggs. The water temperatures range from 24 degrees celsius in summer and is seldom colder than 19 degrees making diving possible all year. Visibility is rarely less than 15 metres and depths vary between 12 to 50 metre sites. The reefs themselves are thought to be over 4 000 years old and have plenty of caves, overhangs and pinnacles.

The warm waters of the Mabibi reefs attract 1200 species of fish, schools of Bottlenose dolphin, sharks, whale sharks and turtles. The turtle hatchlings can be seen in February and March as they dash for the ocean, just moments after emerging from their eggs. The crystal clear water provides ideal conditions for snorkelling, diving and swimming for most of the year because of the subtropical weather in Mabibi and the warmth of the Indian Ocean.

ST LUCIA on the Elephant Coast lies at the southern most

entrance to the iSimangaliso Wetland Park, a World Heritage site that stretches all the way from Kozi Bay in the north, to Cape St Lucia in the south. Parts of this area have been a game reserve since 1895. Cape St Lucia was the first park in South Africa to be declared a World Heritage Site by UNESCO in 1999. It is home to five recognisable ecosystems and includes swamps, lake systems, coral reefs, beaches, wetlands, woodlands and coastal forests. The little town of St Lucia serves as a tourist hub and has grown substantially. There are many accommodation options, restaurants, supermarkets and other tourist attractions within the town.

MAPELANE NATURE RESERVE is the southern-most reserve within the Greater St Lucia Wetlands Park and is situated on the south bank of the Umfolozi River where it enters the sea, opposite the little village of St Lucia. The reserve offers splendid walks through tropical forest and bush.

The warm waters in the Mapelane Reserve are excellent for ski boating, surf fishing, spear fishing and deep-sea fishing. Gathering mussels, oysters and crayfish in the rocky intertidal pools is a delightful adventure. A self-guided hike along the Umphafa Trail is rewarding. Nearly 200 bird species can be found in the Reserve and wildlife you can expect to see in the forest include small buck, monkey, mongoose and red squirrel.

The Great St Lucia Wetland Park supports the country’s largest population of hippo and crocodile. Also found here are Leatherback turtles, black rhino, leopards, over 530 species of birds including flamingos and some 36 species of amphibians. 8


A privately owned luxury lodge committed to service and quality, dedicated personal attention, interpretive experiences and fine cuisine. You will leave Ndiza with cherished memories and experiences. A panoramic view of the Indian Ocean, Mapelane, the Umfolozi River mouth and part of the famous Lake St Lucia, sets Ndiza Lodge apart as the place with two views. Relax in two swimming pools, the peaceful garden, enjoy a sundowner on the upper-deck or simply experience true tranquility whilst enjoying spectacular views.

RESERVATIONS: +27 83 442 1896 e-mail: info@ndizastlucia.co.za • website: www.ndizastlucia.co.za 153 Hornbill Street, St Lucia, KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa

9


accommodation AVALONE GUEST HOUSE

INGWENYA LODGE

Enjoy luxury & comfort in 1st class accommodation with personal home from home service & hospitality. Come relax & be spoilt. Our guest house consists of 2 houses both offering 5 luxurious bedrooms, all air-conditioned with TV and with private bathrooms. From each room there is direct access to a private terrace in the beautiful tropical garden. From both gardens there is direct access to the Nature Reserve. We also have a lovely suite available among other things with two bathrooms. Each house has a swimming pool, a well-assorted bar and TV-lounge with satellite receiver. Tel: +27 35 590 2112 • Fax: +27 86 523 1150 Cell: +27 72 422 7020 info@avalone-guesthouse.com www.avalone-guesthouse.com

Self-catering lodge on the “outskirts” © Johan Swanepoel of the residential area of St Lucia, in the heart of the iSimangaliso Wetland Park and borders the nature reserve with a view of both the sea and the estuary Tel +27 35 590 1032 Cell +27 72 172 2119 grootkrokodil@ingwenyalodge.co.za www.ingwenyalodge.co.za

Our Lodge is perfectly situated for guests who want to base themselves in the heart of this pristine area and further explore the region.Just a few hundred metres from the water’s edge of Lake Nhlange (the 3rd and largest lake)

Kwangwanase, Zululand • S26.57min67.8 E32deg 48min, 63.6

Tel +27 35 592 9561 • Fax +27 35 5920392 • Cell + 27 83-2624865 Email: mwkosibay@mweb.co.za • www.kosibaylodge.co.za

LITTLE EDEN

MAPUTALAND GUEST HOUSE

Up-market and tastefully decorated self-catering accommodation, with genuine hospitality whilst ensuring your privacy and comfort. Six fully equipped self-catering units, our five, six and eight-sleeper units are ideal for larger groups or families, whilst the two smaller units are ideal for young families with small children or couples seeking a romantic holiday. Relax at the sparkling pool, lapa area or serene garden with its prolific bird life. Easy access to the beach, restaurants, supermarkets and the rest of the town. This ideal location makes us your best choice for exclusive accommodation! Tel + 27 35 590 1527 Cell +27 81 045 3381 E-mail: info@littleedensaintlucia.com Website: www.littleedensaintlucia.com

PARKERS COTTAGES

We are centrally located and within walking distance from the restaurants and golden beaches with warm Tropical waters. Whales visit in winter. Tel +27 35 590 1041 • Fax +27 86 714 7053 Cell +27 82 899 7478 E-mail: bookings@maputaland.com Website: www.maputaland.com

SUNSET LODGE ST LUCIA

Parkers Cottages offer comfortable and affordable bed and breakfast accommodation in St Lucia Estuary. The fully en-suite guest cottages each have 2 bedrooms, air-conditioning, secure parking and are fully serviced. Set within a colourful, tropical garden, there is a private pool and braai area available for guests. A scrumptious breakfast is included and families are welcome.

Situated on the banks of the St Lucia Estuary, within a World Heritage Site. The Greater St Lucia Wetlands Park - now known as the iSimangaliso Wetland Park.

Tel + 27 35 590 1298 • Cell + 27 84 398 0940 55 Hornbill Street, St Lucia info@parkerscottages.com www.parkerscottages.com

Tel +27 35 590 1197 Cell +82 440 0569 E-mail: info@sunsetstlucia.co.za Website: www.sunsetstlucia.co.za

10


attractions, travel, tours & safaris AMAZULU TOURS & SAFARIS

BANGAZI HORSE SAFARIS

We do transfers, game drive safaris to Hluhluwe-Imfolozi, Eastern and Western Shores Safaris.

Bhangazi Horse Safaris offers an amazing experience in the iSimangaliso Wetland Park. Feel the sheer thrill of riding along untouched beaches and viewing wildlife.

Tel +27 35 590 1182 • Cell +27 73 267 6762 E-mail: amazulutours@telkomsa.net Website: www.stluciaza.co.za

Cell +27 83 792 7899 E-mail: info@horsesafari.co.za Website: www.horsesafari.co.za

MARLIN LODGE

HLUHLUWE PINEAPPLE TOURS

Visit our established pineapple farm at BADENHORST BOERDERY for a guided tour. Learn more about this exotic, healthy fruit whilst enjoying freshly-cut pure pineapples and juice. Please book in advance.

We are situated in the tranquil, tropical village of St Lucia in KwaZulu-Natal. St Lucia lies on the banks of the St Lucia estuary and is totally surrounded by the iSimangaliso Wetland Park, South Africa’s first Natural World Heritage Site. We offer comfortable and fully serviced accommodation. Breakfast can be served outside under the cool trees or in the dining area. Tea and coffee is available in the dining area at all times. Lunch and dinner is available on various tours/safaris or can be enjoyed at any restaurant in St Lucia, all within walking distance from Marlin Lodge.

Contact Estie: Cell +27 81 268 9268 Cell +27 82 945 7208 E-mail: badenhuis@futurenet.co.za badenhorst@futurenet.co.za

Tel +27 35 590 1929 • Fax +27 86 608 5412 Cell +27 82 925 2052 E-mail: info@marlinlodgestlucia.co.za www.marlinlodgestlucia.co.za

PLEASE BOOK IN ADVANCE

11


12


MPUMALANGA

battlefields

BATTLEFIELDS

Z

T

A

T

A

O battlefields distances - kms

A

MIDLANDS

T A

13

Ladysmith to PMB................ 158 Ladysmith to Dundee........... 72 NORTH COAST Ladysmith to Newcastle. ...... 111 Ladysmith to Vryheid........... 153 Ladysmith to Estcourt.......... 56 Ladysmith to Rorke’s Drift.... 88 Newcastle to PMB................ 262 Newcastle to Dundee........... 67 Newcastle to Vryheid........... 97 Newcastle to Harrismith....... 119

A


CLINT RALPH PHOTOGRAPHY

battlefields The areas that make up the Battlefields are amongst the most picturesque landscapes in the country. The hills and intricate rock formations that lie scattered amongst the rolling plains and valleys of northern and central KwaZulu-Natal are also the site of historical battles that took place and shaped the history of both South African and British history. Wind-swept plains littered with the remains of stone forts and graveyards bear witness to countless fierce battles. Initially the battles took place between the Voortrekkers moving inland in a bid to escape the British rule of the Cape Colony and the fierce Zulu kings who believed that this beautiful land that lay between the Drakensberg Mountains and the Indian Ocean was their own ‘heaven on earth’. This same area of land experienced further clashes between the British Empire, battling to gain control over land across the Tugela River and the Zulu nation in the Anglo-Zulu War of 1879. These famous battles included the bloody encounters at Isandlawana and Rorkes Drift. Just two years later, the British were at war again in South Africa in what became known as the First Anglo-Boer War with numerous battles ensuing across this same area of land. BIGGARSBERG is situated on the N11 between Ladysmith and Newcastle and is the name of a range of mountains that run from north-west to south-east between Glencoe and Ladysmith. The highest peak of the Biggarsberg range is Indumeni mountain, from which the local municipality, known as Endumeni, gets its name.

took place here.The Battle of Colenso, fought on 15 December 1899, was the first of five battles where attempts were made to lift the siege on Ladysmith. This battle was fought on three fronts, none of which was successful - one was repulsed, one was ambushed, and the last came under heavy fire and had to abandon its advance. In the process of attempting to retrieve guns, a number of men were lost including Lieutenant Freddy Roberts, son of Field Marshall Lord Roberts. In total 1100 men were killed at Colenso compared to the eight Boers who lost their lives.

Drive along the N11 and there isn’t much to indicate that you are in Biggarsberg, other than undulating hills that easily bring to mind the age-old song ‘Green are the hills of Natal’ and the odd herd of cows. This is mostly farm land now and farm style accommodation is an ideal way in which to stay awhile, if you are interested in the intense history that occurred in and around the towns of Ladysmith and Dundee.

Colenso’s main attraction is to visit the sites commemorating parts of this battle and includes the Ambleside Military Cemetery. A number of smaller battles that became known collectively as the Battle of Tugela Heights, possibly the largest battle ever fought by the British Army up until the Second World War, were fought a short distance from Colenso, en route to Ladysmith.

The range of mountains served as a natural barrier between Dundee and Ladysmith and was therefore heavily involved in the battles that link seventeen towns across fifty historical sites that form the Battlefield Route. The valley at the feet of Biggarsberg has the largest concentration of battlefields in the country. It was here that Boer, Brit and Zulu clashed in many conflicts, making it an ideal spot from which to explore the route.

DANNHAUSER is named after an old farming family that lived in the area. Dannhauser is one of three local municipalities within the Amajuba District Municipality and covers an area of approximately 1516 square kilometres. It is the smallest municipality within the District Municipality.

COLENSO lies on the banks of the Thukela River, in the foothills of the Drakensberg. It has just over 6 000 residents and maintains its country atmosphere. Colenso was used as a base by the British Army during the Anglo-Boer War. The town is also known as eSkipeni (Zulu for Place of the Boat) and was regarded as one of the lowest points of the British Army during the battle that

The main towns are Dannhauser, Hattingspruit, Inverness, Kilegethe, Klipbank, Milford, Normandien, Nyanyadu, Rutland, Tendeka and Witteklip. The town of Dannhauser is located halfway between Durban 14


and Johannesburg about eight kilometres off the national road between the two cities. It is surrounded by some of the largest coal-producing mines in KwaZulu-Natal. Numerous rivers flow through the municipal area, the most important being the Ngagane and uMzinyathi Rivers and there are scenic landscapes in the western portion of the municipality. Dundee is a pretty little town which has managed to retain much of its rustic appeal. It lies in the valley of the magnificent Biggarsberg Mountain range. It is 325 kilometres from Durban and a 30 minute drive from the neighbouring towns of Ladysmith and Newcastle. Dundee was originally a farm owned by a Scotsman who named it after his hometown. Dundee became a boomtown after he floated his Dundee Coal Company on the London Stock Exchange in 1899, giving rise to beautiful, graceful homes, a theatre and because Dundee was the meeting place of seven roads leading inland and to the coast it enjoyed popularity for some time.

unburied on the field. LADYSMITH is set on the banks of the Klip River and named after Sir Harry Smith’s Spanish wife, Lady Juana Smith. Ladysmith was established in 1850 and served as a staging-post for fortune hunters on their way to the gold fields in what was then the Transvaal and the diamond diggings at Kimberley. It serves as a gateway to the central and northern Drakensberg. The peaks of these mountains form an impressive backdrop to the town, especially in winter when a light blanket of snow covers its pinnacles. This town attracted attention during the Anglo Boer War, both locally and overseas, when it fell under siege from October 1899 to March 1900. The siege of Ladysmith placed the British in a precarious Isandlwana position. About 12 000 British soldiers were faced with having to defend the besieged town and the Boers saw this as a strategic move that could topple Great Britain. Interestingly, at this time in history there was avid interest in postcards, similar to today’s blogging development. With the outbreak of war, British editors began producing postcards that exalted the British Empire and its politicians. Although Germany was officially linked to Britain it was trying to overpower her at sea and produced a couple of pro-Boer postcards that showed Ladysmith falling into the hands of the Boers, with Ladysmith portrayed as a handsome woman.

DUNDEE is one of the most prominent places on the Battlefields Route because British forces were mostly concentrated here and at Ladysmith. This gives Dundee a distinct sense of history. The first shots of the Boer War were fired at Talana on a hill just outside Dundee. The Talana Museum is set up in this area and opened its doors in 1979 to commemorate the Anglo Zulu war and also gives the history of coal mining in Dundee. ELANDSLAAGTE is just a smattering of buildings around a train station in the midst of tree-studded grasslands with gently undulating hills in the background. It is along the R602 between Pyne’s Farm and the N11.

The Spioenkop Nature Reserve (6000 hectares), 35 kilometres from Ladysmith, lies just next to the Spioenkop Anglo-Boer War battle site and this area offers the water lover yachting, fishing and water-skiing opportunities.

Elandslaagte lies between the towns of Ladysmith and Dundee. This town is famous for the fact that the Second Boer War took place here. It was one of the few victories claimed by the British in the conflict, despite their retreat afterwards. During this time there was also a railway station at Elandslaagte. During October 1899 the British recaptured the railway station initially taken by the Boers. The war had began two days earlier when the Boer army had occupied the railway station. Elandslaagte and its surrounds are the prettiest part of the Battlefields and is close enough to visit many of the major battle sites.

LÜNEBURG (place of the moon) is the original settlement of German Lutheran missionaries who named the community in 1854 after their hometown in Germany. Today it is the site of the oldest German school in northern KwaZulu-Natal and lies in the northern Drakensberg and virtually on the border with Mpumalanga. Its closest neighbour is Paulpietersburg. Lüneburg is essentially a farming community and other than the two beautiful churches, the butcher, the farm store and Fort Cleary which was built in 1879 there is little by way of attraction and it is safe to assume that the outdoors is what draws you here.

ESTCOURT is quite a large town that serves as the gateway to the central Drakensberg. It is situated lower down in the valley from Van Reenen’s Pass and is located in the heart of the AngloBoer War territory. Initially known as Bushman’s River because of its location near water, Estcourt was renamed in honour of Thomas Estcourt, an English parliamentarian who sponsored the immigration of settlers to the area.

The strong sense of community that is Lüneburg’s way of living makes this part of the world such an undiscovered treasure. It is so easy to get in touch with one’s roots here, soak up the fresh mountain air and get a sense of enviable life that evolves from living close to nature. Mountain biking, hiking, horse trails and birding are the main attractions, if one feels so inclined, but there is little pressure to do anything.

Estcourt’s turbulent past began with the murder of Piet Retief and his followers at the hands of Dingane, followed by the murder of Boer families near Estcourt, where a memorial now stands. Other sites include the Armoured Train Cemetery, where a young Winston Churchill was captured and Brynbella Hill, 10 kilometres from Estcourt, which represented high ground for the Boers as they pressed further south. The stone wall used by both the Boer and British forces during the skirmish on 23 Nov 1899 is still visible and is a national monument.

NEWCASTLE is the largest town in northern KwaZulu-Natal and shares its name with another 27 sister Newcastles worldwide. It is steeped in history and was heavily involved in the Anglo-Boer War. Newcastle was originally known as Post Halt Two - a stop on the journey from Port Natal-Durban and the former Transvaal. Even though the N3 no longer runs through Newcastle, the town is worth a visit for the battle sites just outside of town, which include Laing’s Nek, Majuba (which also offers braai and picnic facilities) and Schuinshoogte. There are a number of monuments and memorials in Newcastle, including Hilldrop House, once the dwelling place of author Rider Haggard whose books included “King Solomon’s Mines”, “She” and “Jess” - said to be based on his time at Hilldrop House and O’Neil’s Cottage which was used as a makeshift hospital during the war. Other places to visit are a Hindu Temple on Kirkland Street in Newcastle, with a beautifully shaped dome, and Snowy’s on the Newcastle / Volksrust Road which sells wonderful home bakes and is renowned for its biltong.

GLENCOE was named after a valley in Argyleshire by Scottish settlers during the late 1800s. The town has a proud railway history with the first train arriving on 4 September 1889. Attractions include Carl Landman’s House which is a fine example of houses built by the Voortrekker leader who fought at the Battle of Blood River. ISANDLWANA, in Zulu, means “something like a little house.” The Battle of Isandlwana was the worst defeat ever inflicted on British troops by Zulu forces. In the end, about 1300 British and 1500 - 2000 Zulus lay dead. The British dead were buried on the field several weeks later, and the cairns marking their graves are visible today. The Zulu dead who were not carried off, remained

RORKE’S DRIFT is 46 kilometres southeast of Dundee and owes 15


its name to a natural crossing presented by a rocky outcrop that allows one to cross the Buffalo River on foot. When you take into account that just 4 kilometres down from the drift the river enters a gorge and from here there is no easy crossing until it joins up with the Tugela River, you get an idea of its significance.

Anglo/Zulu war of 1879 and Lord Chelmsford and both Sir Evelyn Wood and his Flying Column had their headquarters in the town. During the Boer War, Leo Pokrowsky, a Pole who was an officer in the Russian Army but was fighting for the Boer forces was killed in a skirmish with the British in 1900. A plaque commemorating this event is in the Anglican Church. The old cemetery holds the graves of numbers of British and Boer soldiers. There is another monument to Petrus Uys who was one of the first magistrates. He went on commando with his four sons and was killed at Hlobane.

Rorke’s Drift therefore provides an easy route from the northern plateau of Natal into Zululand, past the Isandlwana and Siphezi mountains. It was named after James Rorke who farmed near the crossing. After his death, the farm was taken over by a Swedish Mission that was to play a strategic role in one of the fiercest battles of the Anglo-Zulu War.

WEENEN is a small rural town established by the Voortrekkers after avenging the massacre at Bloukrans (nearby). It is the second oldest town in KwaZulu-Natal. The name means “weeping” in Afrikaans and comes from the defeats suffered by the Voortrekkers at the hands of the Zulus at Bloukrans and Moordspruit. 10kms from Weenen on the Muden road is an “isivivane” which is a large pile of stones six metres in diameter and one metre high. Stones were placed by travellers on the isivivane by picking up the stone with the toes of the left foot, transferring it to the right hand, spitting on it and throwing it on to the pile. A key idea behind this tradition is that the arrangement of stones is the contribution by different people over time as a reminder and we can therefore see Isivivane as a form of collectively performed memory.

The countryside around Rorke’s Drift gives true meaning to the description ‘unspoilt beauty’, and it is hard to imagine that this peaceful landscape was the scene of such violence. The Rorke’s Drift Battle Museum, which has received worldwide attention for its displays of the Anglo-Zulu War, offers an incredible audiovisual depiction of the Rorke’s Drift battle and others and is well worth a visit. Utrecht lies within the Balele Game Park and the Utrecht Community Game Farm. All the mountains that surround the town are part of the Game Park and have many species of game including Impala, Blesbuck, Bushbuck, Waterbuck, Nyala, Red Hartebeest, Blue Wildebeest, Kudu, Burchell’s Zebra, Warthog and Giraffe. The long-term plan is to open the whole area to the town, so that game animals can be seen on the outskirts of town, parks and gardens as is already happening with species such as Grey Duiker, Genet and Impala.

The excellent Weenen museum (1838) is worth a visit and houses a collection of Voortrekker artefacts. Voortrekker leader Andries Pretorius’ waterwheel is one of the exhibits. The museum building was previously a magistrates’ office, post office and a prison. Between 1907 and 1983 a narrow gauge railway called the “Cabbage Express” connected Weenen with Estcourt and provided an outlet for its produce.

UTRECHT takes its name from the Dutch town and has a rich history. It was one of the five original Voortrekker towns laid out before 1850. The area around the town is the tribal area of five Zulu amaKhosi (chiefs) and there are plans for a cultural centre. Utrecht played a major role in the events leading up to the

accommodation NXALA RANCH

PALM GROVE GUEST HOUSE Palm Grove is a beautiful 3-star graded Cape Dutch style home situated in a quiet area at the foot of Vryheid Hill, under one of the tallest palm trees. Relax in our comfortable rooms all with coffee making facilities, DStv & wireless internet, while your vehicle is safely parked on the premises.

Enjoy the peace & tranquility of the country when you visit Nxala Ranch on a working beef & game farm.

After the hot summer days you can relax in & around the pool. Braai facilities & home-made dinners are available on request.

Tel +27 34 642 1652 • Fax +27 86 551 7142 Cell: +27 83 660 7622 Biggars Mountain, 43km from Dundee PO Box 28, Dundee 3000 nxala@lantic.net • www.nxalaranch.co.za

Tel/Fax +27 34 981 3302 221 Shepstone Street, Vryheid 3100 E-mail: cjengin@mweb.co.za Website: www.palmgroveguesthouse.co.za

PENNY FARTHING COUNTRY HOUSE

Close to Rorke’s Drift, Isandlwana & Blood River. 5th generation owners. Tel: 034 642 1925 • Fax: 086 657 0211 Cell: 082 259 6006 E-mail: foy@pennyf.co.za Website: www.pennyf.co.za

PENRYN B&B

Penryn is a gracious old home, situated in central Dundee, close to all amenities & easily accessible. It is a listed building. Tel +27 34 218 2269 • Fax +27 86 692 8374 Cell +27 72 231 3089 21 Union Street, Dundee 3000 E-mail: penrynbb@trustnet.co.za Website: www.penrynbb.co.za

16

Clint Ralph Photography


17


Tel +27 36 637 9604 Tel +27 36 637 9612 Fax 086 693 7697 Cell +27 83 321 0375 E-mail: reservations@thespringboklodge.co.za Website: www.thespringboklodge.co.za 18


zululand

SWAZILAND

ELEPHANT COAST

ZULULAND

T A

Durban to Vryheid................ 271 Vryheid to Pongola............... 109 Vryheid to Ulundi................. 102 Vryheid to Greytown............ 180 Vryheid to Richards Bay....... 199 Vryheid to Sodwana............. 224 Durban to Empangeni.......... 167 Empangeni to Richards Bay... 23 Empangeni to Mtunzini.......... 30 Empangeni to Eshowe........... 52 Empangeni to St Lucia........... 77 Empangeni to Darnall............ 85 Durban to Richards Bay....... 186 Richards Bay to Mtubatuba.... 48 Richards Bay to Melmoth....... 86 Richards Bay to Hluhluwe.... 101

NORTH COAST

T A

zululand distances - kms

19


PAULINE HIBBERT PHOTOGRAPHY

zululand Zululand extends up to Richards Bay along the north coast and inland into the rural heart of KwaZulu-Natal. It runs north to Pongola and includes the little towns of Ulundi and Vryheid. It is an area rich in symbolism and tradition and the age-old Zulu culture remains today. Visitors can experience Zulu villages like Shakaland and Dumazulu where they can visit a sangoma, watch a rural wedding ceremony and experience Zulu hospitality. Learn also about life in King Dingane’s capital uMgungundlovu. Zululand lies on the border of both the Battlefields Route and The Drakensberg and is home to tea plantations, cattle farms and is also rich in wildlife. There are numerous parks, farms and nature reserves dedicated to conservation including the Siyaya Coastal Park, the Umlalazi Nature Reserve and the Amatikulu Nature Reserve. The Zululand Birding Route offers an incredible diversity of over 650 bird species. Dlinza, one of the most beautiful forests of Zululand, lies in the Dlinza Nature Reserve close to Eshowe, one of the finest places to spot birds, hike and see wild fig and African plum trees. BABANANGO lies in northern Zululand and is en route to Dundee on the R68. The name translates as ‘Father there she is’ - ‘Ubaba, nangu’ - and evidently refers to a small child who was lost on the slopes of the mist-shrouded hill. Babanango is the highest village in Zululand and an ideal place to stay if you intend following the Battlefields Route, which pays tribute to a number of bloody Anglo-Boer and Anglo-Zulu battles that ensued during the late 1800s and early 1900s. Babanango was originally part of a land grant to European farmers in 1885 from King Dinizulu. Babanango is also on the Zululand Birding Route with over 600 recorded species of bird. The route is focused on conserving these birds and their habitats by promoting and developing birding tourism. There are also a number of hiking trails in the area.

The temperatures here rise to as high as 45° celsius and combined with the humidity it can be extremely hot. The subtropical climate does make it a perfect year round destination. The Enseleni Nature Reserve is about 13km north of Empangeni and has a 7km hiking trail where zebra and impala can be spotted, and has a number of picnic spots. The history of early sugar pioneers can be followed at Empangeni’s museum which is worth a visit. Local Zulu cultural and contemporary art displays can also be seen at the museum. The 18-hole Empangeni Golf Course is a must for golf enthusiasts. Empangeni is the gateway to the reserves of Hluhluwe and Umfolozi and is a good stopover before venturing further afield. ESHOWE is the oldest European settlement in Zululand and lies just below a ridge of hills that contains the Dlinza Forest. The sound of wind blowing through the forest is thought to have inspired Eshowe’s name but it is more likely named after the Zulu word ‘ishongwe’, which refers to the abundance of milkbush shrubs in the area. Eshowe lies in the Uthungulu district of Zululand and is just 25 km from the beach, lagoons and wetlands. The area became King Cetshwayo’s headquarters when he built a kraal here in 1860. Eshowe was annexed by the British in 1887 and the ‘Beau Geste’ type of fort, which now houses the Zululand Historical Museum, is one of the sites in Eshowe that forms part of the Battlefields Route in KwaZuluNatal. Eshowe’s location protects it from the sub-tropical humidity that affects this region and has made it a popular holiday destination for centuries, initially with Zulu kings and

EMPANGENI is approximately 160km from Durban on the R34 just off the N2. It is only 15 km away from Richards Bay on the coast. It was originally the site of a Norwegian mission station established near the stream called eMpangeni. The mission was later moved to Eshowe but a magisterial district of Empangeni was established here in 1894. The name Empangeni, according to Zulu folklore comes from the Zulu word ‘pangaed’, which means ‘grabbed’, and is thought to refer to the number of crocodile attacks in the nearby eMpangeni stream. The town produces sugar, cotton, timber and farms cattle. Despite its development into a modern town, it has kept its small town qualities and locals are hospitable in true Zululand style. 20


today with holiday-makers, to escape the heat at the coast.

source of financial stability in the region.

The 200ha Dlinza forest, which offers some wonderful walks and trails has the only aerial boardwalk in the southern hemisphere and is home to birds, vervet monkeys, wild pigs, blue and red duikers, bushbuck and other creatures. The Entumi Nature Reserve, another indigenous forest has some wonderful species of bird. The forest trails are both on steep terrain but the waterfalls and sightings of blue duiker and bushbuck make it worthwhile. The Miller’s Tiger, a rare moth thought to have been extinct, has been re-discovered in the grasslands of the Entumeni Forest. The pretty Mpushini Falls can also be found in this area. The Vukani Museum which houses examples of Zulu pottery, basketry, beadwork and tapestries is also worth a visit.

