Zinkwazi is one of the few places on the KwaZulu-Natal North Coast that feels as it did years ago – a little wild, slow-paced and close to nature. It’s no accident that legendary South African explorer Kingsley Holgate has made his home here. Almost on the border of Zululand, the town is situated close to the river of the same name. Its lagoon has been proclaimed a nature reserve.
As you stroll around town or along the quiet beaches, the cries of fish eagles drift on the breeze. These are just one of the 180-plus bird species that have been recorded in the area. Twitchers may battle to comprehend that over 460 birds have been recorded within 35km of Zinkwazi. These include specials like finfoot, the Baillon’s crake and the green twinspot.
It is definitely worth the time and effort to explore the nature reserve, especially if birding is your thing. Even if it isn’t, the subtropical beauty of the area is rewarding enough.
Zinkwazi has retained its charm because it is a small town unchanged by tourism. However, this also means that you need to bring most of your groceries with you. There are small shops for odds and sods, but that’s about it.
Look out for
The fishing is still very good at Zinkwazi, from the beach and out at sea. The Zinkwazi Ski Boat Club is the focal point of the fishing community, and is the best place to find out where the current hot spots are.
Have a sundowner and mingle with the locals at Mahogany Reef, the bar at the ski boat club.
Canoe or take a boat up the lagoon. Except for when heavy rains have burst the lagoons banks, there is about 7km of flat water to explore. Take binoculars, a fishing rod or a picnic and see what you can discover.
Take a drive to Amatikulu and experience the decadence of a prawn feast at the simple, rustic and fun Amatikulu Prawn Shack. Prawns from a local prawn farm are turned into an almost endless selection of outstanding fare for a very reasonable price.
Enjoy the solitude and serenity of a walk along the beach. There aren’t many stretches of beach left that are this beautiful and peaceful.
Another spot of green worth visiting is the Harold Johnson Nature Reserve on the Tugela River. It offers excellent day walks. History buffs might want to see the ruins of Fort Pearson, and the Ultimatum Tree. Their part in the Anglo-Zulu War is fascinating - take a history book and give the kids a history lesson. Or listen to David Rattray’s Day of the Dead Moon as you drive.