In Jozini, the Big 5 abounds :
African Elephant, Cape Buffalo, Leopard, Lion and Rhino
Situated in the North-Eastern part of KwaZulu Natal in South Africa at the border of Swaziland and Mozambique. Jozini area boasts of an exciting variety of attractions from renowned wildlife experiences, adventure activities and Zulu cultural offerings.
Natural beauty abounds from the soaring Lebombo cliffs, the large expanse of Lake Jozini to the nature reserves and the Usuthu Gorge where the three countries of Swaziland, Mozambique and South Africa meet.
Wildlife, including The Big 5 abounds in private reserves. With over 420 bird species these are also world renowned birding areas.
Activities in Nature
Those who wanted adventurous activities will enjoy many offerings including a variety of hikes up Ghost Mountain, the Hlathikhulu Forest or game walks in the reserves.
Walk over the swinging bridge on the Fig Forest walk in Mkhuze Game Reserve while you search for the rare Pels Fishing Owl. Tiger fishing and boat cruises are also offered.
Things to do in Jozini
Border Cave is an extremely rich archaeological site which has provided shelter to humans for over 200.000 years. Today the Jozini area is populated mainly by Zulu, Swazi and Thonga speaking people and a variety of cultural excursions are offered.
Further historically significant sites include King Dingaan’s Grave and the battle ground of the1884 battle of Tshaneni (Ghost Mountain).
Jozini offers a variety of accommodations to suit various tastes and budgets. From award-winning 5star lodges and 4 star hotels to comfortable bed & breakfasts, lodges and tented camps in the bush.
There are many dining options for visitors including local specialities and fine dining or for those who prefer many accommodation facilities offer self-catering options. Some of the hotels in the area also offer pampering spas where guests can unwind and enjoy the many health and beauty treatments.
History & Location
The Jozini Dam (previously called the Pongolapoort Dam) is built on the Pongola River was completed in 1974 and covers an area of 17 000 hectares when the dam levels are at 100%. The dam wall is 70m high is build across the Pongola River gorge at the town of Jozini. The dam was originally build to supply water to local farmers on the Makatini flats for the cultivation of crops such as sugar cane, maize and cotton.
Jozini Dam is situated in a beautiful part of northern KZN on the western side of the Lebombo mountain range in an area characterized by bushveld, wildlife and subtropical weather. The Jozini Dam is surrounded by private and provincial game reserves which have healthy populations of animals and birds.
A Protected Breeding Area
Jozini is now a protected breeding area for a host of water birds, mammals and fish such as the Tiger Fish. The Pongolapoort gorge is magnificent and worth a visit by boat to explore the inlets and cliffs. There are 27 species of fish in the Jozini Dam, the most prevalent being the tiger fish, Tilapia (kurper), barbel, yellowfish and carp.
The Jozini Dam is at the most southern range of the African Tiger Fish, and with so much space, food and warm water, the tiger fish populations have grown to the point where Jozini is now one of the most popular fishing destinations in South Africa, with catches of tiger fish comparable to places like the Okavango Delta and the Zambezi River, just so much closer by and very easy to get to with any vehicle.
The Annual Cycle at the Jozini Dam
There is an interesting annual cycle at Jozini which influences the fishing greatly. In the summer, the Pongola River flows strongly, fed by rain falling on the eastern escarpment and the Highveld. Jozini Slowly fills up until October, when 15 – 20 percent of the water in the dam is released to flood the floodplains in the Makatini flats where local people rely upon the annual flood to fill the pans with water and fish and to irrigate their subsistence gardens and small farms. In some areas on the western shore, the dam water can recede by 300m and more.
From the end of October, the summer rains bring water down the Pongola River and the Jozini Dam fills up slowly, usually reaching levels of 100% by the end of February. All the vegetation which grows on the banks during the period where the dam levels are low is covered with water, feeding the dam and offering structure for small fish to hide, and also attracting tiger fish. The aquatic weeds begin to grow again and by the beginning of march, flooding weed beds appear in all the shallow areas of Jozini. From November to April the water is often dirty, especially in the north of the Jozini dam where the Pongola river flows into Jozini.
During the summer, the cleanest water can be found in the south of Jozini and in the gorge. When the summer rains end, the water slowly gets cleaner, so clean that you can often see the bottom 5 meters down.
During the winter, the aquatic plants can grow fast in the clean water, forming weed bed which are used by water birds, and tilapia, eaten by hippo and are favourite areas for fishermen hunting for tiger fish.
Getting to Jozini
Jozini is situated 500km East of Johannesburg and 300km North of Durban, 400km S outh from Crocodile Bridge gate in the Kruger Park and on the border with Swaziland and Mozambique. The area is easily accessed via the N2 Freeway. Air travellers may either fly to King Shaka International Airport (250km) or Richards Bay airport (150km). Alternatively charter flights are available to Mkuze Airport.