Hluhluwe is considered to be the hub of tourism in KwaZulu-Natal. This charming town on the banks of the Hluhluwe River has tourism as its principal industry, as it acts as a perfect base for visitors to the Hluhluwe-Imfolozi Game Reserve and iSimangaliso / St Lucia Wetlands area.
The town is named after the thorny rope climber (Dalbergia Armata) which is found among the forest vegetation types in Hluhluwe Game Reserve. The Zulu name for this plant is umHluhluwe.
The intensive farming of timber, sugar and pineapples in the area has the town as its centre. Hluhluwe produces over 90% of South Africa's queen pineapples. Other agricultural crops include sugar cane, sisal, cotton, tomatoes and chillies.
HLUHLUWE / iMFOLOZI GAME RESERVE
Formely separate, the combined size of the two reserves is now over 90 000ha, and it was here that the white rhino was saved from extinction by the Kwazulu-Natal Nature Conservation Service.
The Hluhluwe - Imfolozi Game Park is acclaimed internationally for its conservation efforts. Besides the Big Five (rhino, elephant, leopard, lion and buffalo), there is an astonishing variety of wildlife to ensure a fascinating encounter for the visitor.
The park is also home to the largest population of the southern white rhino largely due to the successful conservation drive which ensured that extinction was averted.
Criss-crossing the park are many small rivers and streams which are tributaries of the Hluhluwe and the Black and White Imfolozi. Weekend wilderness trails are popular where up to 12 people are accompanied by an experienced ranger. Hikes are approximately 12 to 15kms each day exploring different aspects of bush life.
There are more than 300 species of birds to be found here, fish eagle, kingfishers, herons, ox-pecker and vultures to name but a few.
The town of Mtubatuba was named after the old Zulu Chief Mtubatuba.
He was an extremely wealthy chief, owning many thousands of cattle, who he inherited from his father chief Somkele.
During the reign of Chaka, many harassed tribesmen with their cattle sought refuge with Chief Somkele. When the trouble was over they would return home, but not before paying many cattle to Somkele for his protection. In this way Somkele built up a vast herd of cattle, which he left to his son.
Chief Mtubatuba drove around for years in a wagon drawn by a donkey, until 1939 when he purchased his first vehicle, a Pontiac. He had a remarkable memory in spite of his age and knowing every one of his cattle was immediately aware when one went missing.
The old chief died at the age of 100 in 1955 and was buried at his kraal.
Mtubatuba is located roughly 25kms away from St Lucia and offers the visitor restaurants and sporting facilities as well as various accommodation establishments.
Mtubatuba has developed from a humble railway siding into a strong sub-regional commercial, service, transport & administrative centre for the entire North Eastern Zululand region.
Established half a century ago, this Zululand village offers country living at its best.
In the aftermath of the Second World War, the government granted farms south of the present main road between Mtubatuba and St Lucia to an adventurous group of 30 ex-servicemen and on 14 June 1949 it was decided to name the area Monzi, after the stream that crosses the 4th hole of the golf course and from then on the settlers started building up their community.
The Futululu Tennis Club, named after the nearby Mfutululu forest, was established in August 1950 and in Novemeber of the same year, the Women's Institute started operating. A memorial hall was built in January 1952 and was converted into a farm school and the 9 hole golf course was officially opened in April 1954.
Monzi is a calm haven from the hustle and bustle of the modern world and welcomes all visitors with old-world charm.