Tugela, Dolphin Coast

The Tugela is KwaZulu-Natal's largest river. Its source is in the Drakensberg Mountains, whereafter it travels some 500 kilometres, via the 947 metre plunge of the Tugela Falls, through the Natal Midlands and on, until it reaches the Indian Ocean north of Nkwazi and just south of the Red Hill Nature Reserve - 40 kilometes or so from the town of Mtunzini.

The mouth of the Tugela is historically rather significant. Vasco da Gama named a cape close by the Ponta da Pescaria, in December 1497, after the great many fish they were able to catch in the area. Today, the Tugela Mouth remains a popular fishing destination both on shore and out to sea. On the shore you can always pull zambies, diamond skate, flat fish and the odd grunter and kob during summer.

The Tugela beach is wonderful. Just below a dramatic black and white striped lighthouse, it stretches for miles and is generally not inundated with people. Swimming in rock pools, sunbathing, bird watching, turtle spotting, whales during October and November, and lovely areas along the river bank for mountain biking and hiking make the area an excellent space in which to chill.

Once a year the Tugela Mouth is home to the Tugela Raft Race - a big attraction in the area. Other attractions include a fig tree known as the Ultimatum Tree, protected in the Harold Johnson Nature Reserve, the Amatikulu Nature Reserve, Fort Dunford and Fort Tenedos - two historic forts built by the British during the Anglo-Zulu War, at least 10 golf courses within 100 km of the mouth of the river, and three casinos.

In the vicinity

Hotels & other accommodation options

Things to do in the area

Noteworthy attractions

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Tugela as a destination

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