Impendle is located outside the primary and secondary movement systems of the uMgungundlovu District, and is some distance away from the major tourist and trade routes, although two important roads mark its borders. The road linking Pietermaritzburg and Underberg, which serves as an important access route to the Southern Drakensberg, a popular tourist destination, runs along Impendle southern boundary. The link road between MooiRiver and Underberg, which is an alternative tourist route, travels along the Municipality's north-western boundary.
Situation Impendle area is extremely diverse in its topography, climate and soils, and has a rich and complex natural environment. Its location at the foot of the Drakensberg makes Impendle a highland area, and an important source of water within the KwaZulu-NatalProvince. It is in the catchment area of the MkhomaziRiver in the south and the MngeniRiver in the north-east.
High-density settlements occur around ImpendleTown, in villages such as Gomane, KwaNovuka, Similobha and Kamensi. A second layer of relatively dense settlements occurs on the eastern side of ImpendleMountain, while density decreases sharply towards the west, with a ribbon of small villages running along the LotheniRiver.
The most urgent requirements for service delivery in the Municipality are to clear the major infrastructural backlogs in the supply of water and electricity to the inhabitants, and to build and maintain roads. The densely populated areas are better developed than their counterparts in the sparsely populated areas.
Economy The landscapes and vistas of rolling hills that can be seen from the Drakensberg Mountains, and the nature conservation areas, both declared and undeclared, make Impendle a prime candidate for tourism development. Also, its relatively high rainfall and good soil make it an area with high agricultural potential.
Currently, the major economic activity in the Municipality is forestry and agriculture. From the mid 19th century farmers settled here to breed livestock for meat and dairy products. The lower slopes and flats adjacent to the UmkomaziRiver were used to grow mielies and other crops and vegetables.
Unlike most small towns in KwaZulu-Natal, which developed as service centres for the farming community, ImpendleTown developed around the magistrates court serving Impendle magisterial district. The town has a police station, a post office, and the offices of the magistrate and ImpendleLocalMunicipality. As a commercial centre, it is poorly developed.
Tourism The area offers a number of different types of accommodation from B and B's to the upmarket Calderwood Hall (http://www.calderwood.co.za/). The most popular activities are birding, camping and picnicking. Mountain Biking, fishing and hiking are also available.
The Impendle Nature Reserve, near Boston in the Natal Midlands consists predominantly of mid-altitude grasslands is infrequently visited and a relatively unexplored reserve with much potential. Some rocky outcrops are present within the grasslands and a large mist belt forest is situated at the far reaches of the reserve overlooking the Umkomazi Valley. Numerous species of lilies, irises and orchids can be seen on the rocky hills and grasslands, as well as along the stream banks.
The reserve has some incredible birding potential. Approximately 60-70 species can be recorded on a day spent exploring this scenic reserve such Redwing Francolin, Stanley's Bustard, Ground Woodpecker, Cape Rock thrush and Buff streaked Chat. Impendle is one of the few remaining breeding areas in KwaZulu-Natal of the rare blue swallow.
The reserve is controlled by Ezemvelo KZN Wildlife, and although not open to the general public, permission can be obtained to visit the reserve by phoning the officer in charge on 033-9969613. No accommodation is available.
Boston in October witnesses the annual Bass Fishing Competition.
St Michaels Church is built alongside the main road to Bulwer and Impendle in 1882 with local handmade bricks.
Tourism to the area needs to be marketed and developed more effectively.
By the year 2017, the Impendle Municipality would have provided the majority of the people and households in Impendle with sustainable access to their social and economic development needs and basic services in a fully integrated manner and within a safe and healthy environment.
Through the Integrated Development Plan and the Batho Pele principles, Impendle Municipality will strive for the realisation of the council vision.
Municipal Demarcation Board Code: KZN224 Location of Head Office: Impendle is 76 km west of Pietermaritzburg Impendle Municipality forms part of the uMgungundlovu District Municipality. Towns within the municipal boundaries: Boston, Impendle, Lower Loteni