Nkandla forest is about 68 km from Melmoth. Throughout Zulu history it has been regarded as a place of mystery and the supernatural. The Chube, ironworkers associated with the Nkandla area were never conquered by Shaka. The forest is one of very few surviving examples and remnants of a time when the climate was wetter and colder and is now a rare example of a high wet rain forest. It is also one of the best examples of surviving mist belt forest in South Africa. Steams that rise in the forest form deep gorges leading into the Nsuze River, running along the base of the ridge. MTUNZINI, also known as ‘the place of shade’ is perched on a hill overlooking the beach with a beautiful dune forest and an estuary lined with mangrove swamp forest. The entire town was declared a Conservancy in 1995 and has received awards for its commitment and contribution to preserving the natural environment. The streets of Mtunzini are lined with indigenous trees that provide food for a large variety of birds and stands of Raphia palm attract the Palmnut Vulture, South Africa’s rarest breeding bird of prey. The name, Mtunzini, comes straight from the Zulu word ‘Emthunzini’, meaning ‘in the shade of the umthunzi tree’. In this case, it refers to one specific tree John Dunn’s Milkwood tree. John Dunn became Cetshwayo’s diplomatic adviser around 1856, after resigning his post as assistant to the British Border Agent. In return for his position, he received a large stretch of land, roughly today’s equivalent of Mtunzini.

GINGINDLOVU is close to the Amatikulu Game Reserve, one of the few places in South Africa where wildlife can be viewed feeding on forested dunes overlooking the sea. The reserve’s coastal forest, grasslands and rivers attract an array of birdlife and giraffe, zebra, waterbuck and smaller antelope can be found here. The reserve is a popular fishing destination and canoeing on the Amatikulu Estuary is also popular. Gingindlovu was named by Cetshwayo when he won the struggle with his brother Mbulazi over the Zulu throne and means “swallower of the elephant” in Zulu. It is on the Battlefields Route in northern Zululandu. “Mgungundlovu” is the historic royal homestead of Dingaan and is where Piet Retief and his party of Boer commandos were executed. Just 15 minutes drive from Eshowe is the site of the 1879 battle between British forces and Cetshwayo’s army, who had besieged the town of Eshowe. The British victory placed the town firmly on the colonial map but the troops had difficulty with the name and dubbed it - “GinGin, I love you”.

The town has cleared alien weeds and rehabilitated the natural forest areas, providing a natural beauty and attracting local birds and wildlife back to the town. It is a fisherman’s paradise with a 40 km stretch of beach. Birding and bush trails make this a haven for bird watchers and nature lovers. The mangrove swamps, estuarine mud flats, coastal dune forest and open grassland provide different habitats and over 300 bird species have been recorded in the area. The climate is sub-tropical with winters never cooler than 17º celsius, making Mtunzini a perfect destination all year round. Nongoma lies north west of Hluhluwe and is fast becoming a major tourist attraction because King Goodwill Zwelethini has his royal palaces here and has opened these to the public.

MAGUDU is set in the far north western reaches of KwaZuluNatal. Magudu lies between the Pongolapoort Dam and the Ithala Game Reserve in the heart of the rolling hills of Uphongolo Rural in Zululand. Surrounding the rural town of Magudu that is said to have once been the home of Magudu, the Rain Queen (a title that passes from mother to daughter) - are an ever-increasing number of game farms and bush and safari experiences. The prominent mountain of Magudu is regarded as being sacred. Whilst the village that sits on the summit of the mountain holds little fascination for the traveller, except for its association with the Rain Queen, it is the experience promised by the private game farms of the area that attract visitors. Magudu’s ability to control the clouds and rainfall must contribute to the incredible beauty that this inland area has to offer. This part of the country is a series of mountains, wetlands and savannah that are not only beautiful, but an ideal stopover en route to the Jozini Dam or Swaziland border. The chance to see rhino, giraffe, antelope, wildebeest, elephant, buffalo and leopard is what draws visitors to game farms around Magudu. In some cases a number of game farms have merged their borders to allow animals a larger area in which to roam and to offer visitors a more vast experience of animals in the wild.

NONGOMA was derived from the Zulu word, ngome, meaning “the mother of songs”. It was originally established in 1888 as a safeguard between two warring Zulu factions to try to establish peace in the area. Today, the hereditary leader of Zululand, local businessman, Mlungisi Percy Nzuza, who owns Nongoma Lodge, is a driving force behind local tourism in the town and arranges dinners at which members of the royal family appear to chat informally to visitors about the Royal House and the traditions of the Zulu people. Another reason for visiting Nongoma is its proximity to the Ntendeka Wilderness which is just outside the town. Although South Africa’s smallest wilderness area, this is perhaps one of its most beautiful. It is easily explored on foot and has over 45 km of footpaths, most of them deep beneath the forest canopy. The Zulu Highway, one of these footpaths, was originally a traditional route established by some of the earliest inhabitants of the area and is still in existence. The wilderness has been protected since 1905, after initial woodcutters ravaged the area with uncontrolled logging. It is today a rare combination of coastal and inland tropical forest which cannot be found in any other conservation area in KwaZulu-Natal.

MELMOTH is known as the gateway to the Zulu Highlands and is a picturesque little town just 200 km north east of Durban and 90 km from the coastal town of Mtunzini. Melmoth was a “gold rush” town, founded in 1888 and named after Sir Melmoth Osborn, the resident commissioner of Zululand at the time. Ntingwe Tea Plantations found in this remote corner of KwaZulu-Natal produces some of South Africa’s finest teas solely for export. Regarded as lighter than other African teas, such as those produced in Kenya, Ntingwe has gained an excellent reputation in the international market. Ntingwe was established in 1987 and is the single biggest employer and

Ntendeka Wilderness is home to nearly 200 species of bird, 180 species of trees and shrubs, including terrestrial and tree orchids, some magnificent precipitous cliffs, waterfalls, and a 21


plains include beautiful beaches and conservation areas and contains the largest estuarine system in Southern Africa. The Richards Bay area is rich in historical and cultural significance. The Richards Bay Game Sanctuary (1200 ha), is home to water birds, crocodiles and sharks. A crocodile of 7m was once killed here by John Dunn. It was here that Shaka Zulu forged his Zulu Kingdom, and the last battle of the Anglo-Zulu war was fought near Ulundi in 1879. Zulu kraals or villages in the region display the traditional Zulu way of life to visitors. There are several exciting traditional Zulu villages open to the public, Shakaland and Duma Zulu amongst them.

variety of animals including: baboon, samango monkey, vervet monkey, duiker, bushbuck, bushpig and porcupine. PAULPIETERSBURG is a small, pretty town nestling in the foothills of the Dumbe Mountain - a big, flat-topped, triangular mountain in the middle of flatlands territory, popular with paragliders and hikers and named after the wild dumbe fruit which grows on its slopes. This town is also on the Rainbow Route, which is an alternative road to the coast that starts in Mpumalanga and passes through Paulpietersburg, Vryheid, Melmoth and Piet Retief and ends in the town of Mtunzini. Paulpietersburg is only 3,5 hours drive from Johannesburg and Durban and popular with visitors because of the nine hot and cold mineral water pools at the Natal Spa just 9 km outside of town. The spa is fed by a natural, hot spring that surfaces on the southern approaches to the 1536m Dumbe Mountain.

ULUNDI, in the heart of Zululand, lies amongst majestic hills and the rugged valleys of the White Umfolozi River. The former capital of the Zulu Kingdom, Ulundi is the Zulu word for ‘the heights’ and was originally named by King Cetshwayo. Ulundi, the capital of Zululand, is the site of the last battle of the Anglo Zulu War. It is significant as the final scene of the Anglo-Boer War when the Battle of Ulundi, in 1879, witnessed the Zulu army’s final defeat just north west of the town. Today, the Ulundi Battle Monument is testimony to the event. King Cetshwayo’s royal residence has been partially reconstructed at Ondini, just outside Ulundi and includes a small site museum that is worth a visit. The mystical Valley of the Kings - eMakhosini - is on the R34 just before Melmoth and was the home of several Zulu clans. The valley is part of the eMakhosini/Ophate Heritage Park, a protected area with some magnificent scenery, in which the “Spirit of eMakhosini Memorial” has recently been erected in honour of the Zulu Kings whose graves lie here. Not only was it the birth place of Shaka but the graves and royal capitals of seven Zulu Kings lie in this valley. The 26 000 ha eMakhosini/ Ophate Heritage Park has now introduced game into the area and is dedicated to the survival of the threatened Oribi species of grassland antelope.

The town was named in 1888 in honour of the Boer president, Paul Kruger and Voortrekker hero, Pieter Joubert and is on the Battlefields Route, which pays homage to a number of fierce Anglo-Boer and Anglo-Zulu battles that ensued during the late 1800s and early 1900s in this part of the world. The Ntombe battlefield, on the north bank of the Ntombe River, a tributary of the Pongola River, is where Captain Mortiarty, some 60 troops and a number of camp attendants were overrun and killed by Zulu Impi during the Anglo-Zulu War. PONGOLA is a small town, 10 km from the Swaziland border in the foothills of the Lebombo Mountains. Rich in Anglo and Zulu Boer War history, Pongola is surrounded by 50 km of sugarcane and subtropical fruit plantations. It is 270 km from the southern gates of the Kruger Park and tourist attractions include local game farms and lodges, the Pongolapoort or Jozini Dam and a local 9-hole golf course. Pongola lies on the N2, wedged between the Swaziland border and the Pongola River, meaning “the trough” because of its long, deep pools with steep sides. This river plays an important role in the area, filling the pans with water in flood season and supporting a population of fish, crocodiles, hippos, aquatic birds and people. Where the Pongola River passes through the Lebombo Mountains is Jozini dam, very popular as a Tiger fishing destination.

Near Ulundi, on the outskirts of the Heritage Park, are caves, virtually hidden on the side of the Ntaba Ntuzuma Mountains. Left largely in peace for years, they have recently drawn much attention. There are signs that these caves were inhabited by the Ngobese clan more than 200 years ago. The caves were almost impregnable to enemies, which is why they were probably chosen as dwellings and the plan in 2005 was to include these with other local tourist attractions. Artefacts already found include grinding stones, wooden spoons and other items, which convinced researchers that these people were brewers of beer. These items have been given to the Dundee museum for display.

A main attraction in Pongola is the Pongola Game Reserve, a private farm through which the Pongola River runs. The area around Pongola is home today to 4 of the Big 5 with just the lion excluded from the list. There are local rhino and elephant tracking programmes which are done on foot. In 1894 Paul Kruger, President of the old Transvaal Republic opened the Pongola Game Reserve. Today, this has been re-proclaimed, at least in part, as the Pongola Bush Nature Reserve, which borders on the Pongola Game Reserve. The Pongola Bush Nature Reserve contains a valuable piece of mist belt, evergreen forest with fine examples of yellowwood trees and over 120 species of bird. The reserve can only be visited following an arrangement with the KwaZulu-Natal Wildlife zone officer.

VRYHEID lies close to the site of one of the more infamous battles of the Battlefields Route, the battle of Blood River fought in 1838 when the Boers confronted the Zulus under Dingaan. The town of Vryheid was involved in the subsequent Anglo-Boer War of 1899, making it one of the more interesting towns on the Battlefields route. Mainly a coal mining and beef farming town, Vryheid - from the Afrikaans word for ‘freedom’ - lies roughly 70 kilometres north east of Dundee in Zululand.

RICHARDS BAY boasts the country’s largest harbour and some of its most magnificent wetland scenery. The town also offers the visitor entrance to Zululand. This part of the African continent is a land of exquisite beauty unique in its incredible diversity. Richards Bay is a vibrant town and is quickly becoming a chosen north coast holiday destination, offering spectacular beaches and unspoilt natural scenery. Richards Bay is one of the closest sea destinations from Gauteng and enjoys a warm climate all year round. The coastline stretches about three hundred and fifty kilometres from the mouth of the Tugela River in the south to the Mozambique border in the north. The coastal

Vryheid’s surrounds are largely dominated by timber farming, this being the reason for the extensive wattle and timber plantations. Crops such as groundnuts and maize are grown. The town also lies near the sources of four major rivers, the White and Black Umfolozi, Mkhuze and Pongola. Access to wetlands in the area is therefore good which is of added benefit to bird watchers and provides a diversity of scenery for hikers to the area, coupled with the added value of several nature reserves. 22


23


accommodation

Situated 12 km’s west of Mkuze, KwaZulu-Natal, we invite guests to come and experience true luxury and warm African hospitality. The Lodge is magnificently set in the heart of Zululand against the backdrop of the Lebombo Mountains within the Zululand Rhino Reserve which is an endangered species and BIG 5 GAME RESERVE. Tel: +27 35 595 8255 • Fax: +27 86 640 9571 • Cell: +27 72 791 9553 E-mail: info@africanspiritgamelodge.co.za • Website: www.africanspiritgamelodge.co.za

BISHOP’S GUEST HOUSE

CHASE GUEST HOUSE

A place of eminence, this stately residence displays exceptional ambiance and caring personalised service. This magnificent colonial home was built in 1891 for the Bishop of Zululand and now boasts three brand new, Victorian styled bathrooms. Each of our seven modernised rooms has its own en-suite bathroom as well as a coffee making station and DSTV.

Tel +27 35 474 2371

Fax to E-mail 086 595 3074 E-mail: info@bishopsplace.co.za Website: www.bishopsplace.co.za

Bed and breakfast accommodation in a private guest wing, self-catering accommodation in a charming cottage or two self-catering garden cottages. Tel +27 35 474 5491 Cell +27 83 265 9629 E-mail: thechase@netactive.co.za Website: www.thechase.co.za

ESHOWE HILLS

SERENDIPITY GUEST HOUSE

Luxury accommodation. Enjoy the Eshowe Hills Eco Estate lifestyle experience… play golf, tennis, and squash anytime, enjoy forest walks and birdwatch to your hearts content in beautiful surroundings.

“We treat guests like royalty, and will strive to make your stay SERENDIPITOUS!” We offer flexible accommodation, whether it is for business, a gathering of friends, or a couple wanting a quiet retreat. Tel/Fax +27 35 786 0869 • Cell 072 259 6610 1 White Eye Way, Birdswood, Richards Bay 3900 serendipity01@telkomsa.net • www.serendipity-za.com

+27 35 473 5000 • +27 82 726 5048 E-mail: reservations@eshowehills.co.za Website: www.eshowehills.co.za

24


attractions, travel, tours & safaris


STATE

drakensberg T

A

LESOTHO A

T

MIDLAND

A

PIETER

uKHAHLAMBA DRAKENSBERG

26

drakensberg distances - kms Durban to Cathedral Peak................233 Durban to Champagne Castle..........207 Durban to Giant’s Castle..................160 SOUTH COAST Durban to Injasuti............................206 Champagne Castle to Underberg......130 Cathedral Peak to Underberg...........156 Cathedral Peak to Mooi River...........100 Champagne Castle to Mooi River.....74


CLINT RALPH PHOTOGRAPHY

drakensberg This truly majestic and awe-inspiring range of mountains, of which the majority lies in KwaZulu-Natal, stretches well over 200 kilometres forming a natural border between Lesotho and KwaZulu-Natal. The mountains of the Dragon, as the Drakensberg is affectionately known, is the highest mountain range in southern Africa and a wonderful sight - the buttresses and peaks glorious at sunrise and sunset, summer, winter or fall; the surrounding area a series of waterfalls, pools, lush and forested gorges and an escarpment that beckons all with a spirit for adventure. These mountains are 2 900 metres high, with some of the highest peaks in Southern Africa rising as high as 3 482 metres. What makes it so popular, besides its sheer majesty, is its accessible plateau and the numerous passes and slopes that make for some of the best and most strenuous hiking in South Africa. The Drakensberg is not only about its famous mountain peaks - Giants Castle, Cathedral Peak, Mont-Aux-Sources - it is also graced with a number of lower peaks known as the foothills of the Drakensberg. The Drakensberg has many incredible waterfalls, rock pools, mountain streams, caves, crisp mountain air, and special spaces that draw both visitors to South Africa and locals alike. The Drakensberg of KwaZulu-Natal lies within the 243 000 hectare mountain region which is also a world heritage site, known as Ukhahlamba-Drakensberg Park. Not only does it boast some of the most incredible scenic beauty, but it also has over 600 examples of San rock paintings in caves around the park. THE NORTHERN, CENTRAL AND SOUTHERN DRAKENSBERG This irregular escarpment over 1000km long forms South Africa’s main watershed. The name means “Dragon Mountain”. An indigenous population of South Africa, the Zulus, called it “UKHAHLAMBA” which means “a barrier of spears.” Although it spreads further north and south than the province of KwaZuluNatal (KZN), the most spectacular part of the Drakensberg is within KZN. It extends 200km from Mont-aux-Sources in the north to Bushman’s Nek in the south. The height and extent of this magnificent escarpment makes it the most distinctive and striking geographical feature of Southern Africa.

THE CENTRAL DRAKENSBERG is the most popular part of the Drakensberg and has a higher population due to its easy access right into the mountains with breathtaking scenery. Here you feel truly humbled by the sheer beauty and magnificence of the awesome peaks. No matter how often you return, the mountains take on a different beauty depending on the weather and the light. The highest peak in the Central Drakensberg is Champagne Castle (990m). THE SOUTHERN DRAKENSBERG stretches from Champagne Castle to Bushman’s Nek further south. Giant’s Castle (1010m) and Wilson’s Peak (1019m) are the highest points in the Southern Drakensberg. All three areas of the KZN Drakensberg offer a variety of accommodation from hotels, guest houses and self-catering cottages. Each area also has an array of tourist attractions including historical sites, guided hiking trails and other activities like golf and biking trails. The Drakensberg is a must-see in South Africa.

THE NORTHERN DRAKENSBERG forms the watershed for the Tugela River. Royal Natal National Park is a truly splendid part of the Northern Drakensberg. The peak Mont-aux-Sources (990m) is the highest peak in this part of the Berg and stretches as far as Cathedral Peak (960m). Bergville, meaning “Mountain Village”, is a small village on the road that leads to the Central Drakensberg. The Northern Drakensberg consists of an area reaching from The Royal Natal National Park in the North through Mweni to Cathedrak Peak in the south. The Amphitheatre is the most famous of all the Northern Drakensberg features. This massive Northern Drakensberg wall stretches 4 kilometres between the Sentinel (3165m) and the Eastern Buttress (3047m). Other famous peaks in the area are: Mont-aux-Sources, the Inner Tower and the Devils Tooth, to name but a few. The Tugela Falls plummets 948m in five clear leaps, making it the highest waterfall series in the world. The Northern Drakensberg is accessed via the historic towns of Bergville and Winterton and also Harrismith in the North.

The Southern Drakensberg allows the freedom to define the boundaries of this area to the people who live and operate there as no lineated boundries constrain this area. The Southern Berg is generally accepted as being the part of the Drakensberg mountain range and surrounds that extends along the South Eastern and Southern border of Lesotho with South Africa. The most internationally renowned landmark feature of the area is the Sani Pass, crested by the Hodgson’s Peaks forming the Giants’ Cup. The main towns in the area include Himeville, Underberg and Bulwer, but the area is generally accepted as extending from where it adjoins the southern side of the KZN Midlands, all the way to Swartberg, Cedarville and beyond (East Griqualand). 27


BERGVILLE is also known as the gateway to the Northern Drakensberg and lies on Route 74 - the more scenic alternative to the Toll Road. This route takes you via the Oliviershoek Pass, traditionally used to access the Berg from Johannesburg and through Winterton from Durban. The pretty town of Bergville is equidistant from Johannesburg and Durban. Essentially an agricultural and trading centre, it is the main town in the Northern Drakensberg and still holds local cattle sales on the third Friday of every month. The town lies on the banks of the Tugela River, with the dramatic peaks of the Drakensberg in the near distance, and is a place to stock up for those heading off into the berg. Bergville has a fair share of supermarkets, butcheries, banks and petrol stations for this part of the world. The towering amphitheatre of the Royal Natal National Park is just 40 kilometres away and the only surviving British blockhouse in KwaZulu-Natal, now a monument and museum, lies within the grounds of the local court house in Bergville. The Spioenkop Dam, Rugged Glen Nature Reserve, Cathkin’s Peak State Forest and Monk’s Cowl are close by.

capture and ambush site - all this only two hours from Durban and three-and-a-half hours from Johannesburg. Geluksburg in the midst of the northern Drakensberg is nothing larger than a hamlet and can be described as tiny with an interesting history. The town has very few houses, a couple of shops, and a mountain. It also has a crossroads and a sign indicating how far it is to Bergville and Ladysmith. A group of people who lived in complete isolation from the rest of cilvilsation at the turn of the century lived here. The nearest town is quite far from here and it is understood that once, the valley that is closest to the town of Geluksburg was known as the ‘lost valley’. Just inside KwaZulu-Natal, the little town is closest to the Free State border, sandwiched between the Oliviershoek and Van Reenen mountain passes, virtually in the middle of nowhere. GELUKSBURG lies at the base of the Ntintwa Mountain and it is here that you come to get lost in the true sense of the word. The term to ‘get away from it all’ usually means as long as it is close enough to shop somewhere, but in Geluksburg, you really do get away from everything commercial, even if you are only 30 kilometres from the N3.

CATHEDRAL PEAK with its spire-like peak is magnificent and is one of the most instantly-recognisable summits in a line of free-standing peaks that have been separated from the main escarpment by erosion. Cathedral Peak is surrounded by wilderness and some of the most spectacular mountain scenery in existence. The peak is bordered by two wilderness areas - the Mdedeleo and Mlambonja and is a retreat for hikers, nature lovers, mountain bikers and rock climbers. The selection of winding trails through mountain scenery, streams, waterfalls, pools and overgrown trees make wandering this terrain an addictive experience. A steep but convenient access to the crest of the Little Berg, is Mike’s Pass, south of Cathedral Peak. This pass allows for one the most breathtaking views of the central Drakensberg. It is an alternative to peak-viewing for those who don’t hike. There is also a day walk to Rainbow Gorge, named after the kaleidoscope of colours that appears in the spray from the stream. This walk is an easier alternative, and certainly a flatter one, to the summit of Cathedral Peak.

GIANT’S CASTLE lies at the southern end of the central Drakensberg and gets its name from the outline of the peaks and escarpment that resembles the profile of a sleeping giant. It is essentially a grassy plateau that nestles among the deep valleys of this part of the Drakensberg, offering some of the most breathtaking scenery. The Giant’s Castle Nature Reserve is home to the eland and bearded vulture, also known as bone eaters of the Berg. An isolated population in the highlands of Lesotho and adjacent areas is all that remains of the bird as their numbers have dwindled. Birders try to visit during the vulture hide feeding season, from May to September. The Giant’s Castle Nature Reserve is a haven of wonderful walks and offers the chance to view San Rock art in caves dotted around the reserve. The Kamberg Nature Reserve offers a fairly strenuous walk to the top of the mountain to see San Rock Art. The walk takes roughly an hour and a half and is well worth the effort. Whilst the Highmoor Nature Reserve, also close by, is one of the few reserves that allows you to travel by road to the top of what is known as the ‘little berg’ or the Drakensberg’s foothills, dotted with yellow sandstone cliffs and incredible views of the ‘high berg’. The wetlands, clear mountain streams, bush-lined banks, steep grassy slopes, sandstone cliffs and towering precipices and buttresses that have lured many a climber to “Giant’s”, as it is locally known makes this a beautiful part of the world. There are a number of hikes to choose from and they range from the rather severe hike to Bannerman Hut, to the more sedate Champagne Pools circular walk from Giant’s Castle main gate, which takes you to secluded pools for swimming and fishing. The unpredictable weather here makes it important to bring warm clothes at any time of the year. There is good access to Giant’s Castle along gravel roads from Mooi River or from Escourt – both towns are on the N3 between Durban and Johannesburg.

CEDARVILLE is a little hamlet bordering the Eastern Cape and KwaZulu-Natal and lies just south east of the little village of Matatiele on the R56, north west of Mount Currie Nature Reserve, and on the very southern edge of the Drakensberg Mountains. The little village of Cedarville is in East Griqualand and what makes it so very beautiful is its access to the mountains. It is the gateway to three mountain passes into Lesotho. Also towering above the village is the Cedarberg Mountain, (2 000 metres) from which the town derives its name. From here one also easily reaches the Katse Dam and the incredible Maletsunyane waterfall, while Lesotho is only an hour from Cedarville. The Umzimvubu River nearby provides an ample supply of carp for fishing whilst it and other water-filled depressions that are in abundance around Cedarville serve as the source of hours of canoeing pleasure. The Mount Currie Nature Reserve, which provides still further fishing opportunities, also offers sightings of the bearded vulture and no shortage of eagles, such as the African Fish Eagle, Verreaux’s Eagle and the Martial Eagle.

A wonderful way to experience the Berg from a bird’s eye view is from a hot-air balloon. The valley, which is easily accessible from the N3 - the major route between Gauteng and KwaZulu Natal, is home to more than 150 species of bird making it popular with birders. Champagne Valley is renowned for the number of activities available to visitors. One can hike, horse ride, river raft, quad bike, mountain bike, abseil, glide, fish, and there are a number of golf courses from which to choose.

HIMEVILLE lies nestled at the foot of the Southern Drakensberg, its high altitude, heavy snowfalls and climatic extremes could possibly be the initial reason for its relative neglect, but the breathtaking scenery, abundance of water and the district’s reputation as a fly fishing mecca now make it an attractive alternative to the busier parts of the Berg. The Splashy Fen Music Festival, on the farm of the same name, has also been responsible, in part, for placing Himeville on the map. An abundance of water means that water sports like swimming, rafting, canoeing and tubing are the order of the day. The Underberg-Himeville Trout Fishing Club has access to over 160 kilometres of river and 60 dams. Add to that a number of private dams in the area, and any fly fishing fundi would be fascinated. Golfers can choose from three golf courses in and around Himeville. The Himeville Museum, located in some of the original stone buildings erected in 1900, has a valued collection of San artefacts and is worth a visit.

There are a few areas of local interest too, including the Anglo/ Boer War battlefield sites of Spioenkop, and Winston Churchill’s

THE HLATIKULU VALLEY is a particularly beautiful and bountiful valley that lies between Giant’s Castle and Kamberg

CHAMPAGNE VALLEY with the Champagne peak is one of the highest peaks in this mountain range, although the prominent peak from here is Cathkin. Champagne Valley lies in the central Drakensberg. Winterton marks the entrance to Champagne Valley, which is said to have received its name from the first climber’s need to celebrate at the peak with a bottle of champagne, only to drop it before he could toast his victory.

28


MONK’S COWL in the central Drakensberg gets its name from the distinctive mountain in the shape of a monk’s hood that lies between Champagne Castle and Cathedral Peak. The peak marks the access point to the Mlambonja and Mdedeleo Mountain wilderness areas - some of the most magnificent mountain scenery in South Africa. Lying between Cathkin Peak and the escarpment, Monk’s Cowl is one of the most difficult climbs in the Berg and popular amongst avid climbers. According to climbers Monk’s Cowl is apparently visible only south and north of the Champagne Valley, but not from the valley itself. The Ship’s Prow pass is in this area, the southern fork of which is the highest summit in the Drakensberg at 3 300 metres. Monk’s Cowl Nature Conservancy is found at the end of the Champagne Valley.

Nature Reserve in the central Drakensberg, approximately 30 kilometres or so from the town of Mooi River. Towering over the valley are Giant’s Castle, Hlatikulu Mountain, Mount Lebanon and other peaks of the range that form an incredible backdrop to the valley. This part of the Drakensberg is enchanting. The fertile soil is rich in minerals and is traversed by the waters of a number of rivers, studded with grasslands and thorn trees and home to a wetland that harbours the few remaining wattled cranes in a rescue and rehabilitation refuge known as the Hlatikulu Crane and Wetland Sanctuary. THE KAMBERG VALLEY lies in the foothills of the Drakensberg Mountains just beyond the Nottingham Road turnoff from Durban and is best described by its people as “the valley which God created once he had practised on the rest of the world”. The Kamberg Nature Reserve lies within the Ukhahlamba Drakensberg Park in the foothills of the mountains, surrounded by trout dams, streams and open grassland - perfect for hiking and fishing. The park offers sightings of Southern Reedbuck, Oribi, Duiker and Eland and the Trout hatchery is an opportunity to see how trout are reared. Essentially a farming community where the people regard themselves as ‘salt of the earth’ and play host to various activities like the Annual Kamberg Trout Festival, the Annual Miss Fertilizer Bag and the Kamberg Karma - three days of mountain bike riding - Kamberg is not only beautiful but alive with opportunities to explore the surrounding area. The Kamberg San Rock Art Trail and the Interpretive Centre will help visitors understand and interpret the more than 40 000 San Bushman images found in the Ukhahlamba-Drakensberg Park. At first, ‘Bushmen paintings’ were regarded as crude, but today’s scholars have a healthy respect for these two dimensional rock paintings and a guided tour is particularly popular. Other activities in Kamberg include beer, wine and cheese tasting, hot air ballooning, horse riding and golf.

