KwaZulu Natal DestinationsPongolapoort, Zululand
Lying in the heart of the Lebombo Mountains on the northern shores of the Dam (also known as Lake Jozini), the town of Pongolapoort is one of a number of places around the dam that include Jozini, Nkonkoni, Candover and Kingholm. It is also a virtual wilderness, largely due to its remoteness, but also because of the nature reserves that surround the area.
Pongolapoort is, in a word, quite beautiful. Derived from the Zulu word ‘phongolo’, meaning trough, Pongola is epitomised by wild indigenous vegetation, whilst the sheer banks and bottomless pools of the Pongola River combine to provide a splendour and untouched beauty that is hard to find elsewhere in the country.
The Pongolapoort Lake, or dam, is one of the most popular places to fish. Covering a distance of 15 000 hectares, it is also the only water in which you can find the elusive Tiger Fish in South Africa, and for those for whom the thrill of the catch is paramount, this is the place to head, particularly as one simultaneously soaks up the incredible access to wildlife and untamed views.
The Pongolapoort Nature Reserve lies just 30 kilometres south-east of Pongola. The Pongola River, a small section of which flows through the reserve, feeds the dam, which also lies in the reserve. It serves as a sanctuary for giraffe, wildebeest, zebra, impala, buffalo, hyena and leopard, and was the first government proclaimed game reserve in the country. Bird life is prolific in the reserve, and the reserve’s conservation area forms the core area of the developing Pongolapoort Biosphere Reserve - a co-operative conservation project between private land owners, the KwaZulu Nature Conservation Services, tribal communities and Swaziland, encompassing an area of over 35 000 hectares.