mtunziniThe name Mtunzini is derived from the Zulu word Emthunzini meaning “at the umthunzi (milkwood) tree” or “in the shade of the umthunzi tree”. The form mthunzini means “in the shade” of any tree. In case of the town of Mtunzizi it refers specifically to John Dunn Indaba Tree. A large milkwood (mimusops caffra) tree.

John Dunn, regarded as the founder of Mtunzini, was born in 1834, the third son among six children. He lived a nomadic live as a hunting guide and transport rider until 1854, when he become assistant to the British border agent at Nonoti, Lower Tugela. After the civil war between two Zulu factions in 1856, Dunn dot to know Cetshwayo, one of the sons of the Zulu King Mpande, and resigned his post to become Cetshwayo’s diplomatic advisor. In return he received 10 oxen and an extensive stretch of land over which he was a headman. Dunn’s land was roughly the present magisterial district of Mtunzini. he established his authority over it by dividing it into areas, each under the control of a favourite induna or headman. He had married Catherine Pierce, but also married a further 49 Zulu woman, as was the custom of his adoptive people. This was a way of ensuring strong political and economic bonds between clans. After the Anglo Zulu war 1879 the British appointed Dunn as one of 13 chiefs to rule the Zulu Kingdom. Ac chief he was responsible , with advice from his izinduna, for setting disputes and imposing sentences on transgressors, Dunn died on 5 August 1895 after short illness, and as there was no successor, a power vacuum existed in the area. On 1 October 1895 a temporary magistrate’s post was created at Mtunzini. This date represents the ‘official’ birth of the town and it therefore celebrated it centenary in 1995.

About Us
At present Mtunzini is home to approximately 600 families who enjoy the natural beauty of this popular coastal town. The climate is sub-tropical with an average annual rainfall of over 1000mm with most rain falling in the summer months. Summers are hot and can be rather humid. Winters are cool with the temperature seldom falling below 17 C.

Mtunzini’s firm policy of focusing on the natural beauty of the area and promoting conservation is what makes it so special. The town was declared a Conservancy in November 1995 and in 1999 received a Conservation Reward from the Kwa-Zulu Natal Nature Conservation Services in recognition for its outstanding commitment and contribution to preserving the natural environment of KwaZulu Natal.

A network of trails has been established to offer residents and visitors the opportunity to experience the natural attractions of the area. One may be fortunate enough to encounter some wild animals on these trails. Bushbuck, bush pig, red, blue and grey duiker, otters and water mongoose – all are resident in Mtunzini’s natural bush and in the Umlalazi Reserve. The area, with its diverse vegetation, is a bird-watchers paradise. Swamp and coastal dune forest, estuarine mud flats, mangroves and open grassland provide the different habitats for over 300 recorded species, the best known being the Palmnut Vulture, now almost synonymous with Mtunzini. It is South Africa’s rarest breeding bird of pray, found only here and in Kosi Bay.

Nature Reserve
Umlalazi Nature Reserve, controlled by the KwaZulu-Natal Nature Conservation Service, covers 1028 hectares on the seaward site of town and is open to the public between 05h00 and 22h00. The long stretch of unspoiled beach is ideal for swimming, surfing and angling but, being a dolphin-friendly area, no shark nets are in place. All water sports can be enjoyed at the lagoon and there are ample picnic facilities along the river banks. You will probably see the resident herd of Zebra that graze here. The Umlalazi reserve and the Amatikulu Reserve together with the Siyayi Coastal Reserve, which stretches from the Umlalazi River in the north, in a narrow band along the coast southwards almost to the Thukela ( Tugela ) River. Amatikulu reserve is open between 07h00 and 17h00. Access is via the N2 approximately 30 Km South of Mtunzini. Once there, one can undertake self guided game drives and walks through 5 different ecosystems, namely estuarine, dune scrub, dune forest, coastal riverine and coastal forest. Because of this diversity, the reserve attracts a variety of bird species that will satisfy the keen birder. There is a thriving population of giraffe as well as waterbuck and a number of smaller antelope.

Other recreation activities catered for include golf, tennis and squash at the Country Club, bowling at the Bowling Club and riding at the Pony Club. All club’s, including the Ski Boat Club, offer special short term membership for visitors.

Distance from Mtunzini to:
Durban 132Km
Empangeni 32Km
Eshowe 42Km
Gingindlovu 18Km
Hluhluwe 95Km
Mkuze 195Km
Richards Bay 48Km