The Drakensberg Boys’ Choir School, founded in 1967,Lake is Naverone also found in the central Berg. The school has developed their own unique style and manages to interpret Bach and Beethoven together with Queen and African jazz and has kept abreast of world-wide shifts in choral music. MONT-AUX-SOURCES is one of the highest parts of the Drakensberg Mountain range, and lies on the north eastern edge of the Drakensberg almost on the border of Lesotho. Mont-aux-Sources is regularly described as a mountain block. This rather irregular and block-like bulge received its interesting name from French missionaries to the region during the 1830s because it serves as the source for both the Tugela and the Orange Rivers. This bulging rock situated on the ridge of the Drakensberg, includes the Sentinel and the Mont-aux-Sources Mountain. The amphitheatre which is part of Mont-auxSources is a five kilometre wall of rock that is intimidating and spectacular at the same time, and forms part of the Royal Natal National Park. This area is understandably all about hiking and the surrounding mountain peaks. The most challenging hikes, such as those up the Crack and down the Mudslide, and the more gentle paths, such as the amble to Fairy Glen are all incorporated in available maps and guides. A 50 kilometre challenge takes place annually to the top of the Sentinel. Climbing Mont-auxSources is not for the faint-hearted and includes a challenging encounter with chain ladders (one going up and one coming down) and a staggering view of the second highest waterfall in the world that falls about 3000 metres in five cascades. But the view from the top is breath-takingly spectacular!

KOKSTAD is on the boundary of KwaZulu-Natal and the Eastern Cape, in East Griqualand. It lies in the shadow of Mount Currie on the outer slopes of the Drakensberg and was, until recently, best known for its cheese until Oprah Winfrey started a school for Kokstad’s Shayamoya township through her charitable foundation. The area is popular for its many rivers and dams that provide ample opportunity for trout fishing, and there are no fewer than three reserves, Mount Currie, Wilfred Bauer, with lovely picnic spots, and the Mountain Lake Nature Reserve, a small reserve peppered with cattle tracks and little paths that provide wonderful walks, as well as over 220 species of bird for bird lovers. Crystal Dam provides boating and angling opportunities. The Crystal Spring Dam is fed by the pure water of Crystal Spring, the main source of Kokstad’s water supply.

MOUNT CURRIE NATURE RESERVE is one of the smaller but beautiful reserves and is the only protected area in East Griqualand. It is just outside Kokstad and about 250 kilometres from Durban and just off the Richmond-Umzimkulu Road from Pietermaritzburg or on the Franklin-Swartberg Road between Port Shepstone and Harding/Kokstad. Mount Currie is dominated by its mountain, with a collection of grassy slopes scattered intermittently with Protea bushes and the odd patch of montane forest. Crystal Dam, fed by the Crystal Spring - the main source of Kokstad’s water - provides some wonderful fishing and boating prospects. Over 220 bird species have been recorded here, and the wetter areas boast Striped Flufftail sitings, whilst the bearded vulture makes itself known to those hiking the slopes of Mount Currie. There is a lot of history in this area. An historic laager site surrounded by graves of early pioneers and a monument paying homage to boy scouts who died during the First World War in East Africa can be found on the Reserve. Cattle tracks and paths are seen scattered around the reserve and make for wonderful walks. Beautiful scenic settings and superb birdwatching opportunities draw nature lovers to this area.

MATATIELE is a quaint little town lying 70 kilometres from Kokstad and situated in the lesser explored southern Drakensberg, at the junction of the Eastern Cape, KwaZulu-Natal and southern Lesotho. The village is situated in the shadow of the Matatiele Mountain and forms part of the former ‘no man’s land’ that during the latter part of the 19th century was the home of horse thieves, gun runners and smugglers. The name Matatiele comes from the Sotho words ‘matata’, meaning wild ducks, and ‘ile’, meaning gone together conveying a message that the ducks have flown - not hard to believe as once this was a place where pools, marshes, vleis, pans, lions and elephant roamed freely alongside a host of waterfowl. Some 40 to 60 bird species are still there, but most of these are high altitude birds on top of the Matatiele Mountain. The town is now mainly a farming community. The museum is located in what was initially a garage, an auction room, a Dutch Reformed Church and finally a telephone exchange, before becoming a national monument. Local communities, in an effort to develop tourism as a source of income, accommodate travellers in traditional African guest houses, and include cultural village tours and hiking trails as part of the package. Two nature reserves in the area include the Wilfred Bauer Nature Reserve where the Zedonk (a cross between a donkey and zebra) is in residence and the Mountain Lake Reserve where a beautiful lake covers a surface area of about 30 hectares when full.

PUTTERILL VALLEY is one of the most beautiful parts of the Berg but the remoteness and location in the far reaches of the Northern Drakensberg Mountains make this the perfect hideaway. This part of the world promises incredible views of the mountains and the unspoilt natural surrounds that include huge tracts of indigenous forest, mountain gorges and pretty streams lend peace and tranquillity to the visitor. Two popular resorts ‘The Cavern’ and ‘Alpine Heath’ can be found just below Putterill Valley. The location of the Valley is almost exactly halfway 29


between the two major cities of Johannesburg and Durban and is close to the border of the Free State and KwaZulu-Natal. Visitors, particularly from the northern parts of the country, head here, as it is within easy reach.

Himeville and Underberg - is fly-fishing. There is more fishing opportunity here than anywhere else in the country and the Underberg-Himeville Trout Fishing Club hold rights to over 160 kilometres of river as well as 60 dams - that’s a lot of fishing! Despite the fact that this part of the district is predominantly farming country, Underberg is a busy, little town. The Splashy Fen Music Festival sees hundreds of people make their way through Underberg and this part of the southern Drakensberg to attend the Easter weekend filled with local music, arts and crafts, food and drink.

Many hikes abound here and one can easily reach the Thonsela Cave, Cannibal Cavern, Echo Cave and Sungubala. The Tugela River flows not far from here and an energetic walk will bring you to its gorge. Incredible views and a sighting of the Tugela Falls can be found at the Amphitheatre in the Royal Natal National Park.

VAN REENEN’S PASS is renowned for its slippery and precarious roads, mainly as a result of the frequent misty conditions and is the main route through the Drakensberg Mountains connecting Jo-burg and Durban with Van Reenen, a little town perched on the high summit of the Pass, between Harrismith and Ladysmith on the N3. Van Reenen has a history steeped in the Anglo-Boer War. There is a lookout point, called Windy Corner, about 3 kilometres out of town which boasts beautiful views over the mountains. Llandaff Oratory is a small chapel with only eight seats built by a father in memory of his son and is supposedly the smallest Roman Catholic church in the world and worth a visit.

SANI PASS started as a rough mule trail. The donkeys, loaded with wool and mohair, travelled down the pass and carried blankets, clothing and maize meal on the return journey. The pass was opened to vehicle traffic by David Alexander, whose company Mokhotlong Mountain Transport was the first to operate on the pass in 1955. It is one of the most spectacular mountain passes in South Africa and ascends through the sheer cliffs of the Drakensberg, linking KwaZulu-Natal to the independent country of Lesotho. The route is also known as the ‘Roof of Africa’ and the views from the peaks, some 3200 metres above sea level, speak for themselves. A pub famous for being the highest in the world, lies at the top of Sani Pass - 2874 metres above sea level. The tight zig-zagging curves of the pass can be journeyed in a car but a 4X4 vehicle is recommended as the road is both steep and rough. In winter one risks snow on the roads and often ice can be a problem. Passports are essential as you have to pass through an international border at around 1900 metres.

WHITE MOUNTAIN lies in the central Drakensberg foothills not far southwest of Estcourt. This pretty valley is obviously named after the White Mountain, a virtually solitary mountain that is situated just outside Giant’s Castle Nature Reserve. White Mountain also gives one easy access to the uKhahlamba Drakensberg Park, a World Heritage Site. The White Mountain area is just one of the deep valleys that run down the face of these high mountain peaks providing hours of hiking, climbing and effortless views. There is an annual White Mountain Festival to attend where the acoustic music festival not only provides a host of live acts over five days, but is something of a family affair and offers other activities like a craft market, swimming, boating, fishing and games to keep children amused. It coincides with Heritage Day and is held at White Mountain Lodge, roughly 200 kilometres from Durban.

SWARTBERG (black mountain) appears to be little more than a railway siding in the southern parts of the Drakensberg but this little village is actually the centre of agricultural activity of the area. Swartberg is north of Mount Currie Nature Reserve and is on Route 617. Swartberg is hidden away which makes for a genuine ‘getaway’ experience. The town also lies close enough to Durban to make it a perfect part of a planned holiday or a weekend escape. Farms lie nestled in the shadow of the Swartberg Mountain and other mountain peaks like Mount Macdonald and St Bernard’s Peak, a part of the Southern Drakensberg where you will find some of the most beautiful mountain formations in the country. Rivers run tirelessly through this mountain country and fishing particularly is a favourite pastime for visitors and locals. It is also a hiking paradise. The landscape is riddled with incredible landmarks and hikes through clean, crisp mountain air and effortlessly beautiful scenery are well worth the effort. During winter parts of the country around Swartberg, particularly in the foothills, can experience snow making it the perfect time to spend in front of a roaring fire. The luxuriant grasses, wildflowers and rock pools make hiking in the summer, particularly in the early parts of the day, exquisite.

WINTERTON is a typical pioneer settlement and one of the largest villages in this area. It serves, quite literally, as the gateway to the central Drakensberg some 14 kilometres away and lies in the foothills of these towering mountains. This part of the Berg is dominated by the Champagne, Cathedral and Cathkin peaks, with hiking trails, trout and bass fishing, San rock art, horse riding and hang-gliding the main attractions to the area. The village of Winterton hosts an annual street carnival in July, when local artists, crafters, musicians and companies serving the tourist industry congregate on the main street, which is closed for the day, to showcase the town, which up until now has acted as a base for the surrounding farming community but is increasingly becoming involved in tourism. There are a number of museums and monuments worth a visit in and around Winterton, including the Marianne Church ruins. Named after the wife of the Dutch Reformed Minister, Dr Faure, they are located on the farm Doveton, just outside Winterton. The Winterton Museum on Church Street has a display on the history of farming in the area, including a unique gallery of San paintings. The Drakensberg Boys’ Choir, based in the central Drakensberg, performs concerts mid-week and over weekends.

UNDERBERG is the last town in the southern Drakensberg and is situated beneath the majestic mountains of this area which offer many hikes and moments of breathtaking beauty. Underberg forms part of the “Sani Saunter” which may not be as well known as the Midlands Meander but offers just as many outdoor opportunities and awesome scenery. The greatest attraction to the twin towns of the southern Drakensberg -

Tel 087 195 0148 • Cell 082 378 4204 • caren@cathpeakwines.com • www.cathpeakwines.com 30


31


accommodation AMPHITHEATRE LODGE

BELL PARK B&B & SELF-CATERING

B&B and Self-Catering. 23 bed - large, tranquil garden. Efficient & caring hospitality. Near the spectacular Sani Pass.

This is one of those places that you plan to stay at for one night and you end up staying a week. There is just so much to do here and then of course there is that spectacular view. Cell +27 82 855 9767 amphibackpackers@worldonline.co.za www.amphibackpackers.co.za

DRAGON’S REST CAMP

Clean, neat & big campsites with spotless ablutions & self-catering accommodation overlooks Sani Pass and Eastern Lesotho. Big Sky Safaris runs tours. Big Sky Horse Trails. Lesotho rides for the experienced. Tel +27 72 149 8665 • Fax +27 86 516 7150 E-mail: dragons@futurenet.co.za Website: www.bigskysafaris.co.za

CEDAR GARDEN B&B

Tel +27 33 701 1153 • Cell +27 83 648 4111 1 Polo Way, Underberg E-mail: info@cedargarden.co.za Website: www.cedargarden.co.za

We are situated in the Central Drakensberg, Champagne Valley, 27 km from Winterton, in KZN, now a World Heritage site. Set on a secure, small, quiet farm & large garden, overlooking the Bell Park dam. Perfect getaway for the weekend, mid-week break, holiday or wedding. Entertainment in the valley consists of hotels, restaurants, pubs & coffee shops, shopping centres, spa treatments, berg/ hiking trails, horse riding, golf, fishing, adventure centre, scooters, canopy tour, putt-putt, quad rides, helicopter flips, boating, swimming, hot air ballooning, bird show, reptile centre, Spioenkop Game Reserve, Battlefields and the Drakensberg Boys’ Choir. Tel +27 36 468 1641 • Cell +27 83 580 2186 GPS: E29.4298, S-28.9673 killen@lantic.net • bonnie@megawifi.co.za

32

TEDDINGTON FARM

Self-catering, fully equipped and serviced cottages with fireplaces and braai facilities in the Swartberg region of the Drakensberg. Hiking, swimming, tubing and trout fishing in the Umzimvubu river and dam. Motorbike, quad and 4x4 trails by arrangement. Cell +27 74 889 8861 • Cell +27 82 568 0300 info@teddingtonfarm.co.za www.teddingtonfarm.co.za


HERONMOOR RETREAT Our accommodation consists of 4 different units, all of which are comfortably furnished to provide you with a home from home during your stay. All units have kitchen and braai facilities and most have wood burning stoves or fireplaces for cold winter evenings. We have 2 pet friendly units. A TV with DVD players and a selection of movies and books is provided in most units for rainy days. We believe a good night’s sleep is a must so all the units have comfortable beds with down duvets that combine with the mountain air to ensure you have a good rest. Cell: +27 83 288 6558 Kamberg (Near Giant’s Castle) E-mail: ruth@heronmoor.co.za Website: www.heronmoor.co.za

CLINT RALPH PHOTOGRAPHY

~ DELI ~ BAKERY ~ BUTCHERY ~ FAST FOODS ~ FRESH PRODUCE ~ PLENTY OF PARKING ~ SPAR BEAN TREE COFFEE SHOP

Tel +27 36 488 1689 • Cell +27 84 718 8205 • E-mail: dinesh@retail.spar.co.za 33


pietermaritzburg & midlands A

MIDLANDS

T A

PIETERMARITZBURG

pmb & midlands distances - kms

DURBAN

HAHLAMBA AKENSBERG SOUTH COAST 34

Durban to Pietermaritzburg......................77 Pietermaritzburg to Hilton........................10 Pietermaritzburg to Howick......................26 Pietermaritzburg to Albert Falls................23 Pietermaritzburg to Greytown..................74 Pietermaritzburg to Nottingham Road......57 Pietermaritzburg to Mooi River.................66 Pietermaritzburg to Bulwer......................84 Pietermaritzburg to Weenen...................108 Pietermaritzburg to Richmond..................34 Pietermaritzburg to Himeville.................101 Pietermaritzburg to Underberg...............107 Pietermaritzburg to Ixopo.........................85 Durban to Nottingham Road...................128 Nottingham Road to Mooi River................16 Nottingham Road to Howick.....................31 Nottingham Road to Kamberg..................34 Nottingham Road to Estcourt...................46 Nottingham Road to Loteni.......................61 Nottingham Road to Giant’s Castle...........61 Nottingham Road to Himeville..................74 Nottingham Road to Injasuti.....................79 Nottingham Road to Champagne Castle...80 Nottingham Road to Winterton.................85 Nottingham Road to Ladysmith..............105 Nottingham Road to Cathedral Peak.......107

T


CLINT RALPH PHOTOGRAPHY

pietermartizburg & midlands Pietermaritzburg is set in the heart of the Natal Midlands in KwaZulu-Natal. It is a charming city and at its loveliest in spring when masses of azaleas burst into bloom. When the first Voortrekkers arrived in 1837, they found a tranquil countryside graced by forests, hills and valleys. They settled on a fertile tract of land beside the Umsindusi River and named it after two of their leaders, Gerrit Maritz and Piet Retief. Six years later, the British upgraded the village to a military garrison town. Today, numerous Victorian and Edwardian buildings, quaint pedestrian lanes and other landmarks reflect the substantial British contribution to the development of the town. The shady, tree-lined suburbs, spacious red brick bungalows and upper-crust boarding schools reinforce the colonial ambiance of “The Last Outpost of the British Empire” as Pietermaritzburg is affectionately known. ALEXANDRA PARK: The 85 hectare Alexandra Park is part if the reason Pietermaritzburg is known as the “The Garden City”. The park was established in 1863 and named after Queen Alexandra, wife of Edward VII. The Park is very popular with those wanting to walk, jog, cycle or picnic in the tree lined gardens with splendid flowers, which include a magnificent rose garden. The Pavilion which has a Chinese look was established in 1898 and is today a national monument. Various markets are held in the park throughout the year.

Natal Philharmonic Orchestra. A naval gun known as the One O’Clock Gun stands just outside the City Hall. The gun used to be fired every day at exactly one o’clock, with the exception of Sundays. The gun’s rich history began with its journey during the 1840s on the HMS Fawn. This ship carried out the worthy cause of capturing slave ships and releasing their human cargo, ultimately putting an end to the slave trade.

CHURCH STREET: This street in Pietermaritzburg has been converted into a colourful mall. The African Arts and Craft Centre specialises in traditional and contemporary work which includes sculpture, hand-woven rugs, tapestries, batiks and jewellery.

GARDEN OF REMEMBRANCE: The Garden of Remembrance with its Delville Wood Cross pays tribute to the servicemen who lost their lives in both world wars. Sap oozes from the famous Weeping Cross of Delville Wood on the anniversary of the battle in which many South African soldiers died. The Garden of Remembrance is situated just across from City Hall. In 1916 a number of South African troops were sent to France to the village of Longueval to provide support to the British in World War One. Some soldiers were ordered by Major-General Lukin to remove trees from Delville Woods to create a better line of defence. Unfortunately many soldiers were killed in an ensuring battle. General Lukin returned to South Africa bearing wood from the Delville forest which was then made into a cross. The cross has been named the Weeping Cross of Delville as it is known to “weep” around the time of the July anniversary of the World War I battle in which South African soldiers lost their lives. This unusual phenomenon of oozing sap has been investigated over the years by the Forestry Department, CSIR (scientific research council) but there have been no answers.

The City Hall in Pietermaritzburg which was constructed in 1893, lies in the city centre and is now a national monument. The building was destroyed by fire in 1895 and only reconstructed six years later. The City Hall with its 47m high bell tower is a beautiful example of Victorian architecture. One is immediately struck by the magnificent stained glass displays and massive pipe organ on entering the Hall. Various exhibitions and concerts are held at the City Hall including the KwaZulu

OLD COLONIAL BUILDING: This building has stood on Church Street since 1899 and has been home to various government offices. William Henry Powell won the princely sum of £100 for its design back in 1894. The foundation stone was laid in 1887 and Powell died in 1900, before the building was completed. Outside is a bronze statue of activist Mahatma Gandhi sculptured in commemoration of the incident of 1893 when he was evicted from a first class carriage at Pietermaritzburg railway station.

The Burger Street Jail was closed in 1989 and sections of the jail were adapted for tours. The building is now run by Project Gateway, a Christian project with a craft shop and coffee shop being run with the intention of uplifting and empowering local communities and providing an opportunity to train in hospitality. The original jail was built in 1862 and replaced the Voortrekker jail on market square in Pietermaritzburg. The jail held some 1800 prisoners with many awaiting trial. Each block of the jail had its own gallows. Those of E block were apparently used for public executions. Recent prisoners included ANC leaders Harry Gwala and Archie Gumede. King Dinuzulu was incarcerated here after the Bhambatha uprising of 1906.

35


Nature Reserve and the Valley of 1000 Hills which bring you into contact with artists, crafters and cultural villages.

Natal Midlands in KwaZulu-Natal is a beautiful region filled with stretches of farmland, charming little towns, a wonderful arts and crafts route and picturesque scenery. This area is a haven for all who go there in need of a respite. It is found inland from Durban, between Pietermaritzburg and the Drakensberg Mountains.

CRAMMOND in the Albert Falls area is situated a mere 20kms from Pietermaritzburg and the Albert Falls Dam is rated as one of the best bass fishing dams in the world. The area boasts an abundance of bird life and game viewing enthusiasts have a choice of seeing nature on foot or from game viewing vehicles. Other than the scenic views and cultural attractions, popular family activities include water-skiing, para-sailing, canoeing and fishing.

BALGOWAN lies north of Howick, in the central part of the Midlands Meander, between Nottingham Road and Lidgetton and is one of the most beautiful parts of the country. This is the land of green and soft undulating hills sprinkled with pastures and pine forests through which clear streams meander interspersed by waterfalls. Balgowan started as an old trading store and train station, where local timber was received for the surrounding farms. The famous landmark, Michaelhouse School, the reputable boarding school for boys, which includes wonderful English gothic style architecture and a chapel is open to the public.

CURRY’S POST is a pretty, scenic area in the heart of the Midlands Meander and lies between Mooi River and Howick. It has a quaint history that involves the Curry Family, after whom Curry’s Post is named. The family settled here and established an overnight wagon and cart stop or staging post. The Coach House where George Curry and his large family lived is still in existence. Curry’s Post played an important role during the gold and diamond rushes as the traffic in the form of wagons, carts and weary travellers made this their stop en route to the old “Transvaal” reef.

The iHashi Forest horse trails lie in Balgowan along Caversham Road, and the Balgowan Conservancy is working together with the Balgowan Conservancy Project to establish a mist belt forest tree trail. The Bosch Hoek Golf course, rated as one of the top nine-hole golf courses in the country, lies near Balgowan.

DALTON is a small town about 45 minutes out of Pietermaritzburg. It is mainly a sugarcane growing region with the Union Co-op mill and the Illovo Noodsberg mill nearby. The nearest towns are Noodsberg, Wartburg, New Hanover and Harburg. This little piece of Germany is surrounded by hamlets with names that bear testimony to this. Wartburg itself is named after the castle in Eisenach where Dr Martin Luther translated the bible into German.

BOSTON is linked to Bulwer in what has recently become known as the Boston-Bulwer Beat, just over an hour’s drive from Durban in the foothills of the Drakensberg Mountains. Both towns are hubs of activity and hiking, walking, fishing, rafting, birding and para and hangliding. The beat links Boston, Bulwer and parts of the Dargle Valley in an area of rolling hills, lush forests, lakes, waterfalls and dams, creating ideal conditions for those seeking both peace and the thrill of adventure. Boston is a quaint village just 40 kilometres from Bulwer.

NEW HANOVER is a little town in the midlands of KwaZuluNatal, South Africa, established in the 1850s by German cotton planter families. Today this area’s principal economy is the sugarcane industry, while the farming of fruits, grains and timber also feature prominently.

The San people, who moved freely through the southern Drakensberg were from this area. Boer settlers made their way here after 1837 on their Great Trek from the Cape Colony to cross these passes and claim what must have seemed like paradise to the weary travellers. The Boston Country Club hosts an Annual Spring Fling, a festive occasion that includes food and fun for all.

DARGLE is set in the midst of the Midlands Meander in the foothills of the Southern Drakensberg. The Dargle Valley and conservancy area is sprinkled with waterfalls, river gorges, grassland, indigenous forest, wild flowers and wetlands. It has a variety of bird species and is a major attraction for fishing. The area around Dargle, Fort Nottingham and Balgowan is renowned for excellent fly-fishing. The Dargle Valley experiences dry, cold winters, sometimes with snow and hot, wet summers with late afternoon thunder storms followed by heavy rains. The countryside has sprawling wattle and pine forests, and rock pools that invite closer scrutiny.

There are over 100 listed bird species in this area, three of which - the Wattled Crane, Blue Swallow and Cape Parrot - are on the endangered list. There are only 360 odd breeding pairs of the Cape Parrot still in existence, and once a year the Boston-Bulwer Beat supports the University of Natal in its Cape Parrot Count, where visitors can be ‘sworn in’ as honorary Cape Parrot Scouts. BULWER lies in the shadow of the Bulwer Mountain also known as Amahaqwa Mountain (misty one), and is famous for its paragliding and hang-gliding potential and fun flying mainly due to its easy toplanding. Bulwer is on the R617, one of the main routes into the southern Drakensberg.

THE MIDLANDS MEANDER was initiated some 20 years ago by Dargle potter, Ian Glenny, whose work includes porcelain, stoneware and terracotta and whose address is simply - ‘first farm on the right, Dargle’. An exciting cycle trail offers cyclists the chance to ride through indigenous forests, past huge old trees, grasslands, wide blue streams and rocky waterfalls.

The mountain forms part of the foothills of the Drakensberg and the area around here is particularly beautiful - lush, rolling hills, forests, lakes, dams and almost immediate access to a peace and quiet claimed in very few parts of the world. There are beautiful farms set in restored farmhouses, rustic cottages, lodges, campsites and quaint country hotels that serve as peaceful retreats and havens away from it all. Bird life here is plentiful and sightings of the endangered Cape parrot are not unusual. The little Yellow Wood church, built in 1886, is probably worth a slow drive-by. There is a huge forestry industry in and around Bulwer.

ESTON is only a 35 minute drive from Pietermaritzburg. Whilst Durban is a bit further, it is still only an hour’s drive along the N3, meaning that for those who have an adaptable work schedule, Eston is a wonderful country lifestyle alternative. Living in Eston is mostly on smallholdings and farms, many of which are becoming increasingly popular as commuter properties. HILTON is distinctly an English country village right down to its meagre adherence to traffic control and some distinct examples of Tudor-style architecture. It lies only 10 kilometres from Pietermaritzburg at the start of the Midlands Meander.

CAMPERDOWN lies between Hillcrest and Pietermaritzburg along the N3 and is close to both Durban and Pietermaritzburg. Parts of its municipality fall within the Valley of 1000 Hills, which makes it a beautiful part of the world to visit. It also has access to a fair number of game and nature reserves.

Hilton originated when Joseph Henderson purchased a large portion of the farm Ongegund in 1857 and his wife called their farm ‘Hilton’. It is access to fresh air, together with the first glimpses of the Drakensberg, that lure people to Hilton. The broad streets are tree-lined, and the village bears a strong resemblance to “Garden Cities”, with window boxes brimming with flowers, garden clubs and green interest groups. Hilton is home to no fewer than five schools, including the boarding schools Hilton College and St Anne’s.

This area has its own “Table Mountain” and although it barely resembles the table top mountain of Cape Town, it is nonetheless a pretty mountain at the base of which is a dam providing picnic spots, excellent fishing, hiking trails and game viewing. From Camperdown you also have easy access to other attractions like the Natal Lion Park, Shongweni Dam

Hilton College has become the site of the Hilton Arts Festival 36


in September which runs for two-and-a-half days, bringing the best of South African theatre to KwaZulu-Natal.

attract the Crowned and Martial Eagle, as well as porcupines, duiker and other smaller game.

HOWICK is known as the place of many waterfalls because of the many tributaries of the uMngeni River that tumble down gorges and over sharp inclines on their way to the Indian Ocean. Howick is possibly best known as the place where Nelson Mandela was arrested in August 1962 and most visited because of the Howick Falls. Howick Falls is a 100 metre cascade of water, practically in the centre of town. The falls were known by the Zulus as KwaNogqaza, place of the tall one - and was first seen by European travellers on their way to trade from the coast in the early 19th century.

The Karkloof falls form a wonderful 88 metre backdrop under the shady trees that surround it. The Karkloof Canopy Tour runs through one of the magnificent Karkloof indigenous forests and is a unique eco-experience that involves moving from one platform to another along a steel cable suspended some 30 metres above the floor of the forest. Karkloof also hosts the Classic Mountain Bike Festival, the country’s largest and longest running one-day mountain bike race, in early May. This event has evolved to make a weekend of the race, beginning with a 20 km Bell Night Race and including a 10 km family fun ride.

For the more adventurous it is possible to make arrangements to abseil alongside the falls down the gorge and into the pool but the viewing platform above the falls that is close to the car park is a safer alternative. There is also a steep but safe trail that descends to the river bed. The view from here is utterly breathtaking but the return climb is pretty steep.

KRANSKOP is a tiny village that dates back to 1894, when it was called Hopetown but it was renamed after the Afrikaans description of a striking rocky landmark on the nearby escarpment. Two openings in this sandstone outcrop led to it featuring in Zulu folklore with tales of cannibalism...the mountain opening its twin mouths to entice unwary victims into its depths.

The little village of Howick was named after Earl Grey, the British Colonial Secretary who started out in life as the Viscount Howick. It remains fundamentally a farming town that supplies the number of farms in the area, and people pass through here on their way to the interior or to Midmar Dam, just 7 kilometres away. It is a great place to find antiques, arts and crafts and is part of the Midlands Meander.

