Situated in the North Eastern corner of Zululand is the area known as uPhongolo. It was first developed around the irrigation system canals developed in the area in the early 1930's but this was not a success until the canals were extended, and now large areas of Sugar Cane and Citrus are under irrigation in the area.
Considered as the jewel of Kwa-Zulu Natal, uPhongolo is now said to be "Right at the Heart of the Zulu Kingdom" within the region's branding structure. Road access to the area is via the N2 from Gauteng and Natal and the Golela Border post from Swaziland - a major gateway to the area for foreign visitors traveling south from the Kruger Park.
Distances from all major centers are: Johannesburg 420km, Durban 380km and 270km south of the southern gates of the Kruger National Park.
The area is host to many tourist attractions including Game Farms and Lodges, the Pongolapoort Dam, famed for its Tiger Fishing and surrounding wildlife, cultural history and much more. uPhongolo boasts Southern Africa's first ever Game Reserve proclaimed in June 1894 by President Paul Kruger.
The Boer War doomed the existence of the reserve but the Pongola Nature Reserve was re-established in the same area in 1964. The area is also rich in agriculture with Sugar, Cotton and Citrus being well established in the area.
The town of Pongola is wedged between the Swaziland border and the Phongolo river and has all the modern facilities, Supermarkets, Hospital, Small Airport, 9 hole Golf Course, Tennis and Bowls. The Phongolo river rises just east of Wakkerstroom and drains an area of nearly 8000 km2 where the rainfall often exceeds 1000mm a year. Because the irrigation weir at Pongola could not fully utilise the erratic water flow of the river, the Pongolapoort dam wall was built in 1972 in a narrow gorge in the Lebombo mountains to form the 2492 million m3 Dam behind the 89m high wall. Phongolo is the Zulu word for trough because of the many deep pools with steep sides along its course.