KwaZulu Natal Tourist AttractionsNonoti Estuary
The Nonoti Estuary is on the KwaZulu Natal North Coast close to Stanger. It lies on the seaward side of the N2 where the Nonoti River meets the sea, almost halfway between the inland towns of KwaDukuza and Mandini.
On its northern bank lives the Nonoti Community on a 400 hectare piece of land returned to its people roughly 15 years ago by Tongaat Hulett and the Bodasingh family.
The estuary and its immediate surrounds are an exceptional stretch of pristine coastline virtually unequalled in beauty. But the urban sprawl of Durban up the N2, and the development of King Shaka International Airport, means that this stretch of coastline, and its unspoilt beaches and dune areas, are under pressure as the demand for properties on the North Coast increases.
The Nonoti Estuary is a wetland paradise that flows into the Nonoti Floodplain. It offers avid birders a sanctuary of riverine grassland, scrub and forest that attracts a wide variety of birds like the red-headed quelea, woolly-necked stork, yellow-throated longclaw and the southernmost population of white-fronted bee-eaters.
To meet development demands, and still protect this section of coastline, is an issue. The Economic Development Agency is in the process of developing a community-run beach tourism resort that will include an eco lodge, whilst the Lower Tugela Biodiversity Project (LTBP) is hoping for stewardship of this estuary, together with the one in Zinkwazi, to help nurture sustainable community development in the area.
LTBP proposes that Nonoti and Zinkwazi become a Marine Protected Area. One of their recent sustainability projects was the ringing of birds at Nonoti.
The Nonoti community use the estuary on a daily basis to reach the nearest town, Zinkwazi, which is three kilometres away. Until the government homes that have been promised them are built, they continue to use it for their laundry and to water their cattle.
The community's vegetable tunnel project, funded by African Bank, allows the women to grow vegetables to help feed children at the local primary school. The Lower Tugela Biodiversity Protection Project assists and advises on the project.