The British built several fortifications on the escarpment during the Anglo-Zulu War, and faint reminders of Fort Buckingham remain visible near a small quarry close to the village. HERMANNSBURG is a small village which was established by German Missionaries in 1854.

Fly-fishing is a popular pastime and dams and streams in the area are brimming with trout. Mountain bike fundis can enjoy the hills in the area. Horse trails, produced by the local polo clubs, cross the countryside.

LIDGETTON is close to Howick in the southern parts of the central Midlands and is a quaint trading post that has become something of an artists’ community. It has a café and post office as well as a surrounding township that has developed around Lidgetton.

IXOPO is the main centre of the Southern Midlands and forms part of an important sugar farming and forestry area. Although originally called “Stuartstown”, the original Zulu name ‘Ixopo’ has prevailed.

Lidgetton lies in the foothills of the Drakensberg Mountains and rolling, green hills make this area one of the most appealing parts of KwaZulu-Natal. Lidgetton’s appeal includes its easy access. The little village promises an immediate sense of getting away from it all even though it is right on the Midlands Meander. The historical building of St Matthews is worth a visit, whilst local trout fishing in dams and rivers around the Kamberg - about 30 minutes from Lidgetton - is reputed to be excellent.

The countryside in this area is truly beautiful and there are many hiking trails and a few magnificant waterfalls along the Mzimkulu and Mkhomazi rivers. It is a treat to browse craft outlets and visit the welcoming restaurants and pubs. There are two 19th century churches and a seminary, all of which are still operational. Artists can visit the King’s Grant Country Retreat with its historic red brick buildings, unique character and atmosphere which offers a memorable experience that will undoubtedly excite and inspire every artist. Kings Grant houses a well-lit art studio and encourages guests to bring their own equipment and materials for an enchanting art retreat.

The Caversham Valley provides horse riding opportunities, whilst golfers have a choice of either Boschhoek or Sakubula golf course.

Two other landmarks in Ixopo are worth visiting - a floodlit cross bestowing peace and goodwill on the town and the nearby Buddhist Retreat Centre. People from all walks of life have been visiting the Buddhist Retreat to experience total peace and tranquility. Whether following the pine-scented path to the dam or walking past ancient cycads to the tracks of early Voortrekker wagons or making your way to the rocky outcrop that provides a perfect seat for contemplating the valley below, different paths meandering through the 300 acre property each bring their own revelation.

There are gorgeous views from Lions River over the Dargle Valley and conservancy that offer country charm that epitomises the midlands of KwaZulu-Natal. The mistbelt grassland, rivers, dam, veld and an incredible array of bird life all contribute to the splendour. As part of a conservancy, the Dargle Valley has set out to protect the natural beauty and biodiversity to hopefully preserve it for future generations. The people living here avidly promote conservation and try to maintain the rural character of the valley and its surrounds. The Trading Post in Lions River is worth a stop for its collectables and antique furniture.

The breeding sites of the rare Blue Swallow are nearby and the Endangered Wildlife Trust has appointed the Buddhist Retreat Centre a custodian of these rare swallows. Their presence, together with the Buddhist Retreat Centre’s commitment to encouraging the indigenous biodiversity of the area, has led to the Centre being declared a Natural Heritage Site by former President Nelson Mandela.

MOOI RIVER is 160km from Durban and 64km from Pietermaritzburg and is a farming and textile centre which was originally named Lawrenceville after the Irish farmer who formalised its settlement during the 1800s. Mooi River took its name from the Voortrekker description of its river - “mooi” ‘(translates as pretty). In Zulu, however, the river is Mpofana, meaning “Place of the Eland”.

LIONS RIVER is a little hamlet that lies between Lidgetton and Howick right in the heart of the Natal Midlands and about an hour’s drive from Durban.

KARKLOOF is an awesome range of hills stretching for over 50 kilometres between Rietvlei, Curry’s Post and Howick in the Midlands of Natal. There is a steep, flat-topped kloof and a range of mist belt forests in this area which is where the Karkloof blue Orachrysops ariadne - a small, blue butterfly classified as ‘vulnerable’, with only five colonies of the species ever recorded, occurs. Although a lot of this area is privately owned, the Karkloof Nature Reserve is 936 hectares of indigenous forest that is home to yellowwood and black stinkwood trees that

Parts of the Mooi river offer excellent boating facilities. The upper reaches are ideal for fly-fishing whilst downstream the Mooi River Falls, which are located 25km from the town, are a marvellous site when the river is full. Watersport such as boating, canoeing and tubing can be done on the Mooi River. Mooi River forms part of the popular Midlands Meander selfdrive arts and crafts route. Arrangements can be made to visit one of the racehorse training establishments in the vicinity. 37


Summerhill, which attracts clients from around the world, has won numerous awards. The Weston Agricultural College Museum which houses British military artefacts and the Rhode House Museum are worth visiting.

and arts and crafts can be bought here. The Blarney Cottage is regarded as the last surviving unchanged settler home in the area, with family names scratched on the bricks still visible. It is now a national monument.

MPOPHOMENI is situated on the outskirts of Howick and is located on the Boston, Bulwer, Underberg - R617 route. Mpophomeni is fours hour from Johannesburg and one hour from Durban.

BYRNE is only 24 minutes’ drive from Richmond via the Beaulieu Dam, a popular and pretty stop-over en-route. This little village and surrounds is a great spot to catch fish and have a picnic. ROSETTA is a tiny village and was originally the area dominated by the Rosetta Farm, granted by the Crown in 1861. The village possibly resulted from the colonial farm pioneering boom that took place at the time in Natal. Perhaps the Mooi River, when in flood, reminded farmers of the Rosetta branch of the Nile, where the mighty river divides north of Cairo. Rosetta is less than an hour’s drive from Giant’s Castle.

NOTTINGHAM ROAD is a charming and beautiful part of the world with its old-world country taverns and traditional old family farmlands. It is easily reached from the N3 between Johannesburg and Durban and only 20 minutes from the foothills of the Drakensberg. The landscape here with its green rolling hills, dotted with flyfishing dams and an ordered beauty has earned Nottingham Road its place in the heart of the Midlands Meander. Nottingham Road is a mix of arts and crafts, restaurants and a wide range of sporting, environmental and historical pursuits.

The town serves the surrounding smallholdings with a small village mall but it’s the dramatic views of the Drakensberg from this area that draw people to Rosetta. The hillsides surrounding Rosetta come alive during spring and summer with abundant wild flowers as opposed to the cold autumn display burnt orange and amber colours. The crisp, chilly winters offer frost-laden air with snow-capped peaks in the distance and sometimes snow on the ground. Some of the most spectacular waterfalls in KwaZulu-Natal can be found here.

Nottingham Road, affectionately called “Notties” by the locals began as a tented camp, set up by the Sherwood Foresters in 1856 as a military fort to protect farmers in the area from raiding, indigenous San hunter gatherers. In 1880 work on the Durban to Johannesburg railway began, running past the original Fort Nottingham by over 20 miles, to stop at Karkloof Station. The village that grew as a result of the station later became known as Nottingham Road.

The Kamberg Nature Reserve can be reached along the Kamberg Road from Rosetta, where birdlife is the main attraction, including waterside birds at close range. The walks are interesting too, but the reserve is best known for its trout fishing.

RICHMOND lies in the Natal Midlands, roughly an hour-and-ahalf’s drive from Durban. The little town is well-known for mixed agriculture and serves as a centre for farmers in the district. Timber, sugarcane, tea, citrus, peaches, maize and vegetables, poultry, pigs and cattle are farmed here. Richmond came into being with the arrival of the Byrne Settlers from the British Isles in 1850. They arrived with nothing, having lost most of what they owned when their ship went down in Durban’s bay.

WARTBURG is located right in the centre of the KwaZulu-Natal Midlands. German families settled here in the 1850s. Local industry is mainly mealies, sugarcane, timber and kiwi fruit although there is an increasing arts and crafts community. Many of the inhabitants of Wartburg are now fourth generation Germans and it is not unusual to hear German spoken around town. Recreational facilities in the village include bowls, tennis, 9 holes golf and scenic walks.

Some of the original buildings they erected are still in use such as the Old Court House also known as Heritage House where you will find the town’s Publicity Association. Former jail cells are now leased to a series of small business owners

38


39


accommodation 40 FRASER STREET B&B

FOUNTAINS B&B

MATT’S REST B&B

Double rooms, family accommodation and a cosy honeymoon room. Full English breakfast. This is your home away from home. Wi-Fi is available.

Classy comfort, cleanliness and care. 4 private self-catering garden cottages and 1 garden suite all tastefully and newly furnished. Undercover parking.

4 x Self-Catering units which sleep between 2 to 4 guests. 7 x B&B rooms which sleep up to 14 guests. All tastefully decorated with private entrances.

Tel +27 33 347 2835 • Fax 086 646 2966 Cell +27 82 654 4790 E-mail: reservations@fountainsbnb.co.za Website: www.fountainsbnb.co.za

Tel +27 33 396 4903 • +27 33 396 5941 Cell +27 83 982 6721 Email: bookings@mattsrest.co.za Web: www.mattsrest.co.za

Tel +27 33 330 4896 • Fax: +27 86 516 1437 Cell: +27 83 299 7184 40fraserbb@polka.co.za • www.40fraserstreet.co.za

attractions, travel, tours & safaris LINEN LOFT

Exquisite Jewellery and Accessories

This charming, upmarket linen retail outlet and local landmark lies on the Midlands Meander. Linen Loft offers an exclusive shopping experience for the discerning buyer who values quality and appreciates the personal touch of linen manufactured in house and custom made, in 200, 400 and 600 thread 100% cotton percale, making it “Comfortably Yours” While our offerings extend from the bedroom to the bathroom and just about everything in between, we specialise in beautiful bed linen and only use high quality cottons, classic exclusive designs and superior craftsmanship. We make use of local fabrics and local labour, true to the very essence of the Midlands Meander.

083 299 7803 moiral@moiralaine.co.za www.moiralaine.co.za Each item is hand-crafted with it’s own uniqueness and authenticity. Ever aware of changing and evolving fashion trends, our range “moves with the times”. Most items are unique, once-off designs and also include custom made items too which make us a favourite at most popular craft markets in KwaZulu-Natal.

Cell +27 076 792 4379 • Piggly Wiggly Centre, R103 Lions River • linenloft@iuncapped.co.za • www.linenloft.co.za

TRANQUILI-TEA

PATHWAYS COUNTRY YOGA RETREAT

Tranquili-tea is a family restaurant on the outskirts of Greytown open 7 days a week serving breakfast, lunch and light meals all day. It is situated in an idyllic setting adjacent to The Country Nursery which is a well-stocked garden nursery with indigenous and exotic plants and trees. There is 600 m² maze, a kiddies play area and ample parking making us a “must visit” destination in KZN and especially if you are travelling between the North Coast and the interior.

Teachers Training and Yoga Retreat in the country. We host Hatha Yoga Teachers Training Certification, a variety of spiritual workshops and Yoga and Meditation classes. Simply just be in stillness, contemplation and reflection.

Directions: follow the signs at the top end of Greytown near the High School which is at the top of Voortrekker Street on the road to Muden. Cell +27 82 964 0612 E-mail: thecountrynursery@greytown.co.za

Tel Jen: +27 83 695 1360 Website: www.yogaretreatsa.co.za

• Weddings • Events • • Self Catering • Backpackers • Situated on the historic farm of “The Knoll” in Hilton, Natal Midlands. The Knoll has a rich history of hospitality and it has catered for early transport riders, passing troops and even Jan Smuts. Since 1850 The Knoll has been a farm, hunting lodge, hotel, school, country estate and family home. Tel +27 76 555 5408 E-mail: knollguestfarm@gmail.com Website: www.theknoll.co.za 40


greytown Greytown is situated in the uMvoti County approximately 70 km north of Pietermaritzburg in the Midlands of KwaZulu-Natal. One only has to take a drive through the green, rolling farmlands to know why it is often referred to as the Jewel of KwaZulu-Natal. With the relocation of the King Shaka Airport, Greytown has been put on the map as an attractive alternative route from the Dolphin Coast to the Berg, Battlefields and interior. If one leaves the airport via the back route and takes the R102 through Tongaat, and then left on to the R614, one will be in rural Africa within 15 minutes. Follow the route to Glenside, Fawnleas, Dalton and then Greytown. The route will take you through the Valley of 1000 Hills, the flat sugarcane lands around Dalton and the rolling maize, sugar cane and commercial timber plantations around Greytown. From Greytown one can continue along the R74 to Colenso and then to the Drakensberg. An alternative from Greytown is to take the R33 into the catchment of the Tugela River, which is South Africa’s mightiest river. The road will cross the Tugela at Tugela Ferry in the Msinga district which is one of the remotest, most rural and poorest areas in the country. Just after Pomeroy is the turnoff to the Isandlwana Battlefield, where the Zulu Army, armed only with assegais, routed the British forces who suffered their heaviest defeat to an unarmed force in their history. The survivors fled to Rorke’s Drift and held out against the Zulu Impi in an epic night of bravery. Eleven VCs for bravery, the most in any single battle in history, were awarded to British soldiers.

Boers and the Zulus, which still exists in some circles in older generations. It just so happens that Botha was born on a farm just outside Greytown. A magnificent statue of Dinizulu is about to be unveiled at the Town Hall soon. The town itself is set in a picturesque valley and is a typical country town with all the usual sporting and social amenities. There are a number of the bees and other accommodation establishments. The diverse habitats of farmlands, indigenous forest patches, farm dams, grasslands, wetlands and thornveld make the area a birding paradise. The uMvoti Vlei Birdhide is being rebuilt after it was washed away in recent floods. All 3 species of crane, South Africa’s National Bird, the Blue Crane, the Crowned Crane and the critically endangered Wattled Crane, are virtually guaranteed to any determined birder. Bald Ibis is guaranteed in winter on any sporting field. Out of range birds that seem to have made Greytown their home in recent times are Woolly Necked Stork and Verraux’s Eagle Owl. The town’s water supply is the picturesque Merthley Lake above the town, although it is currently virtually empty due to one of the worst droughts in living memory. When full, it offers skiing, boating and fishing while the family can picnic on the well manicured lawns. The uMvoti Flower Reserve is on the banks of the dam and is rated as one of the most diverse floral kingdoms in South Africa. The rare Hilton Daisy, Blue Scilla and many indigenous plants can be found. Peak season is just after the first spring rains in September/ October.

Greytown is a town of much historical interest. It is on the Battlefields Route as home to the Bambatha Rebellion which took place nearby in 1906 and which many believe to be the first spears thrown in the liberation struggle. King of the Zulus, Dinizulu, was tried in the Greytown Town Hall (which still stands) for his part in the Rebellion and was banished for life to St Helena Island. On becoming the first Prime Minister of the Republic of South Africa, Boer leader Louis Botha ordered Dinizulu’s immediate release so that he could return to lead his people. This move by Botha created a strong bond between the

All in all, planning a route through Greytown will be well worth while as it offers a bio-diverse, multi-cultural, historical and scenic experience.

41


Balgowan

THE RAWSTORNES @ 268

Exclusive accommodation set in the tranquil garden “INDAWO YOXOLO/PLACE OF PEACE” high up in Greytown, Umvoti County in the KwaZulu-Natal Midlands. Tel +27 33 417 1244 E-mail: drawstorne@xsinet.co.za Website: www.therawstornes.com

42


Rawdons Estate

43

Howick Falls


TRANQUILI-TEA

WEMBLEY COLLEGE

Tranquili-tea is a family restaurant on the outskirts of Greytown open 7 days a week serving breakfast, lunch and light meals all day. It is situated in an idyllic setting adjacent to The Country Nursery which is a well-stocked garden nursery with indigenous and exotic plants and trees. There is 600 m² maze, a kiddies play area and ample parking making us a “must visit” destination in KZN and especially if you are travelling between the North Coast and the interior. Directions: follow the signs at the top end of Greytown near the High School which is at the top of Voortrekker Street on the road to Muden. Cell +27 82 964 0612 E-mail: thecountrynursery@greytown.co.za © Johan Swanepoel

44

A co-educational, independent school, situated in the beautiful KZN Midlands. We cater for children from Grade RRR-12 and pride ourself on being a small school where scholars achieve with excellence! Tel +27 33 413 2677 • Tel +27 33 417 2180 E-mail: admin@wembleycollege.co.za Website:www.wembleycollege.co.za


north coast

NORTH COAST

DS

T A

ERMARITZBURG

DURBAN

T north coast distances - kms Durban to Ballito......................46 Ballito to Zinkwazi Beach.........40 Ballito to Blythedale Beach......25 Ballito to Greytown..................94 Stanger to Gingindlovu.............48 Gingindlovu to Ulundi...............36 Mtunzini to Eshowe.................34 Melmoth to Ulundi...................36 Eshowe to Mandini..................32 Eshowe to Tugela.....................37 Eshowe to Zinkwazi Beach......50 45


ROCHER PHOTOGRAPHY by MARC ANDERSON

© Johan Swanepoel

north coast Due to large pods of bottlenose dolphins seen frolicking in the waves, KwaZulu-Natal’s north coast is now better known as the Dolphin Coast. This strip of coastline stretches from the Tongaat River at Zimbali to Zinkwazi Beach and the Tugela River mouth in the north and includes the inland areas of Umhlali and Shakaskraal. The Dolphin Coast and the warm Indian Ocean make for a beautiful playground with incredible waves and glorious beaches set alongside fields of sugarcane experiencing humid and warm weather most of the year. Pretty coastal holiday towns like Ballito, Salt Rock, Umdloti and Zinkwazi bask in sun-filled days with perfect swimming and surfing conditions, and boast a collection of tidal pools and excellent fishing spots. Other little towns in the area worth visiting are Princes Grant, Tinley Manor and Umhlali which are also quaint and pretty, with beaches to match. Attractions abound on the north coast and one can visit Shaka’s grave at Kwa-Dukuza, take a ‘muti’ trail through the Harold Johnson Nature Reserve, which includes picnic sites, or visit the historic battle sites of Ultimatum Tree or Fort Pearson. Golf courses at Umhlali Country club and Princes Grant golf estate add further appeal. Lazy beach-filled days is why the Dolphin Coast is one of the province’s main attractions. BALLITO lies in the heart of the Dolphin Coast, nestled between the fields of KwaZulu-Natal’s sugar cane known as “Green Gold” and is flanked to the east by golden beaches and the warm ocean.

Blythedale Beach adjoins a small conservancy that includes the Umvoti River mouth - home to many bird species such as the African spoonbill, chestnut-branded plover, lesser sand plover, white-eared barbet, scaly-throated honeyguide and bluemantled crested flycatcher.

The waters off Ballito’s Beach are alive with bottlenose dolphins, which frolic in the waters close to shore and are visible all year round. The dolphins favour this stretch of coastline because of its relatively clear and shallow waters, allowing dolphins to swim close to shore in order to feed. Studies of these waters suggest that they are frequented by a school of about 200 dolphins, which break up into smaller groups. Whales can also be spotted on their annual migration to Mozambique for the summer.

Just a few kilometres further up the coast is Zinkwazi where a peaceful lagoon offers a wonderful spot for picnics, and fish eagles can be seen swooping down on to the water. There are wonderful walks, indigenous forest, fishing and spectacular birdlife here, apart from the endless beaches. DARNALL lies just inland from Zinkwazi beach, between Blythedale Beach and the Tugela River mouth. Darnall has largely managed to stay “off the map” in the sense that property here is still relatively cheap and this area is so close to the growing-in-popularity northern parts of the KwaZulu-Natal coastline.

Willard Beach is the main beach for swimming in Ballito and has Blue Flag Status. It provides safe swimming with qualified life-guards seven days a week and is protected with shark nets. It also has a fully equipped first aid station. Willard Beach is a popular spot for surfing and body boarding.

The town’s founder named Darnall after his home town in the UK. It is only about an hour’s drive from Durban and around 15 minutes to the beach of Zinkwazi. This makes it a perfect getaway opportunity from Durban, particularly for those who want to escape from the crowds at the more popular beachside villages.

Lifeguards and shark nets are provided at a second beach, Clarke Bay. Further south of Clarke Bay is the Ballito tidal pool which caters for the young and old. The pools are well maintained, clean and are home to a wide variety of sea life. Salmon Bay is further south and has a launch area for boats. Surfers enjoy this beach and the Ballito Inflatable Boat clubhouse is also located here. There are plenty of fishing spots in Ballito which attract keen fishermen.

There are a number of attractions for visitors in the Darnall area. The Harold Johnson Nature Reserve just north of Ballito offers a big variety of game and bird life, and contains two national monuments worth seeing, particularly Fort Pearson, built in 1878, which sits on a bluff overlooking the pont-crossing on the Tugela River. This entire reserve used to function as a British military camp. The beautiful 104 hectare reserve offers picnic

BLYTHEDALE BEACH on the Dolphin Coast lies just north of Tinley Manor, approximately 72 kilometres from Durban. This beach is an unspoilt haven of white sand and beautiful, warm sea with subtropical vegetation. 46


and braai facilities and sightings of zebra, duiker, bushbuck and crocodiles.

walking trail to Shaka’s Rock itself through a hole in the cliff. It is better to attempt this at low tide.

LA MERCY on the Dolphin Coast is a secluded little village just south of Ballito and approximately 25 kilometres north of Durban. It is a coastal conservancy that together with Umdloti is also one of the best beaches from which to view the annual whale visit, whilst dolphins visit this coastline all year round.

SHEFFIELD BEACH is just north of Salt Rock and ten minutes from Ballito. The beautiful beach of Sheffield with its sheltered coves and wonderful rock pools invite people to spend hours collecting shells and admiring sea anemones. Renowned as one of the better fishing and diving spots on the Dolphin Coast, snorkelling here is a way of life. Sheffield Beach, Salt Rock and Tinley Manor all benefit from intricate reef formations that move beneath the waves just off the beaches. Not only do these offer scuba divers and snorkelists a variety of sea life, but spearfishing is also extremely popular and crayfish can be caught amongst the many nooks and crannies - although one needs a licence to collect crayfish, oysters and mussels.

Its proximity to Durban, Ballito and other north coast highlights gives La Mercy an advantage. The peace and quiet, as well as ‘small town’ atmosphere here is available for most of the year round. Shops and restaurants are close by enough though so as not to feel marooned, and the proximity of the N2 makes travelling very easy. The old beach road along this part of the coastline is worth the longer drive as it is particularly beautiful.

STANGER is now known as KwaDukuza and lies inland from Blythedale in the midst of sugarcane fields. It is home to King Shaka’s memorial monument and part, not only of the Zulu Heritage Route, but the proposed Sugar Route as well.

PRINCE’S GRANT lies on the scenic Dolphin coast about 75 kilometres north of Durban close to Blythedale Beach. Prince’s Grant’s popular golf estate has brought more people to this little enclave which was previously one of those relatively unknown spots that sat in subtropical splendour and was known only to those who ventured up this part of the coast in search of natural and secluded beauty.

KwaDukuza-Stanger’s beginnings were as a new capital for Shaka’s Zulu nation during what were to become the last years of his life. KwaDukuza means “place of the lost person” and was named after the intricate maze of huts that could be found. It was in one of these kraals that Shaka was assassinated by two of his half-brothers, Dingane, who was to succeed him, and Mhlangane. His body was buried upright in a grain pit, a hasty burial the day after his assassination, over which stands a simple stone memorial erected in his honour.

The beach has remained pristine and quiet and the lagoon at Prince’s Grant provides wonderful seclusion and quiet waters for swimming, canoeing and paddling. A clearly defined building code, imposed by the golf estate, means that the buildings intrude as little as possible and the landscape incorporates only plants indigenous to the area to the extent that the estate was given an award as a ‘site of conservation significance’. Small species of game continue in their natural habitat - the dune forests - and one can easily spot bushbuck, grey and blue duiker, spotted genets and the odd mongoose.

Dingane, Shaka’s successor eventually abandoned KwaDukuza allowing it to run to wrack and ruin and it was only in 1873 that a European town was built on the site named after William Stanger, the surveyor-general of Natal. Today KwaDukuza-Stanger serves as the commercial, magisterial and communication centre for the large sugar-producing district. KwaDukuzaStanger is presently one of many of the towns in this area to claim an authentic eastern influence brought here by the first Indian immigrants who came to work on the sugarcane fields. Markets, mosques and temples of their descendents now add a vibrancy to the towns on the Dolphin Coast.

Prince’s Grant lies amidst fields of sugar cane, originally the site of the farm Hyde Park, only 20 kilometres from Ballito. Golfers are attracted to the golf estate which is consistently ranked as one of the top courses in the country. Alternative options to the beach are the Anglo-Zulu battlefields, a number of game reserves and Lake St Lucia World Heritage Site a bit further along the coast.

The weather here is typically tropical and humidity high, hence the sugarcane; and bottlenose dolphins use the sea as their playground throughout the year. The Indian market in town and the Sappi Paper Mill are worth visiting.

SALT ROCK’S small but delightful village can be found on the KwaZulu-Natal northern coast just 30 minutes’ drive from Durban and offers a timeless family holiday atmosphere, wonderful beaches and large tidal pools.Salt Rock used to be the home of Shaka, King of the Zulus, whose maidens used to come here to collect salt to trade with and to use in the king’s household. Salt Rock is just up the road from Ballito. When surfers aren’t riding the waves there, they’re chasing the waves near the main beach here. Surfing here is best early in the day. Life guards are present on the beach every day and aside from the beautiful beach, shell collecting, rock pools and perfect views for sighting bottle-nose dolphins, there are also restaurants, shops and several golf courses in the Ballito area and at Maidstone to entertain the avid golfer.

THUKELA MOUTH village lies four kilometres off the N2, on the northern bank of the mighty Thukela river. Thukela Mouth hosts major fishing tournaments and the annual Thukela Raft Race. It is a wonderland of walks, fishing, spectacular birdlife, indigenous forest, water sports and endless beaches. Thukela Mouth’s warm coastal waters support a variety of fish and shellfish. Whales and dolphins are present all year round. Events associated with the river have left a legacy of major historical and cultural sites in its vicinity. TINLEY MANOR on the Dolphin Coast is just 15 minutes’ drive from Ballito, via Salt Rock, Sheffield Beach and Umhlali and is reputed to have some of the most magnificent sea views and glorious beaches. It is regarded as the closest beach to Johannesburg.

SHAKA’S KRAAL is a tiny town with only one street. This area was also the site of King Shaka’s royal military homestead called KwaHlomendlini. Culture remains an integral part of Shakaskraal with its blend of African and Indian traditions. The historical mosque towers majestically above all other buildings.

Tinley Manor is one of the few places that has not yet been developed as much as its surrounding neighbours and still regarded as an area with ‘growth potential’ by property experts. Tinley Manor’s southern boundary is enriched by a long lagoon that opens into the Indian Ocean and provides safe paddleskiing, wind-surfing and some of the most abundant bird life. The beach has its own tidal pool and the beaches are life guarded during peak periods. Tinley Manor, Sheffield beach and Salt Rock have all got beautiful offshore reef formations that offer scuba divers and snorkel specialists a wonderful sea underworld.

SHAKAS ROCK is named after a rocky outcrop which is part of the north coast and believed to have been used by Shaka, the great Zulu chief, as a lookout. Shaka’s or Chaka’s Rock is today a small residential village and a wonderfully graceful stretch of sandy beach that is home to an inviting tidal pool flanked by craggy cliffs. Some believe that the rock was actually used by Shaka to test the courage of his men by encouraging them to jump to their deaths. A section of beach is used as a ski-boat launch site so one can watch some impressive launchings and beaching as some of the bigger boats set out on deep sea fishing trips.

A wonderful aspect of the still quaint village of Tinley Manor is that you really can leave behind the bustle of development. The beach is still lined with indigenous coastal forest, habitat of mongoose, buck and vervet monkeys.

Shaka’s Rock, or Catfish Beach as the main beach here is known is only about 40 kilometres north of Durban and right next to Ballito. From Willard beach at Ballito one can follow a rugged 47


TONGAAT brings the word “sugar” to mind for the average South African and is indeed one of the leading sugar-producing districts in the world. It has an history of English colonialism. Tongaat lies on the banks of the Tongati River, about 37 kilometres north of Durban. Tongaat is also the oldest Indian community in South Africa. During the 1860s indentured Indian labourers arrived to work in the sugar plantations. The Hindu temples Vishwaroop and Juggernath Puri are testament to many Indians having made Tongaat their home.

The river mouth is rugged and typical of the north coast of KwaZulu-Natal. Whilst the surf lashes the rocks on cloudy days, the dunes act as a barrier between the beach and forest. A walk over the dunes allows entry into a complex system of milkwood trees, which are protected in South Africa, and the plants that thrive under them. The protected glade offered by the thick vegetation is one of the reasons for visiting here. It is beautiful, and typical of the marine coastline along this stretch of the country.

