uMkhanyakude District Municipality is situated in the north-eastern region of KwaZulu-Natal. The District extends from Mtubatuba (St Lucia) in the south to Kosi Bay in the north, across to the Lubombo Mountains in the west. The district is mainly rural with the only formalised town being Mtubatuba in the south.
However, several towns are growing rapidly, such as Hluhluwe, Manguzi, Jozini, Mkuze and Mbazwana.
The district is strategically linked to the provincial markets of KwaZulu-Natal and Mpumalanga and to the neighboring market of Swaziland, via the N2 route. In terms of international trade links, the district has access to global markets through the provincial ports of Durban and Richards Bay. Upon completion of the Spatial Development Initiative route between Hluhluwe and Maputo, the district will have a direct link to the Port of Maputo, in Mozambique. The N2 and part of the Lubombo Mountains form a physical divide within the district. The Lubombo mountain range is known for its spectacular scenery made up of dense natural forests, rugged rock faces, caves and rivers that wind through deep mountain gorges. A high proportion of the district is under thicket, grassland and wetland while remaining areas are cultivation land and settlement. Large areas of land are under communal tenure in the district, located in the traditional authority areas under the jurisdiction of the Ingonyama Trust. The remaining areas are under state conservation or private ownership with limited formal urban areas.
uMkhanyakude has outstanding potential for agriculture and tourism development, with the district having a wealth of natural beauty and outstanding landscapes, as well as a favorable climate and fertile soils for major agricultural production. The district is closely associated with the iSimangaliso, "Maputaland", the Makhathini Flats and the Pongola- Poort/Jozini Dam (constructed in the 1970s with the intention of unleashing the agricultural potential of the area).
Several initiatives have been taken in an effort to boost economic activity in the sub region, including:
1. The recognition of the iSimangaliso as the first World Heritage Site proclaimed in South Africa in 1999.
2. The rollout of the Lebombo Spatial Development Initiative (LSDI), a joint programme by South Africa, Swaziland and Mozambique that aims to unlock economic development potential of the wider Lubombo sub-within the framework of the South African Development Community (SADC).
3. Tripartite Conservation Agreements with the two neighbouring SADC countries of Swaziland and Mozambique focused on the future establishment of a Trans-Frontier Conservation Area (TFCA), to boost social and economic interchange, and tourism in the region.
uMkhanyakude is home to the Big Five animals and offers memorable year-round tourism experiences with mild winters and hot summers. The iSimangaliso Wetland Park stretches along the Zululand coast from Mapelane in the south to Kosi Bay in the north. The name reflects the many areas that make up its 220 000 hectares, such as Lake Sibaya, Sodwana Bay, Mkhuze Game Reserve, False Bay, Fanies Island, Charters Creek, Lake St Lucia, and Cape Vidal. iSimangaliso made modern natural history when living fossils - coelacanths - were discovered off its warm Indian Ocean shoreline.
The Jozini Dam is an integral part of the economy of the region. Drawing water from Maputaland's Pongola River, the dam comprises a series of oxbow lakes and pans teeming with fish and bird life. Tiger fishing from luxurious house boats is a popular attraction. The dam, one of the largest in the country, is a potential tourism resource in the area. The Muzi Lake, boat and canoeing projects also offer invaluable development potential.
The alluvial soils surrounding the river have considerable agricultural possibilities. Jozini Dam is designed to irrigate more than 80 000 hectares of agricultural land. Crops include sugar cane, rice, coffee, cotton, fibre crops and various sub-tropical fruits. Other agricultural products in the region include timber, tomatoes, chillies and pineapples.
Mkuze Regional Airport
Jozini Hydro-electric Scheme
Makhathini Flats Development (Sugarcane, fruit and vegetables production and processing)
Expanded timber production
Fishing industry based on natural resource harvest supplemented by aquaculture
Expanded ha under cashew and coconut production for processing of oils and nuts for export
Establishment of high value - up market anchor tourism sites to further structured investment.
Municipal Demarcation Board Code: DC27
Location of Head Office: Mkuze
Municipal Area (km²): 13 859 km²
Population (estimated): ± 573 340
Local Municipalities: uMhlabuyalingana; Jozini; The Big 5 False Bay; Hlabisa; Mtubatuba uMkhanyakude" refers to the greenish tree with some thorns (Acacia Xanthophloea Fever Tree) that mainly grows in the uMkhanyakude District region. Literally it means "that shows light from afar."
Mayor: Cllr. SJ Vilane
Acting Municipal Manager: Mr. EM Mzimela