The uMngeniMunicipality comprises the former Transitional Local Council areas of Howick and Hilton; the Worlds View area; and a substantial amount of farm land. The municipal area covers 1 564 square kilometres, and has its offices in Howick.
A series of spectacular waterfalls surround the area, which is about 29 km north-west of Pietermaritzburg. At the centre of this system, nestling on the banks of the uMgeniRiver in the heart of the Natal Midlands, is the beautiful town of Howick, and its pride, the 94 m high Howick Falls.
The primary objectives of the Municipality's planning are poverty alleviation and the provision of basic services (water, sanitation and electricity) to all communities located outside the main urban centres. Priority will be given to water projects in areas of higher population density, particularly rural service centres. Other strategies to improve water supplies are the introduction of spring protection and rain harvesting programmes. The existing sewerage works in the urban areas are to be expanded and upgraded, and areas which currently pose a health risk due to inadequate sanitation are to be identified. The Municipality aims to adopt a solid waste management strategy, and to provide alternative waste and garden refuse disposal sites. Anti-littering and recycling campaigns are also to be introduced.
Economy The main economic activity in uMngeni is farming in timber, dairy products (including cheese) and vegetables. Local Economic Development must be developed with emphasis on tourism, agriculture, manufacturing and commerce.
Tourism Both the scenic splendour of the uMngeni area and its pleasant climate enhance its potential for tourism related industries. The presence of Midmar Dam and Albert Falls Dam make the area popular for water sports - boating, fishing, skiing, sailing, canoeing and swimming. A number of well-known sporting events are held within the Municipality - the Midmar Mile being one of note. It is also good cycling country, with a number of annual cycling events being well patronised. The countryside is ideal hiking country and horse riding is offered at some of the many hotels and bed and breakfast establishments, whilst polo clubs are dotted around the midlands, as are a few horse stud farms.
The Midlands Meander, one of the best marketing success stories in the country, falls within uMngeni's boundaries. Some of the industries which prosper on these routes include the manufacturing of clothes and leather-ware, linen, furniture, woven goods and other craft. The Midlands offer some of the finest restaurants and highly acclaimed lodges in the Province.
The HowickFalls is a National Heritage Site and draws many visitors who are passing through as well as locals; development of this site is currently in progress. The KarkloofFalls is a favourite picnic spot for locals and visitors. The indigenous forests of Yellowwood, CapeChestnuts and White Stinkwoods in the vicinity are impressive. The Karkloof forest is a pristine environment home to several mammals, most common of which is the Samango monkey, abundant bird life with the opportunity of spotting Knysna Loeries, the elusive Narina Trogan or endangered CapeParrot.
Karkloof Canopy Tours offers the unequalled experience of gliding along steel cables between eight canopy level platforms built high within the indigenous Karkloof forest. Other places of interest are the HowickMuseum and the MandelaMonument.
There is an airfield in Howick, which the Municipality is hoping to develop. There are plans to extend the landing strip and increase hangar space so that it can be utilised by the smaller commercial airlines. Gliding and microlight flying are two other activities for which the area is well known, and parachuting may soon take off if the planned expansion of the airfield goes ahead. Hang gliding is undertaken in the Drakensberg foothills not far from Howick.
The opportunities for tourism, entertainment and sport related industries in uMngeniMunicipality are tremendous. We are making efforts to not only encourage local entrepreneurship but also larger investment and have initiated a campaign to instill pride in our surroundings by ensuring that they are aesthetically pleasing, neat, litter-free and environmentally healthy.
Historical and Other Places Of Interest Laager Wall: a near-intact wall built in 1879 as protection against an imminent Zulu attack after the Battle of Islandlwana.
MilitaryCemetery: the graves of 64 British and 84 Boer soldiers are placed in the grounds of what was a military hospital.
Midmar Resort: a fun-filled, superbly equipped family resort.
Nature trails: an excellent selection includes uMgeniRiver, HowickFalls, Howick Gorge, Beacon Hill, Stables and Howick Town Trails.
HowickFalls: a National Heritage Site whose further development is currently in progress.
KarkloofFalls: a favourite picnic spot with impressive indigenous forests of Yellowwood, CapeChestnuts and White Stinkwoods in the vicinity.
Crafts Southern Africa: the old Agricultural Hall houses curios and local arts and crafts for sale.
Museums and ArtGalleries HowickMuseum provides a well-documented look at the history of the Lions River District and Howick itself, as well as period costumes and antique British military insignia.
uMngeni Municipality is a people focused, efficient and cost effective municipality providing quality service and addressing unemployment and poverty through the promotion of agriculture, commercial and industrial productivity, education, tourism and conservation.
Municipal Demarcation Board Code: KZN222
uMngeni Local Municipality forms part of uMgungundlovu District Municipality.
Towns within the municipal boundaries: Balgowan, Dargle, Fort Nottingham, Hilton, Howick, Lidgetton, Lions River, Merrivale, Mpophomeni, Nottingham Road
Municipal Motto: People Centred Development
uMngeni is Zulu for the place of the acacia trees.
Mayor: Cllr Sizwe Sokhela
Deputy Mayor: Cllr Nompumelelo Buthelezi
Speaker: Cllr Ms T G Dlamini
Municipal Manager: Ms G Gumbi-Masilela (Acting)
Chief Financial Officer: Mr S Gwala
Communications Officer: Mbali Mwandla
LED Officer: Sfiso Ngcobo
Other Senior Management: Eric Svensson (General Manager: Technical Services), Steve Simpson (General Manager: Planning and Development), B Mpanza (General Manager: Community Services), Sandile Buthelezi (General Manager: Corporate Services)