Highlights of visiting Tongaat include the Crocodile Breeding Centre ‘Crocodile Creek’ at the beach, where one can get a safe ‘bird’s eye view’ of these amazing reptiles. The magnificent parks and gardens of Amanzimyama, as you enter Tongaat, provide a wonderful day’s outing.

Umvoti River Mouth is part of a conservancy that protects bird life and vegetation. The African spoonbill, chestnut-branded plover and blue-mantled crested flycatcher are just a few examples of birds you can hope to see. Besides the conservancy and the fishing opportunities, the beach at Blythedale offers kilometres of sand and is a wonderful place to swim and surf.

The Dudley Pringle Dam is very popular over weekends for picnics and water sports. A visit to the Maidstone Sugar Mill is recommended particularly as the mill still uses original sugarcrushing methods and received a bronze award for its waste management from the Institute of Waste Management of Southern Africa.

WESTBROOK BEACH is between La Mercy and Ballito on the north coast and approximately a half hour’s drive from Umhlanga. It is a pretty beachside resort with unspoiled beaches, miles of sand and endless crashing oceans. Further along the stretch of road parallel to Westbrook Beach with the sea crashing onto the shore to one’s right, the road noticeably narrows as the grassy bank to one’s left rises and reveals the beginnings of typical coastline vegetation of these parts milkwood trees dense with lush foliage.

The Brake Village Kavady Festival, usually held during the Easter period in Tongaat, is the largest of its kind in the country. This Hindu atonement festival is characterised by the piercing of tongues and bodies with long steel needles and hooks to prove obedience and dedication to the Lord Murga, the Hindu deity of healing.

ZIMBALI is only 20 minutes’ drive from Durban and approximately 20 kilometres from the King Shaka airport. It consists of 925 acres of tropical coastal estate that boasts a residential and resort estate, The Zimbali Coastal Forest Estate and the Zimbali Golf Course Estate. Zimbali is just outside the popular beach town of Umhlanga and is now a vibrant hub of activity with fantastic beaches and a good mix of shops and entertainment but the town still retains its village charm. This area is booming as property becomes scarce in Umhlanga. The primary dune areas have been demarcated as conservation areas. There are a number of spring water lakes, some 85 species of birds, indigenous forest, and the eastern front of the estate has 3 kilometres of unspoilt beach. The Zimbali golf course was designed by Tom Weiskopf - his first in Africa.

UMHLALI lies just inland from Salt Rock and Sheffield Beach and is approximately 50 kilometres from Durban. Umhlali’s name is derived from the Monkey Orange tree - a small semi-deciduous tree with fruit that is a firm favourite with baboons. The town with its beautiful buildings and distinctly colonial atmosphere provides every reason for a visit, not least for its museum, which houses an old locomotive that was used to carry sugar cane to the local mill. The sugar mill offers tours that include first-hand experience of the crushing of sugar cane and a variety of shops make for pleasant browsing. Umhlali’s golf course at the Umhlali country club with its sweeping fairways, exotic palm trees and seven water holes that attract antelope and zebra, gives new definition to the art of golf.

ZINKWAZI, which takes its name from the Zulu word for white-headed fish eagle, is a small village with an unexploited 7 kilometre lagoon that lies amongst lush sub-tropical vegetation. Just 85 kilometres from Durban, on the N2 past Stanger, Zinkwazi is well known for its incredible bird life and its proximity to the Zululand Birding Route - a conservation project that promotes birding tourism by offering up-to-date information, local guides, brochures and itineraries for birders in an area where some 600 species have been recorded.

UMVOTI RIVER MOUTH is a nice drive up the north coast from Durban to Blythedale Beach. If you park at the ski-boat launch you can stroll to the Umvoti River Mouth which is just a little further south. It is a protected estuary about which people know little, other than local fishermen who will tell you it is a great place to fish with your family.

The lagoon of Zinkwazi opens on to a safe, protected beach that is just one of several beaches along this coast that form part of a nature conservancy, including lush indigenous forests, tropical palms and endless beaches both north and south of this pretty little village.

Whilst some describe the smattering of homes here as a village, there are those who still refer to it as a wilderness where dune forest meets beach in an unlikely blend of beach and bush. The bird life here is said to be prolific and peace and quiet reigns.

48


Welcome to the North Coast

Place of natural beauty, sun, surf, sea, fun, thrills, love, home of the mighty King Shaka, sugar barons, struggle heroes, amazing landscapes and warm, friendly people. Caressed by warm waters of the Indian Ocean, it stretches some 110 kilometres from Umhlanga Rocks, just north of the port city of Durban, right up to the Amatikulu River, in a breathtaking stretch of coastline fringed with golden beaches and green hills.

Tel +27 32 946 1256 • Fax +27 32 946 3515 E-mail: info@enterpriseilembe.co.za Website: www.enterpriseilembe.org.za 49


50


accommodation SEASIDE LODGE

Situated in Salt Rock on the Dolphin coast, within walking distance to the beaches. Tastefully decorated private suites, self-catering units and family suites with sea views. Tel +27 32 525 4103 • Cell +27 72 240 5230 E-mail: seajun@mweb.co.za Website: www.seasidelodge.co.za

TESORINO BED & BREAKFAST

Stylish bedrooms, air-conditioned with own bathroom, shower & verandah. DSTV, DVD, hairdryer, safe & tea tray. Sea views and walking distance to beach. Tel +27 31 561 2719 • Fax +27 31 561 1347 34 Stanley Grace Cres, Umhlanga Rocks E-mail: info@tesorino.co.za Website: www.tesorino.co.za

51


52


53


A

PIETERMARITZBURG

DURBAN

T

durban durban distances - kms

Durban to Albert Falls..................77 Durban to Amanzimtoti................29 Durban to Ballito..........................46 Durban to Bergville......................226 Durban to Blythedale Beach.........72 Durban to Botha’s Hill..................37 Durban to Cathedral Peak............233 Durban to Cedarville....................234 Durban to Champagne Castle......207 Durban to Empangeni..................167 Durban to Giant’s Castle..............160 Durban to Hluhluwe.....................275 Durban to Kosi Bay......................440 Durban to Ladysmith...................215 Durban to Margate.......................153 Durban to Newcastle...................302 Durban to Nottingham Road.........128 Durban to Pietermaritzburg..........77 Durban to Pongola.......................339 Durban to Port Edward.................179 Durban to Richards Bay...............186 Durban to Rorke’s Drift................202 Durban to Scottburgh...................66 Durban to Umdloti Beach.............26 Durban to Umhlanga....................16 Durban to Vryheid........................271 Durban to Zinkwazi Beach...........86 54


ROCHER PHOTOGRAPHY by MARC ANDERSON

durban Durban is a cosmopolitan city with a population of over three million people and is known as the Playground of the Zulu Kingdom and is home to one of Africa’s best managed and busiest ports. Durban is an exciting city with numerous leisure activities such as uShaka Marine World, Wilson’s Wharf on the Victoria Embankment and the nearby BAT centre. Enjoy fine and traditional dining, entertainment and shopping in scenic surroundings. Shopping is a pleasure in modern shopping malls. Grey Street and the Warwick Triangle boast vibrant local shops and markets. Beachfront stalls sell traditional arts and crafts. Excellent entertainment can be enjoyed at the city’s theatres and clubs or take a township tour. The world-class International Convention Centre Durban has hosted an historic line-up of events including conferences on a global scale. Peace and tranquillity can be found in Durban’s beautiful nature sanctuaries. The Botanical Gardens has ‘Music by the Lake’ evenings with wonderful music played by KZN’s Philharmonic Orchestra in stunning surrounds. Sail, swim, run, play tennis, stroll along or just relax on the sun-drenched beaches. THE SAPPHIRE COAST embraces 40 kilometres of southern shoreline from just past the old Durban International Airport through to Amanzimtoti and all the way to Clansthal further down the coast. A diverse assortment of picturesque seaside districts stretch from Athlone Park and Umbogintwini southwards through Amanzimtoti, its pleasant suburbs of Doonside, Warner Beach, Illovo Beach and Karridene, and the coastal resorts of Umgababa, Widenham, Umkomaas and Clansthal. Here wide expanses of sandy beaches and tranquil lagoons provide sheltered swimming and many fishing, surfing, beach and leisure activities.

The naming of Amanzimtoti is generally attributed to the renowned Zulu King Shaka, who stopped here in 1828 with his army during one of their campaigns. Legend has it that after being given water to drink from the local river, he remarked ‘kanti amanz’amtoti’ (so the water is sweet), thereby giving the river, and the town that later developed around it, the name of Amanzimtoti. It has also been said that that the name should in fact be ‘amanzi amnandi’ (sweet water), as this is the actual expression that Shaka used when he tasted the water. However, none of Shaka’s subjects were allowed to use that expression since Shaka’s mother’s name was also Nandi – so Amanzimtoti it had to be!

The Sapphire Coast’s colourful and diverse culture is captivating for lovers of history and heritage, with its African, Eastern and Colonial traditions, intriguing arts and crafts, and variety of religious beliefs. The area’s cultural roots reach back some 1800 years, when the first Iron Age settlements sprang up here. Present day Zulu culture finds expression in beautiful handicraft such as weaving, beadwork and pottery, as well as traditional dancing. Another vibrant influence is that of the vast Indian community, descendants of indentured Indian labourers who came to work on the sugarcane farms in the latter part of the 19th century. While the system was done away with in 1911, many of these workers stayed on, bringing their families as well as other settlers to the area.

Leisure attractions here include the Amanzimtoti Bird Sanctuary, a pretty spot for picnics and bird-watching consisting of a large expanse of open water surrounded by rolling lawns and gardens on one end and indigenous riverine forest on the other. There is an easy self-guided trail through the forest as well as three hides from which one may see many of the 150 bird species, including Hamerkop, Spurwing Geese, White Faced Duck, Greenback Heron and Giant Kingfisher. Set on the banks of the Amanzimtoti River, Illanda Wilds is a peaceful reserve boasting three self-guided nature trails through riverine and coastal scarp forest. In addition to a number of small buck, vervet monkeys and birding opportunities, the wilds also contain a piece of history, as it was here that King Shaka drank from the river and gave the town its present name.

AMANZIMTOTI is well-placed just 25 kilometres south of central Durban. It has an admirable commercial infrastructure of modern shopping malls, as well as good accommodation options and restaurants. Amanzimtoti’s beaches include Inyoni Rocks to the north and the lagoon to the south. The beaches at Inyoni Rocks and Pipeline are ideal for families looking for a break in the more metropolitan areas.

The 36-hectare Umbogavango Nature Reserve located in the Umbogintwini industrial site north of Amanzimtoti is an ideal spot for bird-watching. Made up of wetland and coastal lowland forest, there are two storm-water holding dams, over 55


of the last remaining symbols that remind us that whaling took place off the coast of Durban many years ago. There is also a selection of main chain stores to choose from with a variety of restaurants.

200 bird species, more than 100 indigenous tree varieties, and small game such as otter, mongoose and blue duiker. There are self-guided walks, picnic and braai facilities and various hides. WARNER BEACH was originally established in 1910 as a residential area for government pensioners and is today generally considered to be one of Kingburgh’s suburbs, lying between Kingsburgh and Winkelspruit, south of the Little Manzimtoti River and the town of Amanzimtoti. There are good shopping facilities as well as educational and tourism infrastructure, and the beach has a tidal pool as well as being protected by shark nets. Surf conditions are also highly rated, and Warner Beach has produced a number of the country’s top surfers. The suburb has good vantage points for whale and dolphin viewing.

BOTHA’S HILL has some of the most spectacular views in the country and overlooks the Valley of a Thousand Hills which lies sprawled below in a carpet of undulating hills. Six driving routes, T1 to T6, through the area are all well sign-posted and take you through leafy towns and quaint little villages, whilst off-shoots of the route wind through Krantzkloof Gorge and Inanda Dam. The entire route is dotted with pubs, tea gardens, as well as gracious hotels and guest houses. From the top of Botha’s Hill to the base of Cowies Hill, is a drop of more than 500 metres in less than 22 kilometres. It’s no wonder that the down run during the world famous Comrades Marathon is such a challenge. Botha’s Hill was named after Cornelius Botha who opened a wayside inn known as Botha’s Halfway House for wagon drivers headed inland from Durban. The former Rob Roy Hotel, which is now an old age home is in much the same spot.

WINKLESPRUIT is a little coastal resort set on a hill overlooking the sea and the north bank of the Illovo River. It is situated south of Amanzimtoti and around 20 minutes from the Durban CBD. There are two theories behind how it got its unusual name. Some believe that it is named after the periwinkle, a small mollusc common to this part of the coastline. The other theory centres on the schooner Tonga, which ran aground here with its cargo on 10 May 1875 en route to Durban. It is said that the sailors set up a small shop (called a ‘winkel’ in the Afrikaans language) alongside the river bank to sell the water damaged goods. Today it is known for its lush indigenous vegetation and long stretch of safe, shark-netted shoreline which is frequented by bathers as well as surfers, with top swimming opportunities in the tidal pool. The beach is reached via Eastern Glen Road.

The cooler air and the tranquil beauty here are a consistent attraction to artists and crafters, hence the new 1000 Hills Experience Route, which follows the same route as the Comrades Marathon, taking one through valleys, gorges, forests, rivers and over a succession of rolling hills. BRIGHTON BEACH on the Bluff is situated between Durban city centre and Isipingo Beach, south of Durban and is renowned for its world famous surf spot “Cave Rock”. There are lovely beaches here with a tidal pool. There are many rock pools to explore, surfing is excellent, diving and fishing spots are popular. Dolphins play in the waves close to shore all year round and whales are often spotted in the winter months. Many monkeys and mongoose inhabit the thick coastal vegetation. The Bluff Nature Reserve has nature trails and two bird hides that provide excellent viewing opportunities.

ATHLONE PARK is an upmarket northern suburb of Amanzimtoti and is just 7.5 kilometres from Durban, along the south coast road. Life is definitely more laid back in Athlone Park and the effect of the sea and holiday atmosphere encourages visitors to follow suit. The white, sandy beaches, swimming in warm safe water, renowned fishing, water sports and diving opportunities are very seldom surpassed. There are also amazing nature reserves which include the Bird Sanctuary and the Umbogovango Nature Reserve just north of Amanzimtoti. Ilanda Wilds offers self-guided trails and a preserved riverbank area as well as picnic spots.

Protected open spaces with environmental awareness and no high-rise buildings to spoil the coast line, prevent Brighton Beach from becoming an over-developed concrete jungle. It is only a 20 minute drive to Durban city centre, sports and soccer stadiums, Wilson’s Wharf, Botanical Gardens and uShaka Marine World. It is also close to the city’s southern industrial hub of Prospecton, Jacobs and Mobeni as well as the harbour.

THE BEREA is a suburb of Durban lying on the crest of a ridge above the city. It is exclusive with a mix of architectural styles such as Victorian, Edwardian, art deco and modern homes that bring to mind the colonial days and support the city’s epithet as the last British outpost in South Africa.

Some other attractions are the Millennium Tower, a tour of the old whaling station, a game of golf on the 18-hole golf course or shopping at one of the many chain stores. There are also a variety of restaurants and take-aways in the area ranging from seafood restaurants to steak houses, pizza parlours, etc.

The Berea offers some of the most superb sea and city views in the city. The city centre is a short trip away and the beaches are close by. The suburb with its wide tree-lined streets and Indian mynah cacophony at sundown is renowned for its pavement restaurants and diverse mix of African, Indian and European cultures and there are a couple of shopping centres here that offer accessible shopping. Durban’s Botanic Gardens on the eastern slopes of the ridge offers a herbarium, an orchid house, a cycad collection, a garden for the blind and a charity tea garden.

CAMPERDOWN lies between Hillcrest and Pietermaritzburg along the N3. Its municipality falls within the Valley of 1000 Hills and is a lovely part of the world in which to stay and because of its location away from the major cities, it has access to a fair number of game and nature reserves. The Nagle Dam, the Valley of 1000 Hills, the Msunduzi (Duzi) River, strawberry picking in season, and many other outdoor activities such as hiking, cycling and micro light flying are just a few of the highlights you can expect here. Camperdown falls within an area known as the Midlands Mistbelt. The Karkloof Nature Reserve is one of the only areas in which the Karkloof butterfly occurs and is just the other side of Pietermaritzburg from Camperdown.

Fashionable Florida Road leads off the Ridge, south of Mitchell Park and is a hive of restaurants, art galleries and fashionable boutiques and what began as mainly residential is nowadays a buzzing commercial part of the city. Mitchell Park is a family favourite with a resident colony of tortoises, ducks, a wonderful aviary, and a coffee shop. THE BLUFF which is a thick green band that makes up the headland is a collection of suburbs that cover the stretch from the military base in the north of the Bluff to Treasure Beach in the south. The Bluff offers stretches of unspoilt beaches with dunes, rock pools plus favourite fishing, diving and surfing spots that provide sport and recreation. Ansteys Beach with its paddling pools and surf spots is popular with the local residents especially the surfers, body boarders and kite surfers.

Nagle Dam and game reserve lies in the Valley of 1000 Hills beneath its own ‘Table Mountain’. Whilst it barely resembles the table top mountain of Cape Town, it is nonetheless a pretty mountain at the base of which is the dam which provides picnic spots, excellent fishing, hiking trails and game viewing. From Camperdown you also have easy access to other attractions like the Natal Lion Park, Shongweni Dam Nature Reserve and the Valley of 1000 Hills. A drive along the 1000 Hills Experience Route will bring you into contact with myriad artists, crafters and cultural villages.

The Bluff has an 18 hole golf course, mashie course (miniature golf ), yacht club, a bird sanctuary and a nature reserve. On the way to the Millennium Tower one can enjoy magnificent harbour and city views or a tour of the old whaling station, one 56


CHATSWORTH is one of Durban’s biggest suburbs and is situated just south of the city centre. It is a growing and cosmopolitan home to over 450 000 people that extends over some 64 minor suburbs displaying a mixture of old and new architecture. An active economy leads to a diversity of commerce which ranges from spaza shops to bigger brand stores.

rickshaws, bunny chows and curry, Indian markets, beautiful sandy beaches that offer safe swimming in temperate waters, and sub-tropical weather that promises sunshine makes Durban a holiday destination of note. Durban’s beachfront has been carefully renewed with wide streets that lead easily into the heart of the city, with public transport, its own city metro police force, museums, theatre, shopping and other activities to keep you entertained for days. The beachfront is bordered by luxury hotels and apartments, most of which have idyllic views of the Indian Ocean. This city is often referred to as South Africa’s Miami Beach. Bustling Durban pulses with all the energy of a major port city. The International Convention Centre, a world-class example of modern architecture that lies between the beachfront and downtown, and across from the Exhibition Centre, has placed Durban on the International Conference map and draws business travellers from all over.

Chatsworth was a township - an overhang from the apartheid era and the Group Areas Act that created Chatsworth in the late 1960s specifically for the Indian population - “Europeans” were agitating at the time about Indian “penetration”. Indians were removed from central Durban and other areas such as Sea Cow Lake, Riverside, Umhlanga, Berea, Bellair and Cato Manor - all of which went on to become ‘white’ suburbs. Chatsworth, as a result of its history, is still predominantly Indian today, although there is a healthy mix of African, white and coloured residents. Its mixed Indian cultures has given rise to the Temple of Understanding, undoubtedly South Africa’s most spectacular Hare Krishna temple, also called Sri Sri Radhanath Temple. Chatsworth’s business community ranges from tiny spazas to large corporate companies, alongside a large manufacturing industry and one of the busiest shopping malls in the country - over 1.2 million people a month shop here in the heart of Chatsworth.

The Edwardian neo-baroque City Hall, built in 1910 and modelled on the city hall in Belfast, houses the Natural Science Museum, the main library and the Durban Art Gallery. Durban’s old railway station, now known as Tourist Junction from which one can plan tours throughout the city is just beyond the City Hall. Some attractions are The Victoria Street Market restored from the original Indian Market, Grey Street with its array of silks, saris and street hawkers, the largest mosque in the southern hemisphere in Grey Street, uShaka Marine World and the Point development which is a waterfront blend of retail and apartment complexes close to the harbour mouth. Its port is the busiest in South Africa and also one of the 10 largest in the world.

COWIES HILL, just outside of Durban, is an upmarket and rather elite suburb. Originally a farm, Cowies Hill was known as Steilhoogte (steep heights) and was renamed after William Cowie who came to KwaZulu-Natal in 1837 with a group of Voortrekkers to meet with the British to negotiate their settlement in the area. Cowies Hill is one of the most sought after suburbs in the greater Pinetown area.

The Central Business District is within easy reach of all hotels and convention venues. Durban’s new airport, King Shaka International Airport (KSIA) is named after the famous Zulu warrior king and is situated at La Mercy, 35 kilometres north of Durban. Another attraction is Durban’s Moses Mabhida Stadium which was part of the venue for the Fifa World Cup in 2010. There is a 550 step walk to the top of the 100m high viewing platform at the top of the arch stretching over the stadium and a funicular for easier access.

Cowies Hill is notorious as the last of the five gruelling hills in the down-run of the Comrades Marathon. This part of the run is where the battle is most often lost or won, and many a runner has failed to remember that home is a mere 17 kilometres from here! Living in Cowies Hill is quiet and peaceful whilst being close to Durban and its attractions. It is 10 minutes’ drive from the Pavilion shopping centre and is close to Pinetown and the centre of Durban with its wonderful beaches. Hillcrest, which offers interesting farm stalls, nurseries, country pubs, wonderful restaurants and also the Heritage centre and theatre, are all close by.

Durban is a sporting mecca with a wealth of facilities for year round sporting activities. Surfing, sailing and scuba diving are obvious favourites given Durban’s warm Indian Ocean. Rugby, soccer and cricket are also very popular with Durban boasting world class stadia for all major sports.

Tranquillity and the prevalence of trees and foliage ensures abundant bird life in Cowies Hill and the Krantzkloof Nature Reserve which is close by and just up Fields Hill, near the neighbouring suburb of Kloof. The mist belt of Kloof offers a wonderful escape amidst waterfalls in an indigenous forest.

DURBAN NORTH is just 15 minutes north of Durban, on the northern side of the Umgeni River Mouth. Most of this beautiful part of the world was once a coastal dune forest system and there are still parts of it preserved in the Mangrove Swamps such as the Umgeni Bird Park with numbers of birds inhabiting the area.

DURBAN BEACHFRONT also known as “Durbs by the sea” is essentially all about its beaches. Almost every office and hotel block near the Durban Beachfront has a sea view and people from Gauteng and the Western Cape head down here, particularly during the colder winter months, to warm currents and sensational waves.

GILLITTS is a leafy, green village lying between Hillcrest and Kloof and approximately 35 kilometres west of Durban. Gillitts is a peaceful suburb of Durban where the humidity, for which Durban is renowned, seems to dissipate and the air feels clearer and the rolling green surrounds give the distinct feel of countryside. The best of both worlds can be experienced in Gillitts which is only 20 minutes’ drive from Durban, yet the accessibility to the Valley of a Thousand Hills, virtually on your doorstep, means that you’re also close to wonderful getaway opportunities like the Krantzkloof Nature Reserve with its trails and walks, and Inanda and Shongweni dams. Nearby, Kloof Country Club has an excellent golf course. The Shongweni polo club closeby hosts traditional games of polo whilst the Shongweni Farmers’ Market in the same vicinity has many stalls with wonderful fresh produce and many other products on display. The Heritage Market in Hillcrest offers an array of arts and crafts, furniture shops, restaurants and beautiful rose gardens.

Durban’s Golden Mile runs the length of the Durban beachfront in the city. It includes the promenade and starts roughly at South Beach and uShaka Marine World ending at the Suncoast Casino and Entertainment World to the north. It includes Battery beach, Snake Park, Bay of Plenty, North Beach, Dairy, Wedge, South and Addington and has the added safety assurance of shark nets and life guard patrols. Spectacular stretches of golden beaches, separated by artificial piers, sub-tropical sunshine and the warm waters of the Indian Ocean, together with the reputation as a surfer’s haven draws thousands of people to Durban. Amusement arcades, fleamarkets, numerous quality restaurants and fast-food outlets and other attractions like uShaka Marine World - with the world’s fifth largest aquarium, a water slides amusement park and the re-creation of a cargo ship wreck - the Snake Park and Mini Town combine to make a visit memorable.

Gillitts also lies close to the industrial parks of Westmead, Mahogany Ridge and Hammarsdale, making it an ideal stop for those doing business in these areas as well as Pinetown or Pietermaritzburg. Gillitts is particularly popular during both the

DURBAN CENTRAL is an eclectic fusion of cultures, architectural styles that display old with new, traditional 57


the Molweni streams in a series of cascades and waterfalls. Rich birdlife and an abundance of green foliage contribute to the mist belt of Kloof. Homes here are tasteful and gardens abundant and it is little wonder that most residents have chosen to live here and commute to the city to benefit from the sheer splendour of the area.

Comrades Marathon and the Duzi Canoe Marathon, because of its accessibility to both. GLENMORE is a quiet and leafy suburb and lies south-west of the city centre of Durban, next to the suburb of Glenwood, and down the ridge from the beautiful grounds of the University of Natal and across from the Berea. It is mainly a residential area and presents a village atmosphere, free of the traffic noises and commercial disturbances. It is located between Glenwood and Westville and is minutes from anywhere in Durban.

The Krantzkloof reserve consisting of 500 odd hectares is just four kilometres from the centre of Kloof and offers splendid views across the forested gorge which is a haven for wildlife. The area next to the dam at the head of Kloof Falls is an attractive option for a wonderful picnic. From here there are various walks that descend into the gorge, following the course of the Molweni River. The Country Club is regarded as one of the best in KwaZulu-Natal, the Valley of 1000 Hills tourism experience starts in Kloof, the Everton Conservancy is close by and so is Durban with all of its attractions.

GLENWOOD is one of Durban’s oldest suburbs that extends from its colonial-style mansions near the university down to the less pricey Umbilo Road, recently popular because of its proximity to the Durban central business district. Glenwood has entered an era of revival with activity evident on Davenport (now Helen Joseph), Bulwer and Ferguson Roads, where antique shops, the KZNSA Gallery and various little shops, restaurants and cafés have attracted a loyal following. Davenport (Helen Joseph) Road in particular has benefited from the restoration of old Victorian style houses into trendy eateries and boutiques, and looks set to rival Florida Road.

MORNINGSIDE, a suburb of Durban, spreads from the lower end of the ridge overlooking Durban to just above the Greyville Racecourse and has in the past suffered due to the business rush from this area to the northern suburbs of La Lucia and Umhlanga, but there has recently been a rejuvenation of interest in the suburb. Morningside offers some classic examples of large Edwardian and Victorian style homes and large sprawling parks like those of Mitchell Park and Jameson Park. Trendy streets with a distinctly cosmopolitan atmosphere have attracted a vibey night life to its restaurants, pubs and bistros, particularly around Florida Road. Morningside, which borders Berea on one side, and the Umgeni River on the other, ranks as one of Durban’s three most popular suburbs. The established tree-lined streets and accessibility to the centre of Durban and all its attractions make it even more appealing.

Glenwood has a friendly vibe and the tree-lined streets and easy access to the centre of Durban make this suburb an ideal place to stay. Its residents tend to be academics, artists and designers who have given the neighbourhood a ‘trendy’ vibe. Staying here is more of a serene hideaway than the hive of activity of the beachside suburbs and centre of Durban, and is also convenient for business visitors to the city. GREYVILLE lies just below the ridge of Durban, just outside the city centre. The southern edge comprises of the Botanical Gardens, whilst its north is flanked by Morningside. Greyville is virtually synonymous with the Durban July and Durban’s first and longest running horse racing venue, Greyville Racecourse. The race was first held in July 1897 with only seven horses and today it is one of the highlights of the horse racing calendar.

The Durban July, a national horse racing event that is held at Greyville Racecourse, in particular acts as a drawcard to the area. The Moses Mabhida stadium means that suburbs in and around the King’s Park area, like lower Morningside, are becoming ideal places to stay.

The Botanic Gardens, just a short stroll from here, is Durban’s oldest natural attraction and renowned for some of the finest collection of botanic species anywhere in Africa - some of the exotic trees are now huge. There are often concerts held where open air recitals in Durban’s wonderful climate can be enjoyed.

MUSGRAVE on the Berea displays beauty and sheer elegance. Musgrave Road sits just before the crest in the ridge, home to the popular Musgrave Centre, a shopping and entertainment centre. Rezoning has taken place in this area and businesses have bought stately old homes and turned them into upmarket offices, giving the area a facelift and adding value to the already beautiful tree-lined streets and gardens.

