Jozini, a small town in North Eastern KwaZulu-Natal on the main route to Mozambique is the access point for the Northern Elephant Coast area [or Northern Maputaland] and is synonymous with the impressive dam of the same name - the Jozini or Pongolapoort Dam.
This huge dam, on the Pongola River, provides a rather dramatic doorway into Maputaland and the river supports a massive population of fish, hippos and crocodiles as well as the people who live in the area. The Jozini dam which covers over 16 000ha lies between the majestic Ubombo and Lebombo mountains and was designed to irrigate more than 80 000 hectares of agricultural land supporting products such as sugar cane, rice, coffee, fibre crops and various sub-tropical fruits. The dam draws its water from the Pongolo [meaning 'trough'] river which is the principal river of Maputaland. The river has long, deep pools with steep sides and is an essential lifeline for the area it serves. It was originally designed to irrigate over 80 000 ha of farm land supporting products such as sugar cane, rice, coffee and various sub-tropical fruits. Many have compared it to Lake Kariba in Zimbabwe and it is fast becoming the mecca of many wild game seekers as farmers convert vast tracts of land around the dam back to their virgin bush in the bid to realise a dream to return this area to its former wild life kingdom.
Lake Jozini, as the dam is called, has become very popular as a Tiger fishing destination and because the dam borders with the Pongola Nature Reserve and Game Reserve, you can view wildlife from your boat and glow-flies light up the early evening shoreline, transforming the water into an incandescent array of fairy lights. he main attraction in this area is the return of the elephant. But there are vast numbers of other game to be viewed, including: buffalo, wildebeest, giraffe, zebra, kudu, bushbuck, duiker, steenbok, hyena, cheetah, wild dog, cerval cat, warthog and even the occasional sighting of leopard, which roam the Lebombo mountains. The dam's muddy plains and reed banks are home to a vast array of birdlife, over 350 different species, including the whistling duck, yellow billed storks, Egyptian geese, herons, kingfishers and several fish eagles.
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