Umzinto, South Coast

Named after the Mzinto River, Umzinto is located on the Umdoni Coast in KwaZulu Natal, South Africa. The Umzinto River is so named because of its destructive nature during floods. The planters and millers started growing cane on the hilly terrain around the Mzinto River from 1857. A year later, the first public sugar company started up in the area. Sadly, 7 years later the mill was struck by lightning which lead to total bankruptcy. Today however, Umzinto remains a busy town with a mixture of colonial and Indian architecture.

Umzinto is a town that has lasted the ages and grown steadily over the many years of endless trading. Indians that were brought in to work on the cane farms in 1860 have made a valuable contribution to economy of the town. Shopping in this little town is an "Eastern" experience and boasts a lot of charm.

A short ten minute drive out of Umzinto is the Vernon Crooks Nature Reserve. The Vernon Crookes Nature Reserve boasts breath taking scenery in an eco-system encompassing lush coastal forests and grasslands. Bird lovers can look forward to spotting some of the 300 stunning species, which include raptors. Wildlife is abundant and includes impala, eland, blue wildebeest and bushbuck.

A stroll in this reserve is a spectacular experience. The 11km “Happy Gold Mine” trail in the reserve leads to an aged gold mine which still holds the mine shafts as well as a steam traction machine with the main traction engine and ball mill machine in place. The reserve offers superb picnic sites and walks. King Shaka also visited this area on his travels and within the reserve lays the words: “Umthombo Kashaka” meaning a well of fresh water, found by his warriors. According to historians, Shaka relaxed here on his homeward journey in 1828, whilst his army sported on the beach making mock attacks against the waves that are today enjoyed by holidaymakers.

Umzinto’s beaches are serene and picturesque. Shark nets make for safe swimming, snorkelling and surfing. The warm waters complement the unique beauty of these beaches and boast ample tropical fish and stunning coral reefs. These beaches are also popular fishing destinations.

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