Greyville, such as Windermere (now Lilian Ngoyi) Road and 9th Avenue, has experienced something of a revival in the way of food. Bustling cafes, bars and restaurants serve all types of fusion and Mediterranean fare, by award-winning chefs in unpretentious and comfortable surrounds, with a real cosmopolitan flair.

The views from many homes along Musgrave Road are spectacular and it is easy to understand why this is such a prestigious area with its proximity to the city centre and easy access to major roads in and out of Durban.

HILLCREST, which is literally on a hill, on a crest above Durban, was once a little hamlet that bordered on the Valley of a Thousand Hills, surrounded by green pastures and farmland. It was a retreat from the city where one could escape to cooler air and peace and quiet.

PINETOWN lies between Kloof and Westville and is just 10 minutes from Durban’s Berea. Regarded mainly as a light industrial town, Pinetown has had a somewhat subdued reputation but is now gaining more of a foothold in the property market, particularly amongst first time buyers with its quick access to major routes, making it easy to reach Durban and other destinations in KwaZulu-Natal.

When the property boom occurred, Hillcrest was jolted out of its former drowsy insignificance to become, almost overnight, a boom town that now serves as a suburb to Durban. Hillcrest’s Main Road has now been rezoned for office and commercial use. Vacant land has been given over to retirement villages, equestrian estates, gated security communities and golf estates. There is also plenty to do in this area. Durban is a mere 20 minutes’ drive away and the Shongweni Farmers market every Saturday morning provides a wonderful place to buy organic and fresh produce and contributes to the feeling of country living. Numerous farm stalls, nurseries, country pubs and artists’ havens mean that you do not have to leave the charm of country living or head off to malls to shop.

Pinetown extends between Caversham Glen and Manors. It was originally established in the mid 19th century around the Wayside Hotel, which lay directly on the wagon route between Durban and Pietermaritzburg and was the unfortunate site of one of the British concentration camps during the Anglo Boer War. The New Germany Nature Reserve, with picnic sites, braai areas, wonderful trails and a hide at a waterhole providing sightings of zebra, nyala, impala, samango monkeys and others as well as a wonderful aviary, is close by.Queensburgh is only 10 minutes from the Pavilion shopping centre and within easy access of Hillcrest, Westville, Kloof and Pinetown. Queensburgh is also positioned between the southern industrial hubs of Prospecton, Jacobs and Mobeni, and Pinetown’s industrial areas of Westmead and New Germany.

KLOOF lies some 25 kilometres from Durban and is a leafy, green village perched 550 metres above sea level with a reputation for a tranquil lifestyle that with its cooler air offers relief from the sometimes very humid Durban. Kloof is the Afrikaans word for ravine. Kloof is one of the most attractive residential areas in the hills that lie above Durban and it virtually borders on the Krantzkloof Nature Reserve and is cut through by a ravine with

QUEENSBURGH offers affordable properties to first time buyers as well as more substantial homes for top of the market 58


range purchasers and its accessibility and rapid growth make it a popular suburb in which to live. Queensburgh also offers the odd exciting haven, despite its commercial success. The suburb of Northdene includes the North Park Nature Reserve, a small yet beautiful protected area of coastal lowland forest right next to the Umhlatuzana River. Delightful paths have been laid where it is possible to wander past established ponds that are a haven for water birds, and spot the odd bushbuck, grey duiker or mongoose.

provides a wonderful walk-way next to the sea, past the famous Umhlanga Lighthouse, and numerous excellent restaurants. THE VALLEY OF 1000 HILLS forms around the majestic valley created by the Mngeni River and its tributaries. Many artists and crafters have been attracted to the beauty and tranquility of this area which is dotted with cozy guest lodges, friendly pubs and tea gardens with sweeping views over the hills and dams. The main attraction on the 1000 Hills Experience is the dramatic landscape. Zulu culture can be experienced at a few cultural villages. Microlight trips are organised from Cato Ridge Airfield. Boat cruises on Shongweni, Nagle and Inanda Dams can be booked and visitors can spend a day on a fishing trip or on escorted 4 wheel drives through the Valley.

SHERWOOD lies just to the west of Durban and close to Westville. It is known as the little “garden suburb” due to the number of nurseries and the wonderful gardens that grace the suburb. An interesting history lies behind the origin of Sherwood. It is named after the Sherwood Foresters, a nickname attributed to the 45th Regiment of Foot of the British army, stationed here during the middle of the 19th century. The cutting through a hill, valiantly carried out with pick and shovel for which they were responsible, is still called ‘45th cutting’ today.

ASSAGAY, situated in the Valley of 1000 Hills, has become known as Outer West Durban and lies just north west of Hillcrest. This part of the world is greener and cooler than Durban with rolling hills that rise steadily up to Botha’s Hill, after which they descend into the gorgeous Valley of 1000 Hills.

Whilst many of the homes in the area are old, buyers are following a trend to transform these by renovating and upgrading. Sherwood is close to the Pavilion shopping mall and only five minutes from the centre of Durban and her attractions.

Assagay, together with its neighbours - Botha’s Hill, Alverstone, and the equine spots of Summerveld and Shongweni is regarded as living in the country. People commute from here to either Durban, Pinetown or Pietermaritzburg rather than live in the more congested cities. Despite the obvious development of rambling properties and luxury townhouses, it is still a more peaceful existence. Drive along the 1000 Hills route where you can visit artists, crafters, a crocodile and snake park, cultural villages all of which feature Zulu dancing and more.

SYDENHAM is one of the more colourful neighbourhoods of Durban and lies behind the ridge of the Berea, neighbouring on Sherwood, Sparks and Clare Hills. It’s less fashionable than its counterparts on the ‘right’ side of the ridge but what is distinctly in its favour is quick access onto the N2, N3 and M13 highways and a proximity to the commercial centres of Umgeni Business Park, Springfield Park and the Gateway Theatre of Shopping and is also within easy reach of the major attractions in Durban. The neighbourhood in Sydenham is colourful. The variety of communities here are a more realistic reflection of life in the ‘new South Africa’ and it is an ideal way to remain close to the heart of Durban, without paying an arm and a leg for accommodation.

WESTVILLE’S accessibility to Durban is one of its main attractions, whilst still managing to remain a quiet and beautiful residential suburb. Lying between Sherwood and Pinetown, Westville is only 15 minutes’ from the city centre yet set amongst rolling hills, gardens sprinkled with meandering streams, and tree-lined streets that are close to attractions like the Pavilion shopping centre.

UMGENI PARK is just north of the Umgeni River Bird Park, next to Durban North and inland from the Blue Lagoon. Umgeni River Bird Park just on the other side of Morningside from Sydenham, is built on the banks of the Umgeni River with access to walk-through aviaries, enviable green vegetation, waterfalls, rock faces, and splendid birds. The major attraction here is the Umgeni River Bird Park which was established in what was once a disused quarry. Now 17 different species of birds breed here and another 23 endangered species are kept within the confines of the park that has conservation at heart.

Westville has always served as a noble, slower paced suburb of Durban, possibly because of its history as farming land during the early 1920s, and it is here that people head for more of a “country” lifestyle. It may not be quite as pretty as Hillcrest, but the homes here are set on large properties, most of them with precipitous driveways of some description because of the hills. Westville’s office parks have attracted a few major companies and professional firms enjoy it out here because this location makes their offices accessible.

The area is popular with more security conscious complex dwellings. There are also properties with solitary homes and large, beautiful gardens and tree-lined streets. The suburb is only fifteen minutes from the city centre and lies just above the Umgeni River with excellent access to shopping malls and a number of popular beaches.

The Westville campus of the University of KwaZulu Natal is situated in the suburb and, aside from being a rather pretty campus, also boasts a Hindu temple and an Islamic place of worship - a reflection of its multi-cultural student body, who come here to study science, engineering, humanities and social science, among other degrees.

UMHLANGA is now a buzzing residential, commercial and resort suburb just outside of Durban but was once a seaside resort town called Umhlanga Rocks. During the early seventies it merged with La Lucia to become what it is today - Umhlanga, which means “place of reeds” in Zulu. It remains a highly popular seaside resort, its wide, sandy beaches lined with exclusive hotels and apartment blocks with the beaches being very popular, whilst locals enthusiastically walk the promenade at sundown. Many businesses have relocated here from central Durban.

YELLOWWOOD PARK is a is tranquil, leafy suburb with park-like surrounds and is just 14 kilometres from Durban. The majority of the roads here are aptly named after birds as the area is a birdwatcher’s paradise. The Kenneth Stainbank Nature Reserve lies within the borders of Yellowwood Park and is one of the most beautiful areas of coastal riverine forest and bush clump grassland mosaic and has some wonderful trails, picnic sites and the chance to see local birds, zebra and buck, some of them around the small dam just down from the car park. The Centre for Rehabilitation of Wildlife (CROW), based in Yellowwood Park cares for injured and orphaned wild animals and birds - most of their injuries being due to human negligence.

Umhlanga has grown immensely with gated communities and luxury estates sprawled across the suburb. Umhlanga Ridge, which used to be largely sugarcane plantations is now a much sought-after retail, office and residential area. Gateway Shopping Centre, one of the biggest shopping centres in the country, means that, whilst staying in Umhlanga, there is little reason to venture elsewhere. The O’Connor promenade that stretches from Durban View Park all the way to Breakers is the start of the Umhlanga Lagoon Nature Reserve and

Yellowwood Park has a real sense of village life and borders on Chatsworth and south west of Durban. The Civic Centre is a beautiful Cape Dutch building that is for hire for weddings and other occasions. 59


durban west Durban West encompasses a vibrant residential, commercial and industrial area inland from Durban, between the Indian Ocean to the east and the Valley of 1000 Hills to the west. The region’s pleasant, central position and many leisure attractions have seen it grow over the years to become a popular choice for residential and business property development.

– was built in the Romanesque Revival architectural style and remains in use to this day. Starting out as a clinic, St Mary’s Hospital was opened in 1922 and still serves the surrounding communities with an operating theatre, maternity section, outpatients’ clinic and nurses’ training centre. Mariannhill has also been an important educational centre for African boys and girls since the late 1800s, and St Francis College has produced many notable alumni, including the linguist and poet, Dr BW Vilakazi; former UN Secretary, Dr B Chidzero; and the black consciousness leader, Steve Biko. The first-ever Zulu newspaper, ‘umAfrika’ (originally titled ‘Izindaba Zabantu’) was printed by Mariannhill Mission Press in 1911. Today, the monastery is a lovely spot to visit, take in the unique architecture and experience the serenity of the surroundings. Tours of the museum and old tannery are available and there is a tea garden. MAYVILLE and the neighbouring suburb of Westridge comprise a mix of residential, commercial and light manufacturing zones lying between Durban’s Berea and Sherwood, close to Tollgate and the N3 freeway.

BELLAIR lies between Hillary and Carrington Heights, west of the Umbilo River. This conveniently situated suburb is near to the main arterial routes of the M7, M10 and N2 and in close vicinity to the state-of-the-art Nkosi Albert Luthuli Central Hospital. CATO MANOR is a suburb steeped in history, situated about five kilometres from the Durban CBD. It was originally settled in the early 1900s by Indian market gardeners who subsequently leased plots to many African families, resulting in the birth of a lively Afro-Indian society. Famous past residents include President Jacob Zuma, musician Sipho Gumede, poet Mi S’dumo Hlatshwayo and trade unionist George Champion. Much of its past has however been turbulent; from the 1949 race riots between Indian and African residents to the forced removal of occupants which took place in the 1950s and 1960s following the declaration of Cato Manor as a white zone under the infamous Group Area Act. The area has been given a new lease on life following the implementation of the eThekwini Municipality’s ambitious urban development plan, incorporating low-cost housing, schools, clinics, libraries, a market, heritage centre and multi-purpose centres with funding from the European Union.

NEW GERMANY, which was originally known as ‘NeuDeutschland’, was founded in 1848 by a group of 183 German settlers under an immigration plan initiated by Jonas Bergtheil. When the original scheme of growing cotton proved unsuccessful, these first settlers began instead to grow flowers and vegetables. New Germany became a municipality in 1960 and has subsequently been incorporated into the eThekwini Municipality. Today the suburb is a popular residential area, especially for starter homes, and is close to the main highways between Durban and Pietermaritzburg. The section bordering on Pinetown is involved in light manufacturing and includes an industrial park.

CHESTERVILLE is a former ‘blacks-only’ township situated between Cato Manor and Westville and named after the onetime manager of Durban’s Native Administration Department, TJ Chester. It is the birthplace of the writer, academic and literary critic, Lewis Nkosi, who was awarded the Order of Ikhamanga during 2008 in recognition of his contribution to South African literature.

For a taste of the area’s history, visit the Bergtheil Local History Museum, which is housed in a 19th Century farmhouse and contains an interesting collection of photographs, documents and artefacts relating to the German settlers and the surrounding communities. Other attractions include the New Germany Nature Reserve with its prolific birdlife, walk-in bird aviary, two dams and animals such as impala, bushbuck and duiker.

CLERMONT is surrounded by Westville, Kloof, New Germany and Inanda. During the Apartheid era it was a black middleincome township, and was one of the only places in the Durban region where Africans were able to buy property and build houses. Swelled by rural-urban migration, this sprawling suburb has grown swiftly in recent years and facilities include a large number of schools, the important KwaDabeka Clinic, Elangeni College and Emphelandaba Sports Field. Clermont is home to a variety of active church communities, including Zionist, Nazareth Baptist (Shembe), Anglican, Catholic and Methodist, all sporting colourful and unique church uniforms. There are a number of taverns in the area, and night-life is lively, particularly on weekends.

PINETOWN lies at the foot of Field’s Hill on the road to Kloof and covers the area between Cowies Hill to the east and the Westmead industrial area to the west. The town grew up around the old Wayside Hotel, which was built in 1849 along the main wagon trail between the seaport of Durban and the provincial capital of Pietermaritzburg. Today a residential as well as light industrial area, Pinetown has many amenities, including shopping centres like Pine Walk and Pine Crest, and health facilities such as the Crompton Hospital and Medicross private medical centre. Sports facilities include the Pinetown Cricket Club, established in 1873 and said to be the oldest cricket club in the province.

COWIES HILL is an upmarket residential area located between Westville and Pinetown, 15 kilometres from Durban. Formerly named Steilhoogte (steep heights), it gained its present-day name from William Cowie, one of the original settlers. Today it is well-known as the final hill-climb in the exhausting down-run of the Pietermaritzburg-to-Durban Comrades Marathon. This peaceful suburb, with its luxuriant foliage, beautiful trees, rich bird life and proximity to indigenous forest, is nevertheless close to many nearby amenities such as Westville’s Pavilion Shopping Centre and the hubs of Hillcrest, Pinetown and Durban.

During the second Anglo-Boer War (1899-1902), the British army under Lord Kitchener was given orders to burn Boer homesteads and destroy their livestock in an effort to put a stop to the Boers’ ongoing guerrilla warfare tactics. This move saw thousands of women and children being removed from their farms and transferred to concentration camps across the breadth of South Africa and beyond its borders. Four of these camps were established in the eThekwini area, including Pinetown, Jacobs, Isipingo and Merebank. Although there exists little to no evidence of the camps at either Isipingo or Pinetown, the site at Jacobs contains a few graves and a central memorial, and the Merebank camp witnessed some limited restoration during the 1970s. Anglo-Zulu War and Anglo-Boer War graves

MARIANNHILL comprises a small suburb situated close to Pinetown and best known for the picturesque Mariannhill Monastery. Founded in 1882 as a Trappist monastery by Prior Francis Pfanner, the monastery was constructed by the monks themselves, many of whom were accomplished craftsmen and builders. Development was rapid, and additional land was soon purchased next to the Umhlatuzana River, where a mill and turbine were erected. A larger church – St Joseph’s Cathedral 60


may be seen in Pinetown’s St John’s Church, while Mariannhill Mission also contains the graves of several British soldiers who died from wounds or disease during the Anglo-Boer War.

named after the British army’s 45th Regiment of Foot – tagged the ‘Sherwood Foresters’ – who were based here in the mid1800s. The regiment was responsible for digging the cutting through the hill, which was achieved using picks and shovels, and the spot became known as ‘45th cutting’.

QUEENSBURGH is a hilly area bounded by Westville and Pinetown to the north and Chatsworth to the south, and consists of the suburbs of Malvern, Escombe, Northdene and Moseley. It contains a wide range of residential properties, from affordable to distinctly upmarket, and is popular because of its accessibility as well numerous nature-based attractions. These include the beautiful and secluded coastal forest reserve of North Park, with its water birds, duiker and mongoose, and the lovely four-star Queensburgh Caravan Park, situated in a valley facing the Umbilo River and Roosfontein sub-tropical forest and cliffs. The Roosfontein Nature Reserve comprises 150 hectares of grassland and riverine bush.

SYDENHAM is a vibrant fusion of different cultures which lies behind Durban’s upmarket Berea yet in close proximity to the bustling suburbs of Sparks Estate, Sherwood and Clare Hills. It enjoys easy access to the Durban CBD as well as other surrounding commercial centres to the north, north-west, and south-east via the N3, N3 and M13 highways. Property here is a mix of residential and commercial, and there are quite a few apartment blocks. WESTMEAD, which is a predominantly commercial and light industrial area, covers the area west of Pinetown near the N3 highway.

RESERVOIR HILLS incorporates the region north of Westville and east of New Germany and Clermont. Under the former Apartheid system, this pleasantly green residential suburb was zoned as an ‘Indian area’. SARNIA is a quiet suburb in close proximity to Cowies Hill, Pinetown and the Umbilo River, which meanders through the 170-hectare Paradise Nature Reserve. The Umbilo Water Works (1887-1905) is a national monument located in the reserve, which also boasts attractions such as four kilometres of trails through grassland and forest.

WESTVILLE is just a 15-minute drive from the centre of Durban, between Sherwood and Pinetown, yet retains a peaceful, suburban atmosphere. Substantial properties, lush gardens and quiet streets set amidst rolling hills hark back to the area’s farming roots. Aside from its residential advantages, Westville has a number of thriving office parks and a variety of good shopping malls, including the region’s second-largest mall in The Pavilion shopping centre. There are excellent schools as well as the Westville campuses of the University of KwaZuluNatal and Varsity College. Places of worship include Catholic, Baptist and Anglican churches, and the Habibia Soofie Masjid mosque. The forested Palmiet Nature Reserve is characterised by rugged cliffs, diverse indigenous vegetation and fascinating birdlife, and contains an iron-age site as well as the ram pump from the historic Durban to Pietermaritzburg wagon route.

SHERWOOD is one of the region’s older suburbs, lying close to Durban between Sydenham and the 45th cutting and Westville areas. It is often called the ‘garden suburb’ because of its many nurseries and picturesque gardens, and a number of properties here have been upgraded and improved in recent years. It is

accommodation ACORN B&B IN DURBAN

Set high on the Berea, overlooking Durban, is the exclusive Acorn B&B in Durban. A secure, secluded oasis of privacy and tranquility. 1 km to Greyville Race Course; 3 kms to ICC, Exhibition Centre, Cricket & City Centre; 4 kms to Soccer, Rugby & Beach; 7 kms to Ushaka Marine World. “I know a place that feels like home” We have endeavoured to supply you with all amenities and services required to make your stay relaxed and hassle-free, while retaining the gracious, old-world ethos of the home. Your Host: Don Atkinson FREE WIFI Tel +27 31 208 1884 • Fax +27 86 528 8330 3 Wolfenden Grove, Berea • S29o50.277’, E031o00.425’ info@acornbandb.co.za • www.acornbandb.co.za

SEASIDE LODGE

Situated in Salt Rock on the Dolphin coast, within walking distance to the beaches. Tastefully decorated private suites, self-catering units and family suites with sea views. Tel +27 32 525 4103 • Cell +27 72 240 5230 E-mail: seajun@mweb.co.za Website: www.seasidelodge.co.za

BOTANY BAY LODGE

Relaxed, friendly accommodation in a “Home from Home” atmosphere. Centrally located next to Durban’s famous Botanical Gardens on the lush Berea. We offer affordable quality & comfort. Tel +27 31 202 1829 • Fax +27 86 669 6601 Cell +27 82 571 9438 • 27 St. Thomas Rd, Berea botanybaylodge@gmail.com www.botanybaylodge.co.za

ROSELAND HOUSE

TESORINO BED & BREAKFAST

Lovely Edwardian Durban home in quiet residential area - the best place for business and leisure guests

Stylish bedrooms, air-conditioned with own bathroom, shower & verandah. DSTV, DVD, hairdryer, safe & tea tray. Sea views and walking distance to beach.

Tel +27 31 201 3256 • Fax +27 31 201 6794 Cell +27 83 450 3277 291 Helen Joseph Rd, Glenwood, Durban info@roseland.co.za • www.roseland.co.za

Tel +27 31 561 2719 • Fax +27 31 561 1347 34 Stanley Grace Cres, Umhlanga Rocks E-mail: info@tesorino.co.za Website: www.tesorino.co.za

61


Tel +27 31 562 8235 Cell (Dominiek) 079 980 8724 Cell (Heidi) 079 420 7902 2 Trevor Place, La Lucia, Durban E-mail: info@cazabeach.com Website: www.cazabeach.com Welcome to La Lucia’s Finest Guest House Caza Beach Guest House offers four-star accommodation and comprises seven luxury rooms, each of which overlooks a beautiful indigenous garden with a sparkling pool for those warm summer days. Each room comes with private access, as well as an array of other facilities. The guest house is conveniently situated a mere 20 metres away from the beach and there are a number of local attractions to engage in. Features: • Private entrances to rooms • Swimming pool • Laundry services • Lunch on request • Credit card facilities

62


63


64


65


attractions, travel, tours & safaris ISLE OF CAPRI CRUISES

• Day & Evening • Harbour & Deep Sea • Pleasure and Business • Affordable Educational School Trips Based at Wilson’s Wharf Tel 031 305 3099 • Tel 031 301 7008 Cell 082 851 4787 Website: www.isleofcapri.co.za

• TripAdvisor 2013 and 2014 Certificate of Excellence Winner • Featured in UK online Travel magazine “Igap Travel Guide” Specialising in Durban Day and overnight Safaris and Tours to Big 5 Malaria-Free Game Reserves, Drakensberg Mountains and the Battlefields of KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa Durban Day Safaris/Tours include: • Hluhluwe Imfolozi Big 5 Game Reserve • Tala Game Reserve and Zulu Cultural Village (Valley of 1000 Hills) • Sani Pass (Drakensberg Scenic Tour) - World Heritage site • St Lucia Wetlands Tour (World heritage site) • Shakaland (Zulu Cultural Tour) • Durban City/Township Tour Durban Overnight Safaris/Tours include: • Hluhluwe Imfolozi Big 5 Game Reserve, Cat Rehabilitation Centre and St Lucia Wetlands • Drakensberg - Hiking, sightseeing, Bushman paintings • Battlefields of KwaZulu-Natal (History relived) Call: +27 71 453 2781 • E-mail: info@timbrowntours.com • Website: www.timbrowntours.com

ROCHER PHOTOGRAPHY by MARC ANDERSON

66


67


68


69


PIETERMARITZBURG

DURBAN

T

south coast

ARG SOUTH COAST

south coast distances - kms

T

Durban to Margate................. 153 Margate to Scottburgh........... 86 Margate to Port Shepstone..... 21 Margate to Port Edward......... 26 Durban to Port Edward........... 179 Port Shepstone to Kokstad .....119 Kokstad to Underberg............ 103 Ixopo to Richmond................. 42 Richmond to Underberg......... 89 Pennington to Hibberdene...... 30 Ramsgate to Scottburgh........ 89

STERN CAPE 70


by Justin Mackrory Chief Executive Officer Ugu South Coast Tourism On behalf of Ugu South Coast Tourism, its board, patrons, parent funders and municipalities, members and stakeholders, I would hereby like to congratulate The BEST OF KZN for yet another truly impressive publication. Given the number of media platforms that exist in South Africa and globally, it is never easy deciding on which publication to endorse and support, however year on year, The BEST OF KZN has proven to be a hearty favourite for both consumers and the trade. Given the diversity of the greater KwaZulu-Natal South Coast, The BEST OF KZN has certainly gone to great lengths to ensure all products from all walks of life are represented herein and it is for this reason too that we extend our well wishes to the publishers on their continued successes. So from caravans to 5 star, family outings to corporate incentives and events to quiet getaways, the Ugu South Coast welcomes you. Here’s to growing tourism from strength to strength and hoping that the tourism trade will support this initiative.

Yours in paradise Justin Mackrory CEO, Ugu South Coast Tourism

71


ROCHER PHOTOGRAPHY by MARC ANDERSON

south coast The South Coast as a destination is unique in as much that it offers beach, captivating hinterland, multi adventure activities, culture & heritage, all year round events and loads of arts, crafts and zany places to visit. • It’s Beyond Beach expectations - the beach & deep blue - Blue Flag beaches, diving reefs, fishing fanatics and shoreline surprises, 120km of oceans & pristine, sandy beaches, shark diving, abundant reefs, whale watching & 700 000 000 sardines during the famous run. • It’s Heavenly Hinterland - It’s in the forest –lush hinterland vegetation 1700m above sea level, Lake Eland zip line slide and Cape Vultures & be suspended on 80m bridge, It’s the Wild 5 - swing, abseil, foefi slide, white water rafting, hiking in the river gorges. • It’s active - ground zero and high skies – Kite flying, helicopter trips, 365 species of birds to see and flights to Margate, rocking beach music, Marine, Portuguese and Africa Bike Week and Jazz Festivals. Coast by horseback & trails, hiking, biking in 9 nature & game reserves, Picnics, butterfly domes & crocodile farms. • Its Multi culture and mission stations, shipwrecks, sunken war planes, Shaka’s assassination rock and more. • It’s all year round – award winning accommodation, 11 stunning Golf courses and a whacky Waterworld to boot and seasonal fun festivals. • It’s crafts and art and zany spaces - galleries, antique shops, leather & beads, museums & markets. • And to top it all, whilst offering quality experiences, it is one of the most affordable holiday destinations in South Africa. It’s THE playground. It’s YOUR bucket list! It’s your space to play in the Paradise of the Zulu Kingdom. The South Coast of KwaZulu-Natal is blessed with year-round balmy weather and a gorgeous subtropical setting, making it an idyllic destination for holidaymakers. A succession of enchanting holiday towns, each with its own special character, lie along a 120 kilometre seaboard stretching from Umkomaas as far as to Port Edward and into the Hinterland reaching as far as Harding and the beautiful Ingeli Forests. These villages and resorts offer the visitor everything from golden beaches and eco-adventures to first-class restaurants, excellent shopping venues and a wide range of accommodation.

The region’s maritime history takes the spotlight at the Port Shepstone Maritime Museum, with this deceptively lovely stretch of coastline having also seen its fair share of storms and shipwrecks. Lighthouse enthusiasts might enjoy visiting the North Sand Bluff at Port Edward, the Green Point Lighthouse near Umkomaas and the famous chequered Port Shepstone Lighthouse, which was manufactured in Britain and shipped to South Africa in the 1890s. Whilst this is not open to public, it certainly brings a certain charm to this coastal town and takes one back to the memories of sailors and wild seas – and new Lighthouse festivals in the pipeline promise to enthuse visitors and locals alike.

With its family-friendly swimming beaches and boasting the highest number of Blue Flag beaches in South Africa, fascinating tidal pools, unspoilt lagoons and lush coastal bush, this is the perfect location to relax and imbibe the heady atmosphere of sea, surf and sunshine.

The South Coast is also the site of one of the world’s greatest natural marine phenomena: the Sardine run – also referred to as the Greatest Shoal on Earth. Every winter, usually between the months of May and July, vast shoals 700 000 thousand sardines migrate up the coast, followed by scores of dolphins, sharks, seals and game fish, as well as circling seabirds, all of which join in the feeding frenzy. These tiny silvery fish are periodically driven into shallow waters, beaching themselves along the shoreline – to the obvious delight of locals and visitors who travel from far and near to scoop up the sea’s bountiful offering.

The Blue Flag is an international award given to beaches that meet excellence in the areas of safety, amenities, cleanliness and environmental standards. The strict criteria of the programme are set by the international coordinators of the Blue Flag campaign in Europe, the FEE (Foundation for Environmental Education). In South Africa, the programme is managed by WESSA (the Wildlife and Environmental Society of South Africa), along with participating local authorities under the Department of Environmental Affairs’ Coastcare initiative. South Africa was the first country outside Europe to win Blue Flag accreditation for its beaches.

