Pongola is a small town in KwaZulu-Natal only 10km from the Swaziland border. At roughly 5 hours from Johannesburg and 4 hours from Durban, Pongola is an ideal stop on the N2 to popular holiday destinations like Kosi Bay, Sodwana Bay, Mozambique, and Swaziland. With little more to do than enjoy the magnificent wildlife and scenery; you can enjoy a relaxing stay in one of the Pongola accommodations below.
Situated in the valleys of Zululand, along the Pongola River near the Lumbobo Mountains, this peaceful little town is a treasure waiting to be discovered. Surrounded by 50km² of sugarcane and subtropical fruit plantations, it boasts a unique and tranquil subtropical environment close to several game reserves. Experience the true heart of Africa with cultural tours to the Royal Palace, Hlanganisani Male Choir, townships, rural villages, local schools and hospitals, and tropical gardens. You can also visit the Illovo Sugar Mills and enjoy a farming experience on the plantations. Watch Zulu dancers, browse the local arts and crafts market, and enjoy traditional lunches and dinners at “Egte Koffieâ€ Coffee and Tea Garden. Adventure and outdoor activities include hot air ballooning, hunting, tiger fishing, game trails, safaris, a 9-hole golf course, and Zululand birding.
Zululand provides some of the finest birding spots in South Africa and is a favourite haunt of both local and international birdwatchers. With so many diverse habitants juxtaposed against each other - from bushveld and grassland to wetlands and coastline – Zululand offers a rare concentration of several hundred species in one area. Mukuzi Game Reserve provides the best bird spotting with 430 species in a range of habitats that include the Lebombo Mountains, grassland savannah, riverine forest, and flood plain pans. There are guided birding paths as well as a self-guided walk through a primeval fig forest. Comfortable hides overlook numerous pans and waterholes where the mass take-off of a large flock of flamingos is an unforgettable experience.
The Pongola Game Reserve and Phongolo Nature Reserve are immediate neighbours. They fall over re-proclaimed land that was once the original Pongola Game Reserve, as declared by Paul Kruger, President of the old Transvaal Republic, in 1894. The area is a birding hotspot with over 350 recorded species. Four of the Big 5 (excluding lion) can be spotted here, along with other typical plains game, hippo, and crocodile. Visitors can enjoy the unique experience of tracking rhino on foot. The broad, perennial Pongola River meanders through the centre of the Pongola Game Reserve before entering the 13,276 hectare man-made Pongola Poort Dam. This unique bushveld environment offers several leisure activities such as safari cruises, canoe adventures, birding, and tiger fishing. Other nearby nature reserves include Ithala, Pondoro, AmaZulu, Kosi Bay, Ndumo, and the Isimangaliso Wetland Park.
Book a relaxing breakaway or overnight stay at one of the peaceful Pongola spots below.