This region is also known for its superb diving opportunities, and the Aliwal Shoal situated near Umkomaas, just north of Scottburgh is the undisputed treasure trove of a spectacularly rich marine ecosystem. Internationally recognised and ranked 72


as one of the world’s top ten diving spots, it is made up of beautifully hued corals, sponges and a large variety of warm and cold water fish, such as ragged tooth sharks, stingrays and turtles. Dive charters are numerous, with facilities for beginners as well as experienced divers. Another fantastic diving spot – also ranked in the world’s top ten diving spots and strictly for experienced divers – can be found at the Protea Banks off Shelly Beach. Soft cage diving with sharks is also on offer. While participants need to be able to swim, no diving experience is required for the cage diving. These two sites have attracted both national and international marine biologists, scientists and conservationists study these hot spots due to the diversity and uniqueness of the sites. Attached alongside this phenomena is the annual Sardine Festival, jam packed events and festivities that will run between June and July each year. More information on these sites can be found below.

Set in woodland with beautiful trees, interesting birdlife and panoramic sea views, the impressive golf course at Umkomaas Country Club was established in 1913, making it the third oldest golf course in KwaZulu-Natal as well as the oldest natural course in the country. Challenging to both low and high-handicapped golfers, this well-maintained 18-hole parkland course is the home course of world ranked PGA tournament professional Tim Clark. The fourth hole here ranks as one of the most difficult par fours in South Africa, while the notorious 18th hole – despite being relatively flat and straight – is among the toughest finishing holes worldwide.

And for those who want to venture inland, close by are two incredibly scenic game reserves, the Vernon Crooks Game and Nature Reserve as well as the TC Robinson Nature Reserve. This entire area boasts an eco and green culture of note and soon will see an increased amount of outdoor activities, competitions and series.

WIDENHAM lies approximately 50 kilometres from Durban, a little to the south of Umkomaas at the mouth of the Mkhomazi River, which is the site of an annual canoe race. Once a GermanAmerican mission town, these days it is a quiet residential area with a number of holiday cottages and lovely views. The rocky beach is popular with fishermen, and there is a large tidal pool which is floodlit at night.

EMPISINI NATURE RESERVE is a wetland, coastal and riverine forest situated near Umkomaas. The reserve has a clear stream with cascades, and is notable for its profusion of butterflies and splendid birding. Self-guided and guided walks, accommodation, picnic and braai facilities are offered.

Surfing is another favourite pastime, with the beach at St Michael’s-on-Sea in possession of one of the best point-breaks in South Africa. Other appealing pursuits include dolphin and whale viewing, kayaking and rafting, and deep-sea fishing trips, with the Umtamvuna River near Port Edward offering a number of water-based leisure activities. While adrenaline junkies might prefer to test their nerves on gorge swinging, zip lining or abseiling at Oribi Gorge, more leisurely pursuits are also in abundance, and the South Coast boasts a total of eleven 18-hole golf courses. Some of these courses are host to many highly reputed competitions including the SA Woman’s Open.

THE ALIWAL SHOAL, touted as ‘the greatest shoal on earth’, is one of the largest reefs on the South African coastline and home to over 1 200 species of fish, colourful corals and sponges. Along with the celebrated ragged-tooth shark, the reef accommodates ragged-tooth, hammerhead and Zambezi sharks, as well as the occasional great white. With depths ranging from five metres at the pinnacles to 30 metres on the outside edge, one of the most impressive characteristics of the reef is its awe-inspiring topography. The shoal’s intricately constructed features consist of spectacular pinnacles, hidden gullies and dramatic drop-offs, as well as intriguing tunnels and blow-holes.

Speaking of sport, the South Coast is attracting other significant events including multi sports festivals, Ski Boat competitions and championships, SA Schools Netball Champs, the SA Gymnastic Nationals and Africa Expedition – a gruelling 500km course involving 20 national and 20 international teams competing in wild terrain running, cycling and paddling.

Diving conditions are best in the early morning, when the seas are calmer and the largest concentrations of ragged-tooth sharks – or ‘raggies’ – can be found. The extensive size of Aliwal Shoal, which stretches roughly four kilometres from end to end and 300 metres across, means that there is a huge number of interesting dive sites to choose from, with some of the more famous including:

Inland in the hinterland, between Oribi Gorge, Paddock, Harding and the Weza Ingeli areas, one can participate in annual Tube racing, the Ingeli Dhaga MTB activities as well as the Paddock Fishing competition. Polo cross is a growing sport in this area as are a multitude of other tourism activities and places of interest to visit such as the recently launched, by appointment only, Vulture Hide and Restaurant.

• Raggie’s Cave – The best site on Aliwal Shoal for spotting raggies, and while divers are not allowed to enter the cave when sharks are in residence, there is a superb viewing area at the cave entrance. Other marine life includes potato bass and moray eel. With some fairly sheltered spots, the site is good for open water divers and its maximum depth is 18 metres.

There are many ways to access this Paradise of the Zulu Kingdom. There are now direct flights from Johannesburg’s OR Tambo airport flying into Margate in addition to flights from around the country to Durban’s King Shaka airport. Various shuttle busses are available and for the self drive visitors, there is a wide array of car hire companies to choose from. In addition, group tours can be arranged through South Coast Tourism’s reputed suppliers. If one were to head south down the coast, you would discover the following gems in geographical order.

• Cathedral – Another excellent spot for viewing raggedtooth sharks; during shark season dozens of these ferocious looking yet docile creatures may be found resting within the amphitheatre. Hammerhead sharks and stingrays are to be seen during the summer months. With a maximum depth of 27 metres, this site is for advanced divers. • North Eastern Pinnacles – Ideal for novices, this easy dive has a maximum depth of 14 metres and contains many sheltered potholes where small fish may be found. Look out for clown fish, anemones, potato bass and octopus. The maximum depth of this site reaches 14 metres.

UMGABABA is located some 36 kilometres from Durban, a little south of Illovo Beach and north of Umkomaas. It presents a protected bay with a good bathing area and promising angling prospects due to the proximity of the Aliwal Shoal. The Umgababa Festival is held annually around the beginning of the year. Development here slowed following a fire which ravaged the town in the 1980s. However, a project to rejuvenate the beach area is making this lovely site more accessible.

• North Sands & South Sands – With a maximum depth of 15 metres, these two large sand patches are a great training ground for beginners, and sand sharks as well as dolphins may be seen here.

UMKOMAAS is a little hillside town which these days is almost synonymous with the internationally-renowned Aliwal Shoal, an offshore reef that draws divers from across the world. It is thus small wonder that the town has a well-established diving infrastructure, with professional dive charters, scuba schools, equipment hire and a wide range of accommodation. Another ocean-based activity is the popular whale watching tour. Other pursuits include horseback rides along the beach, mountain biking and hiking trails, tennis and bowling.

• Inside Edge – Comprising the entire inshore edge of the shoal, this site is renowned for octopus, scorpion fish, fire fish, cuttlefish and eels, as well as many larger species such as sharks and dolphins. While the maximum depth here is 22 metres, the top of the ledge is around 15 metres, making it suitable for qualified open water one as well as advanced divers. • Outside Edge – This is where the larger varieties of marine life are to be found, including game fish, hammerheads and 73


tiger sharks. Both experienced and open water divers are accommodated, depending on the area, with the maximum depth being 27 metres.

rolling fairways and magnificent views of the KwaZulu-Natal coastline. Wildlife found amidst lush indigenous forests and beautiful rolling hills comprises bushbuck, vervet monkeys and the occasional genet. In addition to the ubiquitous hadedas and Indian mynahs, commonly sighted birds include the Knysna and purple-crested lourie (or ‘turaco’) and many different species of waterfowl. King Shaka is said to have named the river ‘mpanbonyoni’, meaning ‘confuser of birds’, because of the vast number of birds at the river mouth.

• Eelskins – Located near the south-western tip of the reef, there are exceptional fossilised rock formations here as well as sand gullies which during shark season shelter many ragged-tooth sharks and shoaling tropical fish. With a maximum depth of 18 metres, the site is good for open water divers. • Manta Point – With depths between 15 and 22 metres, this site is suitable for more advanced divers. A good spot for manta rays, there are a variety of nooks and crannies hiding crayfish and shrimp.

Situated near Scottburgh, Crocworld Conservation Centre contains a complete wildlife experience, being home to crocodiles, indigenous and exotic snakes, fresh water fish and a huge variety of birds. Amenities include a restaurant and children’s playground, horse and pony rides and the opportunity to go shark diving or dolphin viewing on a boat ride. Daily activities include Harris hawk demonstrations, snake demonstrations, crocodile feeding, shark diving and aviary tours.

Geological history dates the formation of the shoal to approximately 80 000 years ago (quite recent in geological terms) when sea levels were much lower than they are now. The dune rock which makes up the present-day core of the shoal was formed from sand dunes and shells, which fossilised after being dissolving into a compound of calcium carbonate by heavy rainfalls. Shifting continental plates caused the Indian Ocean to rise and the eventual submersion of the dune rock. In the millennia which followed, successive deposits of seashells and sand created a dramatically intricate sandstone shoal, comprising an elaborate topography of tunnels, gullies, dropoffs and caves, and blanketed by vibrant colonies of corals. Today the shoal is inhabited by an impressive variety of fish species, which hide in the extensive network of nooks and crannies covering this massive reef system.

UMZINTO owes its early development to the establishment of the sugar industry. Sugarcane plantations sprung up in the hilly area around the Mzinto River as early as 1857, followed by the first public sugar company a year later. The Indian labourers who were brought in to work on the cane farms have added to the cultural mix of the area as well as boosting its economy. Present-day Umzinto remains a busy town with a mixture of colonial and Indian architecture. Shark nets provide for safe swimming, snorkelling and surfing.

Shipwrecks have also been a common occurrence in these waters. Named after the Aliwal, which narrowly avoided being sunk on the reef in 1849, the Aliwal Shoal was to claim two other ships in the years which followed: the Nebo and the Produce, which are both frequently visited on wreck dives.

Situated about 12 kilometres inland from Umzinto, Vernon Crookes Nature Reserve is secluded yet beautifully situated, with sweeping views to the ocean. Comprising wonderful coastal forest and grassland, the reserve contains approximately 56 mammal species, including impala, blue wildebeest, zebra and oribi, while birdlife is made up of some 300 confirmed species, including a number of spectacular raptors. Accommodation is available in fully equipped rondavels as well as a large tree house. There are pleasant spots to picnic, and the 11-kilometre ‘Happy Gold Mine’ trail leads to an old gold mine with mine shafts and a steam traction machine still in place.

Sunk on 20 May 1884 on her maiden voyage, the unfortunate Nebo was a 2 000 tonne steamship carrying the Amanzimtoti railway bridge from Sunderland to Durban. Some controversy surrounds her sinking, and today there are two conflicting stories about her demise. While the official report stated that she was sunk by one of the shoal’s pinnacles, a more likely explanation is that the excessive weight of the bridge she was carrying may have led her to capsize after being struck by a large wave.

KELSO once served as a vital link in the transportation of sugar, which would come via boat down the Umzinto River and then out to sea on a larger ship. Golden beaches, exquisite shells, warm waters, excellent snorkelling and fishing, abundant tropical fish and other sea-life, perfect swells for surfers in the proximity of the legendary Mfazazana Point and horseback rides across unspoilt beaches are just a few of Kelso’s coastal attractions. Kelso also contains remnants of the area’s past: a coastal midden has been discovered in the vicinity of the Mzimai estuary which dates to the Iron Age.

A Norwegian freighter weighing around 15 000 tonnes, the Produce was sunk on 11 August 1974 after having her hull torn apart on the reef’s northern pinnacles. Lying on a sand bed approximately 32 metres below the surface, the ship’s now rusted steel skeleton provides a home for all types of marine life and is a fabulous site for experienced divers. CLANSTHAL is a quiet spot located around 40 kilometres from Durban between the towns of Umkomaas and Scottburgh. The secluded beach seldom sees any visitors apart from locals and fishermen. Situated on a cliff overlooking the surfing beach, the distinctive Green Point Lighthouse, which is now a national monument, alerts mariners to the dangers of the famous Aliwal Shoal which lies just five kilometres out to sea.

PARK RYNIE, a little seaside town, lies on the Umdoni Coast. The pleasant swimming beach of Rocky Bay has shark nets as well as tempting tidal pools. Rocky Bay Pier forms part of a seawall where a whaling station was built almost a century ago. Today only remnants of the old station can be seen, although the landing ramp is still used by fishing boats. Park Rynie boasts one of the loveliest caravan parks on the south coast, with most of the sites located on the beach.

SCOTTBURGH was in 1860 the first township to be laid out south of Durban. Originally named Devonport, it got its present name from Natal Colony Governor John Scott. With its good harbour and fertile lands, it soon became a thriving port and the site of vast sugarcane plantations as well as sugar mills. Scottburgh became a municipality in 1964.

Off the coast, the dive spot of Cowrie Reef has interesting ledges and overhangs as well as caves and gullies which are home to triggerfish and other marine creatures, not to mention a number of different species of cowrie shell. Amazing plant and coral life comprises soft coral such as dead-man’s finger, various colours of polyp coral, black coral trees and green fern coral as well as nudibranchs in varied colours and sizes. For deep-sea divers, there’s everything from small reef fish to Zambezi sharks, dolphins and game fish.

Scottburgh lies on the south bank of the Mpambinyoni River about 58 kilometres from Durban. Boasting first-class surf and superior waves, it has an active surfing and body-boarding community. Sandy beaches include the sheltered swimming beach of Scott Bay, which is flanked by attractive grasscovered banks. Other inviting attractions, such as tidal and paddling pools, a supertube and miniature railway, add to the town’s appeal as a holiday resort. Located at the crest of a hill opposite Blamey’s Bay, the Green Point Lighthouse is a national monument that was erected in 1905 to warn passing ships of the perilous Aliwal Shoal, situated roughly five kilometres off the coast. The scenic Scottburgh Golf Course is known for its

PENNINGTON and the pretty seaside villages of Kelso, Sezela and Bazley Beach are known for their quiet beaches, sweeping bays and lovely tidal pools. Pennington has a large community of sport fishermen owing to the barricuda, garrick, salmon and other trophy fish that inhabit these waters. The ‘Couta Classic’ takes place here every year over the Easter weekend, drawing enthusiastic fishermen from far and wide. There’s also good 74


it is regarded as the gateway to the Hibiscus Coast and is an affordable and increasingly popular destination for local as well as international tourists. Boasting a Blue Flag beach, Hibberdene has a total of five recognised beaches – four of which are netted – and present plans include the possibility of establishing a small craft marina here.

bass fishing to be had, as well as rock and surf fishing for shad, rays, grunter, pompano and kingfish. In addition to the beach and surf sports, there are a host of leisure attractions for tourists, from golf to indigenous fauna and flora, and walking as well as horse-riding trails. Golfing at the Umdoni Golf Course and Selborne Park course comes with game and bird watching as well as beautiful views of the sea and indigenous forest. Umdoni Park was established to preserve the indigenous fauna and flora, and the Umdoni Trust was formed in 1920. There are wonderful walking trails in the park as well as the Komba Bird Sanctuary and Nkumbane Dam.

Dive charters are available to the unspoiled offshore reefs, and can be arranged at local dive shops. Rare species which may be seen include the Longnose Hawkfish as well as fern coral and soft coral sponge, not to mention the unusual black coral fans. A wall some seven metres in height comprising beautiful fans and sponges is one of the striking features of the coastal reef. Hibberdene has a ski-boat launch, and offers other beach and surf activities like fishing as well as whale and dolphin viewing. Fun pastimes at the lagoon include paddle-boating, super-tubing, putt-putt and trampolining. In addition to game viewing and bird watching, other diversions include golfing, bird-watching, bowling, tennis and squash.

Those interested in heritage and in search of superior accommodation might like to pay a visit to Botha House, a gracious homestead with rolling lawns, towering Umdoni Dassies - trees Rocky Bay and beautiful sea views. It was originally built in 1920 by General Louis Botha for his wife, Annie, on land found for him by the sugar baron Sir Frank Reynolds. SELBORNE PARK, between Pennington and Bazely, originally a dairy farm in days gone by, is now an exclusive estate with a superb golf course, impressive water features and subtropical forests harbouring abundant birdlife and buck. Recreational attractions such as swimming, tennis, fishing and bird and small-game viewing are also available.

PUMULA (UMZUMBE) is the name frequently given to Umzumbe Beach because of the proximity of the Pumula Hotel, which lies in the dune forest immediately behind this beautiful Blue Flag beach. Situated just south of Hibberdene and about 20 kilometres north of Port Shepstone, Umzumbe’s beach is set amongst lush coastal vegetation, lending the spot a special wild beauty. As a relative newcomer to the Blue Flag programme, it is one of the South Coast’s best kept secrets!

BAZLEY is named after the engineer and Byrne immigrant John Bazley and lies on the Umdoni Coast approximately 70 kilometres south of Durban and a little to the south of Pennington and north of the Fafa River. Surrounded by sugarcane fields, Bazley is a quiet and tranquil spot, only accessible from the main road via the Sezela turn-off. In addition to the beautiful lagoon, there’s a wide expanse of unspoiled shoreline at Ndesingaan Beach for activities such as surfing, swimming or simply lazing about.

A safe and protected bathing beach, lovely tidal pool for swimming, recently upgraded facilities and a full-time lifeguard presence are just a few of the attractions here. However, beach access is quite precipitous, consisting of a steep tarred walkway down from the parking lot. Spearfishing for Garrick and Brusher tales place around the reefs, while crayfish are found among the rocks closer to the river. Other activities include snorkelling, surfing, paddling and sandcastle building. During the main holiday season environmental education programmes are run for children and other beachgoers. The old St Elmo’s Convent is no longer occupied, and while it has fallen into a state of disrepair remains a beautiful building and makes for fascinating photographs.

Situated close to Bazley, the secluded Vernon Crookes Nature Reserve affords sweeping views of the ocean. It is characterised by fine coastal forest and grassland, with about 56 mammal species including impala, blue wildebeest, zebra and oribi. Birdlife comprises an impressive 300 confirmed species, among which there are a number of spectacular raptors. IFAFA’S stretch of coastline was named the ‘place of sparkling waters’ in the Zulu tongue, and beautiful views are still evident over the lagoon where the Fafa River meets the Indian Ocean. Today the seas off Ifafa are predominantly utilised for fishing, and the reef here is rated by spear-fishermen as one of the best in the country for game-fish and shark sighting. Rods as well as boats are available for hire. The beach is also attractive, with wide bays and tidal pools. Teeming with bird-life, the Ifafa lagoon and estuary is a still expanse of water set beneath low cliffs and thick coastal forest, and may be explored with a canoe. Ifafa also contains two well-known lookout points which are a great vantage point for whale and dolphin viewing. Land-based attractions take in 4x4 trails, paragliding and leisurely tours around the area’s thriving plantations, which comprise crops such as bananas, sugarcane, pineapples, macadamia nuts, pecan nuts and eucalyptus, as well extensive fields of Protea, South Africa’s national flower.

MELVILLE BEACH is an appealing spot surrounded by wild banana trees and thick indigenous vegetation that teems with birdlife. This unblemished sandy beach lies between Hibberdene and Port Shepstone, just a short walk from the splendid bathing beach and tidal pools of Banana Beach. Walking, snorkelling and shell-gathering are but a few of the activities that can be enjoyed here. SUNWICH PORT, falls under the greater Port Shepstone area, situated on the southern side of Melville Beach en route to Umtentweni and Port Shepstone. Nestled in a sheltered valley traversed by the Damba River on its way to the sea, it provides safe swimming conditions, with shark nets and lifeguards. SOUTHPORT covers a secluded stretch of beach between Sunwich Port and Sea Park, and has grown substantially since its early beginnings as a simple railway siding. It is approximately eight kilometres away from Port Shepstone and its many shops, restaurants and entertainment options.

MTWALUME is a small village traditionally frequented by holidaymakers and fishermen, and is named after the Mtwalume tree, the bark of which is used for medicinal purposes by local Zulus. Unspoilt beaches, lush tropical foliage and pretty tidal pools that present safe swimming opportunities are the hallmark of Mtwalume, along with the beautiful Mtwalume River lagoon and Mtwalume Falls a little higher up the river. Along with the typical watersports action, fishing and spearfishing is particularly good here, with snoek and Garrick the main catch.

SEA PARK once thrived as a busy farming community, producing the likes of sugarcane, tea and coffee. These days, it is a relaxed beach resort lying between the centres of Southport and Umtentweni.

ELYSIUM is a little village nestling between the beaches of Mtwalume and Ifafa Beach and offering safe swimming, snorkelling and diving, as well as some good fishing. Pristine and peaceful, the beach is strewn with an assortment of beautiful shells and invites a leisurely exploration.

UMTENTWENI is an hour’s drive from Durban and just 2 kilometres from the hub of Port Shepstone. It is situated at the mouth of the Mtentweni River, which takes its name from a species of grass growing along its banks. The town is perfectly placed to take in the seasonal whale, dolphin and sardine runs as well as passing ships. Surfing and fishing are popular, and the swimming beach has lifeguards during the holidays and a paddling pool for children.

HIBBERDENE is a small coastal town nearly 100 kilometres from Durban and midway between Scottburgh and Port Shepstone. Something of a commercial hub for the surrounding region,

OSLO BEACH is situated in close proximity to Port Shepstone. Property in this little village is in great demand by people working in Port Shepstone yet wanting to live in quieter and 75


more scenic area, close to glorious secluded beaches and native mahogany forests. The area’s elevated coastline also means that most homes have spectacular ocean views. Oslo, like the nearby Shelly Beach, has a fine shoreline strewn with a superb variety of shells, the result of the reef just off the coast. Surfing and fishing are other popular attractions.

RAMSGATE is an attractive seaside resort that is somewhat quieter and more easy-going than its bustling neighbour, Margate, situated about four kilometres up the coast. It lies on the mouth of the river known locally as the ‘Bilanhlolo’ (‘marvellous boiler’) as the river’s strong currents result in bubbles, making the water appear to boil.

SHELLY BEACH is named for the remarkable variety of beautiful shells that cover its shoreline. Inviting tidal pools and lagoons, as well as recognised diving and snorkelling sites, beckon tourists from across the globe. Divers will find these fascinating waters teeming with tropical fish, sharks and corals. With the largest ski-boat base between Durban and East London, Shelly Beach is also renowned for its exceptional rock and surf fishing, hosting deep sea angling competitions throughout the year. Amenities include the Shelly Centre Shopping Mall.

Ramsgate enjoys Blue Flag status for a number of reasons: a wide, sandy beach surrounded by natural vegetation, an estuary with pedal boats and other leisure pursuits, nearby restaurants, lifeguards are on duty throughout the year, and interpretive signage and information about local environmental issues. Furthermore, a whale-watching site has been developed opposite the beach. Fishing is good, and the off-shore rocks are covered in mussels. Bird-watching is also rewarding, with a total of 386 species having been recorded – in excess of a third of all bird species recorded in South Africa.

ST MICHAELS-ON-SEA is a pretty town with charming scenery and good beaches. The main swimming beach lies at the mouth of the Umhlangeni River, and attracts swimmers as well as surfers, as substantial swells and large waves create some very good surfing conditions. Other watersports include boardsailing, jet-skiing and boating as well as fishing. St Michaels also possesses a well-appointed nine-hole golf course.

SOUTHBROOM encompasses four kilometres of idyllic Indian Ocean shoreline between the Mbizane and Kaba rivers, marked by pristine beaches, two tidal pools and coastal bush. This green paradise is protected by the Frederika Nature Preserve, Southbroom Golf Club and 350 000 square metres of township land zoned to conservation, There are two recognised swimming beaches, linked by a breathtaking coastal walk over the unspoilt primary dunes.

LUCIEN BEACH is a beautiful Blue Flag beach positioned just across from the popular Margate Beach on the Hibiscus Coast. As reaching the beach requires walking down a number of stairs, Lucien is not as accessible as other nearby beaches – particularly for those with physical disabilities. Beach-side amenities include a tuck-shop and crafts are on sale in the vicinity of the main parking area. It has a sheltered swimming beach, patrolled by lifeguards throughout the year. Environmental education programmes take place during the holidays.

While Southbroom village has tennis and bowls clubs as well as basic shops and grocery stores, more extensive shopping opportunities are available in Ramsgate, Margate and Shelly Beach. The Southbroom Golf Club is distinctly South African, with palm trees and tropical foliage. Frederika Nature Reserve is home to almost eight hectares of dune forests and lush indigenous forests described as ‘extremely fragile’ in view of their complex ecosystem.

UVONGO’S beach is famous for its 23 metre high waterfall, which plunges into one of the deepest lagoons in the country. Pedal boats can be hired here to explore the river which skirts the adjacent Uvongo River Nature Reserve. There are shaded picnic sites on the grassy banks and a children’s paddling pool. Safe swimming and snorkelling, good amenities and glorious views reinforce Uvongo’s reputation as a thriving holiday resort. Uvongo has the largest residential area on the lower South Coast, with much of the property decidedly upmarket. It nevertheless remains quaint and village-like, due in no small part to rigorous building restrictions. The Uvongo Bird Park offers walk-through aviaries where a diversity of vibrant bird life can be found.

This area is also famous for its insightful Banana Tours – a must for adults, kids and school groups alike. MARINA BEACH is situated past Margate, between the holiday resort of San Lameer and the village of Southbroom, a 90-minute drive away from Durban. With a tidal pool, Blue Flag beach and tranquil lagoon at the Mpenjati River mouth, Marina is one of the many naturally unspoilt beaches on the Hibiscus Coast. Lifeguards are in attendance throughout the year and facilities are of a high standard, with easy access for the disabled to the beach as well as the ablution facilities. There is a small restaurant on the beach and abundant parking facilities. Locally made crafts may be bought from traders operating adjacent to the beach. This is also the site of various environmental education projects, and schools in the region as well as the surrounding rural areas are being brought to visit the beach.

MANABA BEACH is where leisure and relaxation is the order of the day at this laid-back beach resort, and it’s no small wonder that the name ‘Manaba’ comes from the Zulu ‘naba’, which means to sit and relax with one’s legs outstretched! Things to do include beach and surf activities such as swimming, fishing, sunbathing, canoeing and windsurfing, but there are also other pursuits available, such as golf and other land activities.

To the south, Mpenjati Nature Reserve, lagoon and the adjacent Trafalgar Marine Reserve offer a quiet respite from beach activities, with interlinking wetlands, grasslands and dune forests, and pleasant picnic sites on the banks of the Mpenjati River. Red, blue and grey duiker may be spotted on the south bank’s Ipithi Trail, while on the northern river bank the Yengele trail winds through some of the coast’s biggest dune forests. The reserve extends about 500 metres out to sea to protect the unique fossils of trees, shells and other marine creatures that are found here.

MARGATE is a bustling resort town about 133 kilometres from Durban. It is renowned as the holiday hub of the Hibiscus Coast, and boasts a collection of the loveliest beaches the South Coast has to offer, including those of Blue Flag status. Washed by the warm waters of the Indian Ocean, the coastline off Margate contains a treasure chest of tropical fish, corals and sponges, as well as game fish and sharks, which gather around diving sites such as Protea Banks. Scuba diving and snorkelling are therefore common pastimes here, with top-class dive sites numbering Deep Salmon, Adda Reef and Potato Reef, among others. In addition to diving, water sports such as canoeing, boardsailing, boating and skiing are popular.

SAN LAMEER is a private golfing estate with direct access onto two of the South Coast’s Blue Flag beaches. Set on a 169-hectare nature conservancy with herds of impala and other wildlife, the estate has 620 privately-owned villas surrounding an 18-hole championship golf course rated among the top 12 courses in South Africa, as well as a four-star hotel situated on the banks of the Umhlangamkulu Lagoon. Amenities include restaurants, convention facilities, two swimming pools and a health spa as well as varied recreational activities such as squash, tennis, cycling, canoeing and paddle-boating, mashie golf and action cricket.

Margate has first-rate amenities, which include good shopping centres, art galleries, craft shops and restaurants, not to mention the liveliest nightlife on the South Coast. Other tourist attractions include the Margate Bird Park which contains diverse bird species and the Margate Country Club which enjoys an excellent golf course with superb greens and a breathtaking outlook just three kilometres from the sea. Particularly notable are the 9th and 18th holes, which are both par fives in the St Andrews tradition.

TRAFALGAR’S beach is relatively well developed despite this seaboard town’s low-key, village atmosphere, and facilities include a parking area as well as lifeguards. Beaches are protected by shark nets and surfers rate the waves highly. 76


range from hour-long walks for beginners to more strenuous six-hour hikes.

Snorkelling is another favourite pastime, and fossil beds dating back close on 90 million years lie just a short distance from the shoreline.

Beaver Creek Coffee Estate is also a must visit in the area. Grown on the world’s most Southern coffee estate in the seaside town of Port Edward, their coffee is on par with the world’s finest. From only 4 trees back in 1984 to more than 60,000 trees now.

Trafalgar forms part of the Trafalgar Marine Reserve stretching for six kilometres along the coast and 500 metres offshore, incorporating the Mpenjati Nature Reserve. There are plans to include this reserve in the proposed Pondoland Marine Protected Area, which will extend from the southern reaches of KwaZulu-Natal into the northern parts of the Eastern Cape.

ORIBI FLATS lies inland from Margate and Shelly Beach near the Oribi Gorge Nature Reserve. Oribi Gorge is one of two gorges which cut through the Oribi Flats, the other gorge to the west is shaped by the Mzimkhulu River. The land here comprises sugarcane plantations as well as indigenous forests and waterfalls, with good game viewing in the adjacent reserve.

PALM BEACH is set alongside coastal forest approximately 12 kilometres north of Port Edward, and takes its name from the indigenous Ilala Palm (hyphaene critina) which grows abundantly in the area. The leaves of the Ilala Palm continue to play an important role in the lives of the surrounding communities, which use them to create woven baskets, mats and even rooftops. Coastal attractions include a natural tidal pool and estuary, offering swimming and windsurfing opportunities and attracting local fishermen. Palm Beach also borders the Mpenjati Nature Reserve to the north, which is discussed in detail under the entry on Marina Beach.

ORIBI GORGE NATURE RESERVE is located some 21 kilometres inland from Port Shepstone in one of KwaZulu-Natal’s most spectacular natural settings. The sandstone cliffs of the gorge, which were formed by river erosion over millions of years, overlook a pristine, deeply forested wilderness area teeming with wildlife. In addition to the oribi from which the gorge gets its name, fauna includes baboons, small buck, various species of kingfisher and eagle, and even the occasional leopard. The ever famous Leopard Rock is situated here as is the Barry Porter Vulture Hide. Accommodation is available in the form of selfcatering chalets and a rustic cottage.

GLENMORE BEACH is set on the lower end of the Hibiscus Coast alongside the adjacent beaches of Palm,Trafalgar and Munster. Bordered by both the Mkhandandlovu and the Itongasi rivers, Glenmore and Munster utilise a common swimming and surfing bay – a long stretch of unspoilt shoreline scattered with rocky outcrops and boulders from which anglers test the rich fishing grounds. A surfer’s paradise, Glenmore presents a particularly scenic picture in the winter months when scores of bottlenose and common dolphin, not to mention southern right and humpback whales, visit these coastal waters

The backdrop for a wide variety of adventure sports, the reserve contains one of the highest natural abseiling sites in the world (110 metres), not to mention the ultimate rush in the world’s highest swing from the top of Lehr’s Waterfall over the plummeting depths of the 165-metre-high gorge. Another slightly more sedate option is the zip-line that spans the gorge. There are also rapids to be challenged in the Umzimkhulu River at the base of the gorge, as well as hiking and climbing trails or even mountain-biking and horse-riding trails. In addition to the Oribi Gorge Nature Reserve, one will also discover the beauty of the Lake Eland Game Reserve.

MUNSTER is situated next to Glenmore Beach and Leisure Bay, a little to the north of Port Edward. It is in walking distance of the adjacent Glenmore Beach, but visitors should bear in mind that Munster’s bathing beach is also known as Glenmore beach! This stretch of seashore is characterised by pristine beaches and towering rocky outcrops which provide good rock-climbing prospects. Munster is protected by shark nets, and the mouth of the Itongasi River is an ideal spot to launch boats.

Paddock, just outside of the Gorge area, boasts a national heritage site – that being the charming Paddock Train Station. THE SOUTH COAST HINTERLAND – FURTHER TOWARDS HARDING AND INGELI

LEISURE BAY is a quaint and sleepy seaside village with lush subtropical vegetation, safe surf, swimming and snorkelling beaches and good rock and surf fishing, lying just south of Munster (Glenmore) Beach. This picturesque spot, which is a little to the north of KwaZulu-Natal’s most southerly town of Port Edward, has a substantial community of artists and crafters.

HARDING Harding is a town situated in the Mzimkulwana River valley, in the Ugu District Municipality of KwaZulu-Natal. It was established as a military outpost following the British annexation of East Griqualand in 1874. Harding was named after Sir Walter Harding (1812-1874) who became the first Chief Justice in Natal 1858.

PORT EDWARD is the southernmost town on the Hibiscus Coast, marking the border between KwaZulu-Natal and the Eastern Cape. One of the area’s larger centres, Port Edward became a village in 1947 and was named in honour of the Prince of Wales, later to be crowned King Edward VII. The Port Edward Country Club has a challenging nine-hole golf course with some interesting water features and scenic coastal and inland vistas.

Timber and dairy farming are the main economic activities. The now abandoned 122 kilometres narrow gauge Alfred County Railway used to serve the farming areas, linking Harding with Port Shepstone. Harding lies at the foot of the Ingeli Range, 34 km northwest of Izingolweni and 84 km north-west of Port Shepstone.

Port Edward has sandy shark-protected beaches of which Silver Beach is the most popular. Ski boat launches take place from the main beach. The beachfront boasts one of the country’s most impressive supertubes. Port Edward is also a top fishing spot, with surf, gullies, rocks, the river and lagoon all providing excellent opportunities. It is also the location of the region’s earliest known shipwreck. The Portuguese ship San Joao (St John) went down off the Port Edward coast in 1552 and today provides another interesting site for scuba divers to explore.

The Ingeli Mountain Range is surrounded by the majestic indigenous Weza forest, and is an idyllic experience proudly referred to as Ingeli. Here is an area which inspires bursts of energy to get out and enjoy every moment of beautiful sunlight! It is a tranquil and sympathetic space which manages to blend a sense of country living with quality accommodation.Ingeli forms a portion of the UGU district, and is part of the Umuziwabantu Municipality. Umuziwabantu is one of the six municipalities in the UGU district with the largest chunk of it consisting of forestry and agriculture. It is an amalgamation of the town of Harding, six traditional areas and the Weza State Forest and private farms.

Heritage sites include Tragedy Hill overlooking Silver Beach. It gets its name from the massacre that took place here in 1831 when, following a misunderstanding over stolen cattle, the family and followers of early settler Henry Fynn were killed by Zulu warriors. On learning of this unnecessary tragedy, the Zulu King ordered the execution of the man who had started the rumour.

There are some exceptional outdoor activities and events in the area including the Ingeli Forest Skyrun and some of the best mountain biking & trail running trails through forest, natural bush and mountains.

THE UMTAMVUMA NATURE RESERVE is a luxuriant, canopied forest lying just inland of Port Edward. It is a breeding ground for Cape vultures, which build their nests in the cliffs bordering the river. The reserve is also home to baboons, samango monkeys, blue duiker, bushbuck, jackal and leopard. Trails over sandstone koppies and through rainforest, gorges, streams and waterfalls

The KZN South Coast is home to some extraordinary events, bringing folks from all over the world to participate on an annual basis. These include Africa Bike Week, the Ugu Jazz Festival, the seasonal beach events, the Africa Marine week and the Sardine Festival to name a few. 77


San Lameer

78


accommodation BILL’S PLACE HIBBERDENE The units in Bill’s Place are upmarket, self-catering, serviced and affordable. We offer 3 bedroomed, 6 sleeper units. The upper level units have distant views of the spectacular beach. We are within walking distance of shops, restaurants, supermarkets, the Blue Flag beach, great fishing spots and the tidal pool. Just to name a few of the highlights: The Jolly Roger, Wildcoast Sun, Oribi Gorge, Croc World and many more. Cell: 083 792 6663 • Tel/Fax: 032 945 1848 E-mail: jetaime.cn@live.com

MY DEN BEACHFRONT B&B with SC My Den, situated just outside Port Shepstone, is ideally placed to offer affordable, quality accommodation to holiday and corporate guests who enjoy privacy and relaxation. Various restaurants and shops are situated nearby for your convenience. Visit any of the nearby bowling clubs and golf courses, or use us as the base for your business requirements. My Den offers guest rooms and self-catering suites, all fully air-conditioned with an en-suite bathroom and some with their own spa bath. Take in the breath-taking ocean views, stroll on the unspoilt beach or relax in our pool and garden. Tel/Fax +27 39 682 6096 • Cell +27 83 679 3689 3b North Road, Oslo Beach, Port Shepstone myden@telkomsa.net • www.myden.co.za

Situated in Southbroom, a quaint village within a conservancy, on the south coast of KwaZulu-Natal. We pride ourselves in offering well maintained self-catering accommodation of 2 & 3 bedroom houses with both bath and shower, lounge, diningroom and decks with Weber braai/barbeques and Kiaat outdoor furniture. 2 swimming pools, fire-pit with seating and jungle gym. Award-winning garden with indigenous and exotic plants. Tel: 076 386 8509 Email: cliviaselfcatering@gmail.com Website: www.cliviaselfcatering.co.za Facebook: facebook.com/southbroom 79


A LEGEND IS REBORN • 24 Hour Reception • Lighthouse Restaurant • Bar • Conference Facilities • Wedding Venue • Games Room • Babysitting Services • Children’s Play Room • Private Walkway to the Beach Tel +27 39 978 3361 180 Scott St, Scottburgh info@bluemarlin.co.za • www.bluemarlinhotel.co.za

80


ROYSTON HALL

WILD WAVES - SHELLY BEACH

ROMANTIC EXCLUSIVITY FOR COUPLES Historical Victorian Manor House circa 1897. B&B specials available in 4 double rooms. Private nature reserve with forest walks along the river front. Beaches, Restaurants & all amenities nearby. Intimate Weddings / Private Dinner Parties / Conferencing. Tel +27 39 695 0083 • Cell +27 82 784 5851 E-mail: info@roystonhall.co.za • Website: www.roystonhall.co.za

Beachfront complex. Luxurious selfcatering accommodation. Fully equipped two bedroom units. Safe parking, swimming pool, braai facilities. 2kms to shopping mall. Affordable rates. Tel +27 39 315 7334 E-mail: wildwaves@telkomsa.net Website: www.wildwaves.co.za

THE HOMESTEAD GUEST HOUSE An exclusive, modern guesthouse in Margate with 19 spacious rooms, some en-suite rooms equipped with a spa-bath. Magnificent views from the huge balconies. Full breakfasts overlooking the ocean. Secure parking on the premises. Walking distance from the beaches and Margate central. Well trained staff will ensure that you will have an unforgettable holiday. Tel +27 87 150 1517 Belinda: +27 83 260 9082 E-mail: admin@homesteadmargate.co.za Francois: +27 83 794 9924 E-mail: info@homesteadmargate.co.za Website: www.homesteadmargate.co.za

filler +27 39 695 0852 reservations@umthunzi.co.za • www.umthunzi.co.za

attractions, travel, tours & safaris

81


82


& Beyond

Book online at www.royaljoziniaccommodation.co.za or email bookings@royaljoziniaccommodation.co.za Nestled against the Lebombo Mountains in southern Swaziland, lies one of southern Africa’s best kept secrets - Royal Jozini Big 6 where travellers can book a selfcatering private bush lodge home to enjoy this natural paradise for game viewing, bird watching, tiger fishing – or just to relax and unwind. Lodges can sleep up to 8 people so why not gather some friends and visit us.

Declared a Transfrontier Park and with five eco systems in the reserve, guests are welcome to bring their own boat to launch on Lake Jozini – or book a charter for tiger fishing, boat based game viewing or just to enjoy a sundowner cruise. Breathtaking scenery, amazing bird life and great rates. Call Lynda 082 550 4614 for more information.

83


filler

84


bookings@afriski.net 0861 237 4754 • 087 230 8408 www.afriski.net Afriski is surrounded by the spectacular Maluti Mountains and is the only ski resort in Lesotho. It sits at 3 100m above sea level. The winter months of June to early September are ideal for a skiing holiday, with snowfalls being seen as early as April and as late as November. Natural snowfall is supplemented by a snowmaking system of international standards. The slopes are serviced by a Doppelmayr T-bar lift, two Sunkids lifts, a rope tow and a magic carpet for the Pudi Club kids. There is a combined skiable length of 1,5km catering for every level of skiing. Afriski offers a range of accommodation for all budgets - from the mountain chalets, lodges and apartments, through to the backpackers. There are self-catering options, or one can dine amongst stars in Africa’s highest restaurant.

lesotho Lesotho offers natural beauty, rugged terrain, and rich local culture and traditions and a scarcity of civilization’s trappings, such as landlords and fences, provides a permit-free playground for the more intrepid adventurers.

Boating excursions on dams, canoeing and other waterrelated recreational activities • High altitude sports training facilities The LTDC provides professional services to investors both before and after investment, assists the foreign investor to obtain clearances (residence permits, work permits, licences etc) and provides investment advice.

With all its land lying at altitudes in excess of 1500m above sealevel; Lesotho is a land of heights and extremes. Lesotho offers breathtaking mountain vistas and adventure activities such as skiing, pony trekking, hiking and abseiling for the intrepid traveller. More leisurely pursuits for those seeking a relaxing and revitalising break include birdwatching, boating and fishing.

Lesotho is situated centrally within Southern Africa and with good access to some of the fastest growing industrial and economic areas in the region such as Johannesburg, Pretoria and Bloemfontein in neighbouring South Africa. This, combined with the efforts of the Government of Lesotho to create a good enabling environment for business, make the country an attractive destination for foreign investment.

Accommodation can be found in all the regions of Lesotho, some calmly situated on river banks, some on mountain sides, and some at the highest altitude in Southern Africa. A visitor to Lesotho can choose to stay in a bed and breakfast or hotel in a town or the capital, Maseru, or choose to be spoiled by nature and find chalet or self-catering accommodation deep in the highlands of Lesotho, totally surrounded by beautiful mountains and a peaceful environment.

Lesotho (pronounced li-soo-too), is officially the Kingdom of Lesotho,(formerly Basutoland). It was constituted as a native state under British protection by a treaty signed with the native chief Moshoeshoe in 1843. It was annexed to Cape Colony in 1871, but in 1884 it was restored to direct control by the Crown. The colony of Basutoland became the independent nation of Lesotho on Oct. 4, 1966, with King Moshoeshoe II as sovereign.

Lesotho’s history can be explored at leisure with visits to San rock art, dinosaur footprints and cultural villages where the rich local culture of the Basotho people can be experienced. Lesotho is a democratic, sovereign and independent country which has the unusual distinction of being completely surrounded by another country. Lesotho’s strength as an investment destination lies in her investment security, incentives, scenic beauty and rich cultural traditions.

Lesotho is a land locked country (being completely surrounded by South Africa) and is commonly known as the Kingdom in the Sky because of its mountainous terrain and height above sea level - Lesotho has the highest “low point” of any country in the world. The country itself is about the size of Belgium and has a population of around 1.8 million people.

A variety of unique investment opportunities are available in Lesotho and a range of useful services are offered by the LTDC to potential investors wishing to set up tourism enterprises in Lesotho.

Lesotho’s capital city is called Maseru, it is located on its Western border with South Africa. It is also the only country in Africa where people live above the snow line.

Investment opportunities include: • Accommodation facilities and resort developments • Tour operating and tour guiding

Lesotho is also famous for suffering the largest number of lightening strikes in the world! 85


The Basotho people (the local inhabitants of Lesotho) are renowned for their crafts, and their traditional products have a reputation for quality, individuality and variety. For many years ponies were their only means of transport through the mountainous terrain, resulting in a strong tradition of horseriding and breeding.

There is a cultural centre and a small shop selling local crafts. Day walks are possible and with notice you can arrange guided hikes and and pony treks. Accommodation is available in simple, but comfortable, stone, four-person rondavels with kitchen facilities and sweeping views. It is also possible to camp in the cave – a novel and atmospheric experience. Either way, you’ll need to bring your own food.

The traditional Basotho Hat, or mokorotlo, is the best known of a fine range of grass-works made in Lesotho. It’s conical shape is seen everywhere in the kingdom, and is the recognized symbol of the country. The hat’s shape is believed to have been inspired by the Qiloane mountain near the mountain fortress of Moshoeshoe I - Thaba-Bosiu.

Masitise Cave House Museum: Five kilometres west of Quthing is this intriguing section of an old mission, built directly into a San rock shelter in 1866 by Reverend David-Frédéric Ellenberger, a Swiss missionary who was among the first to Lesotho. There’s a cast of a dinosaur footprint in the ceiling, a museum with displays on local culture and history, and San paintings nearby.

Bokong Nature Reserve Bokong has perhaps the most dramatic setting of the three Lesotho Northern Parks reserves, with stunning vistas over the Lepaqoa Valley from the visitors centre, various short walks and a good, rugged two- to three-day hike to Ts’ehlanyane National Park. Bearded vultures, rock shelters and valleyhead fens (wetland areas) are features here.

To get here, take the signposted turn-off near the Masitise Primary School and follow the road about 1km back past the small red church. At the neighbouring house you can ask for the key from the caretaker, the church pastor. From here, the museum is five minutes further on foot. Thaba-Bosiu is the evocative mountain stronghold of Moshoeshoe the Great, who first occupied the place in 1824. Good views from here include those of the Qiloane pinnacle (inspiration for the Basotho hat), along with the remains of fortifications, Moshoeshoe’s grave, and parts of the original settlement.

You can gush about the impressive waterfall, near both the visitors centre and where you can camp. You can also stay overnight in a very basic, four-person hut – bring your own food, sleeping bag, mattress and stove. Guides are available, and pony trekking can be arranged. The reserve sits at just over 3000m and gets cold at night, so come prepared. Bookings must be made through Lesotho Northern Parks.

Thaba-Bosiu means Mountain at Night, perhaps a memory of when the sight was first occupied. Another legend suggests that Thaba-Bosiu is a hill in daylight, but transformed into a mountain after dark. There’s an information centre at the base of Thaba-Bosiu; an official guide will take you to the summit.

Bokong lies roughly midway between Katse and Leribe at the top of Mafika-Lisiu Pass (3090m). Minibus taxis from Leribe will drop you at the visitors centre (M32, 1½ hours); when leaving, you may need to wait a while before one with space passes by.

Ha Kome Cave Houses are an anomaly in this area, 21km from Teyateyaneng and several kilometres from the village of Mateka. These extraordinary inhabited mud dwellings are nestled under a rock overhang, hidden within the pink-andorange cliffs. There’s a small information centre with toilets and a few basic maps. In a 2WD, you should be able reach the caves from TY or from Maseru or Thaba-Bosiu via Sefikeng, but do check on road conditions. Shared taxis go there from TY and Maseru. A music and beer festival takes place here in November.

LESOTHO ATTRACTIONS Ts’ehlanyane National Park: This Lesotho Northern Parks– administered national park protects a beautiful, 5600-hectare patch of rugged wilderness, including one of Lesotho’s only stands of indigenous forest, at a high altitude of 2000m to 3000m. This underrated and underused place is about as far away from it all as you can get and is perfect for hiking.

Royal Archives & Museum: Morija’s unremarkable neighbouring village, Matsieng, is the unlikely site of a royal compound. A new palace was built in Maseru in the ‘60s, but the royals still weekend here. The adjoining archives and small museum display items from the royal collection and information and documents about the monarchy.

In addition to day walks, there’s a 39km day hike or pony trek to/ from Bokong Nature Reserve, covering some of Lesotho’s most dramatic terrain. Heading north from Bokong to Ts’ehlanyane is easier, as Bokong is higher; the challenging route is also better tackled by pony or horse. Hiking guides can be arranged at Ts’ehlanyane gate (M30 within the park, M400 to Bokong) or Maliba Mountain Lodge.

Staff can give you a tour (M40) of the village and point out notable elements of the compound.

Community-run pony trekking and horse riding can be arranged through Maliba or the park gate. Book at least 24 hours ahead.

Tsikoane Village Dinosaur Footprints: This set of footprints is a few kilometres south of Leribe at Tsikoane village. Immediately after the Tsikoane Primary School, take the small dirt road to the right towards some rocky outcrops. Follow it up to the church. Children will vie to lead you the 1km slog up the mountainside to the minwane, in a series of caves, and a guide can be helpful here. The prints are clearly visible on the rock ceiling.

Maliba also offers community-run tours of the villages bordering Ts’ehlanyane. Sehlabathebe National Park: Lesotho’s most under-visited national park is remote, rugged and beautiful. The rolling grasslands, wildflowers and silence provide complete isolation, with only the prolific bird life (including the bearded vulture) and the odd rhebok for company. Hiking (and horse riding from Sani Top or the Drakensbergs) is the main way to explore, and angling is possible in the dams and rivers.

Dinosaur Footprints: One of Quthing’s main claims to fame is the proliferation of dinosaur footprints in the surrounding area. The most easily accessible are signposted on the left as you leave town heading northeast towards Qacha’s Nek. In this building are 230-million-year-old footprints and a craft shop. Children will offer to guide you to more footprints for a small tip.

Come well prepared for the changing elements: this is a summer-rainfall area, and thick mist, potentially hazardous to hikers, is common. The winters are clear, but it gets cold at night, with occasional light snowfalls.

Malealea: Set in truly stunning scenery, the village of Malealea, with its mountains, valleys and ancient San paintings hidden in rock shelters, is one of the gems of Lesotho. The best way to experience the spectacular landscape is to take a pony trek or wander on foot through the hills and villages. Malealea is appropriately advertised as ‘Lesotho in a nutshell’.

Sehlabathebe is under the jurisdiction of the Ministry of Tourism, Environment and Culture. Liphofung Cave Cultural & Historical Site: Just beyond the village of Muela is the signposted turn-off for this small Lesotho Northern Parks–administered site, which includes a cave with some San paintings and Stone Age artefacts. King Moshoeshoe the Great is rumoured to have stopped here on his travels around Lesotho.

Mohale Dam: Built across the Senqunyane River, the impressive 145m-high, rock-fill Mohale Dam was completed in 2004 as the second phase of the Lesotho Highlands Water Project. There are 86


commanding views of the lake and massive mountains beyond. You can drive as far as the Mohale Tunnel through which water can flow for 32km between Mohale and Katse Dams.

deck. Look for the bright blue roof a few kilometres east of Katse village. Guided tours of the dam wall (M10, one hour) depart at 9am and 2pm (weekdays) and 9am and 11am (weekends).

Morija Museum & Archives: This small, considered museum contains ethnographical exhibits, archives from the early mission and scientific artefacts.

Lesotho Mountain Craft Gallery and Cafe, Teyateyaneng: Lesotho Mountain Craft Gallery is Lesotho’s premier craft gallery exhibiting the work of 15 companies from across the lowlands. During a visit to the gallery you will find a wide range of leather and sheepskin, wool and mohair and cow horn products together with jewellery, accessories and home decor items.

There’s an excellent collection of books for sale, including those by curator Stephen Gill. Staff will guide you to dinosaur footprints (M50 per person) in the nearby Makhoarane Mountains, a 1½-hour return walk.

Drawing on traditional and local raw materials the Lesotho Mountain Craft companies produce a beautiful range of contemporary, high quality crafts.They also sell Basotho literature and can tell you about many of the cultural and historical points of interest. You will be able to enjoy spinning and weaving demonstrations when you visit and longer courses can be arranged by prior booking.

Katse Botanical Garden: Katse Botanical Garden was originally established to protect the spiral aloes displaced from the dam’s construction. It has flourished to include gravel, hillside trails passing via a rock garden, indigenous flowers, a medicinal section and a dam viewpoint. A plant-propagation project takes place in the greenhouse.

The cafe boasts beautiful views and you can enjoy their wide range of speciality teas and plunger coffee together with a selection of light meals and snacks.

Katse Dam Visitors Centre: On the main road is Katse Dam’s visitors centre, with information, displays and a dam-viewing

accommodation Located only 15 kilometres from the centre of Maseru, Botleng Guesthouse is a family-owned establishment offering quality service in a tranquil environment. Boasting clean and modern facilities, the guesthouse allows one to ease into the slow and relaxed pace that characterises life in Lesotho. Tel: +266 62004000 • Tel: +266 58864488 Ha Makhoathi, Maseru • info@botleng.co.ls • www.botleng.co.ls GPS: S29 21.313 E 027 35.480

KAPITSENG GUEST HOUSE

MOLENGOANE LODGE

SEILATSATSI B&B

20 double rooms, conference hall and well stocked bar adjacent to main dining room. We specialize in catering for both business and social events and live up to our promise of mouth watering Basotho Food. 35 kilometers from Maseru.

Rondavels, single, double, triple, quadruple and executive rooms all en-suite with DStv. Flexible packages for leisure or conferences. Camping space. Breakfast, lunch and dinner ranging from traditional dishes to an á-la carte menu.

Seilatsatsi B&B is a warm and hospitable home with affordable rates. The lovely B&B and peaceful garden provide a tranquil haven to the tourist visiting Maseru or to the business person.

Tel +266 225 01638/ 285 01638 E-mail: kapitsenggh@gmail.com Website: www.molengoane-kapitseng.co.ls

Tel +266 223 47766 E-mail: molengoanel@gmail.com Website: www.molengoane-kapitseng.co.ls

Tel +266 283 32317 • +266 223 32317 Cell +266 623 32317 info@seilatsatsi.com • www.seilatsatsi.com GPS Co-ordinates: S29 17 907 EO27 31 258

info@malealealodge.com www.malealea.com Tel +27 82 552 4215

Voted one of the top 10 best value destinations in the world by Lonely Planet, Malealea Lodge is a century-old trading post transformed into a well-run lodge with pony treks, biking trails and good meals. Enquire about our unique Lesotho Weddings. Basotho music band using their homemade instruments entertain guests around a campfire. There is children’s play area with jungle gym and trampoline, swimming pool, tennis court, games room, coffee shop, bar with DSTV and a small curio shop. Children can also go on pony rides. Explore the area around Malealea on day outings and overnight treks. We can arrange companions to accompany you on your trip. They will introduce you to local chiefs and help to locate camping sites and ensure your safety. Venture into the mountains on various mountain biking trails to suit all levels of abilities. Accommodation is provided in huts hired from the Basotho people in remote areas. No riding experience is necessary for overnight treks. Basotho Guides and a packhorse accompany the treks.

87


cuisine RENAISSANCE COFFEE SHOP

• Fully equipped accommodation with comfortable and lavish rooms. • Our stunning restaurant boasts delicious home-cooked meals. • Conference hall accommodating up to 40 people. • We host small, private weddings, dinners and other parties • Private bar • Internet facilities

Renaissance, a great place to meet for delicious food, beverages and desserts! Located at Pioneer Mall and Maseru Mall In a hurry, place your order by phone… Pioneer Mall +266 22 32 7001 Maseru Mall +266 22 32 0292

Tribute Guest House is within close proximity to some major attractions in Lesotho Tel 00266 22 325356 • 00266 50 172055 • Fax 00266 22 325355 info@tributelesotho.com • www.tributelesotho.com Cnr Kingsway & Kofi Annan Streets | Florida | Maseru | Lesotho

arts, crafts & heritage Lesotho Mountain Craft Gallery is situated on the quiet sandstone mountainside of Teyateyaneng, Lesotho. The gallery is home to Hatooa Mose Mosali Weavers who opened the gallery on behalf of the Lesotho Mountain Craft (LMC) co-operative in 2013. The gallery showcases crafts created by the 12 member companies who collectively market themselves under the umbrella of Lesotho Mountain Crafts. The gallery is open 7 days a week from 9am to 5pm and serves a wide range of speciality teas, fresh filter coffee and light meals. When you’ve finished shopping and watched the demonstrations relax on the balcony of the gallery overlooking the mountains with herd boys and goats meandering alongside the hill tops. Lesotho Mountain Crafts can arrange group demonstrations and courses upon request in a wide range of craft skills. Action Lesotho, an Irish NGO working in Lesotho since 2006, facilitate the development of the Lesotho Mountain Craft group and their gallery is supported by Irish Aid and Citywire London. We work in collaboration with the Ministry of Tourism, Environment and Culture and Basotho Enterprise Development Corporation (BEDCO) to support the development of the craft sector in Lesotho for economic growth. Pippa Kearon: In-country Director Action Lesotho Tel: 0027 83 255 3626 • E-mail: actionlesothopippa@gmail.com Website: www.actionlesotho.ie • Facebook: Action Lesotho Matanki Lintsi: Gallery Manager • Tel: 00266 58 55 9916 Dominic Matooane: Craft Sector Development Officer Tel: 00266 58 99 7425 • E-mail: actionlesothodominic@gmail.com

88


Welcome to the city of uMhlathuze, your next investment and tourism destination Enquiries: 035 907 5018 • 035 907 5630 E-mail: tourism@umhlathuze.gov.za

Hon. Mayor Cllr MG Mhlongo

THE BEST OF KZN & BEYOND - 2016/2017  
THE BEST OF KZN & BEYOND - 2016/2017  

• Attractions • Distance Tables • Maps • Useful Information

Advertisement