Boost your mood and beat the blues, put on your hiking boots and bring along your binoculars to reconnect with nature as Tourism KZN encourages visitors to take a leap and travel to the unspoilt heart of KwaZulu-Natal and experience its travel offerings.

KZN MEC for Economic Development, Tourism and Environmental Affairs (EDTEA), Nomusa Dube-Ncube recently engaged with members of the media on a tour official visit to uPhongolo Local Municipality in an effort to draw tourism to the area and thereby transform the local economy through job creation and community upliftment.

The tour led by MEC Dube-Ncube coincided with the reopening of the country’s international borders on 1 October 2020 for business, leisure and other travel, under alert level 1 of lockdown. The tourism sector is looking forward to a bumper summer season and many accommodation venues have seen a rush in bookings.

“KwaZulu-Natal is all aligned with the strict health and hygiene protocols.,” said MEC Dube-Ncube.

“We are saying to our visitors, please come back to KZN that you love so much. You still have your beautiful ocean waiting for you. The magnificent nature and game reserves are waiting for you. I have just experienced a tour of the wonderful Mkuze Falls Private Game Reserve. This is all waiting for you. 

“With Lockdown Level 1 reopening the doors of holiday resorts and inter-provincial travel, KwaZulu-Natal game lodges have come back to life.

“The department, working with uPhongolo Local Municipality and other role-players, is investing resources in the tourism infrastructure at local level. We believe that local government is best placed to create a memorable experience for tourists.

“We have stated in various platforms that the success of tourism will be judged by how much it is contributing towards our efforts aimed at substantially reducing poverty, inequality and unemployment in our province,” she said.

Media were treated to various exhilarating tourism experiences with a visit to Koppie Alleen Guest House and a tour of Mkuze Falls Private Game Reserve.

Media had first-hand experience of the upgrades to Koppie Alleen Guest House which is owned by the Mahlalela Community Trust through the land restitution programme. EDTEA funded the renovations to the guest house.

The last tour ended off with a unique experience of richness of the nature reserve life and a drive to spot the Big Five at the Mkuze Falls private five-star game reserve nestled between the Kruger National Park and the Zululand Coast. 

The face-lifts to the facility boast a value of R2.5M.  

One of only two private game reserves in the region, Mkuze Falls offers thrilling experiences – morning and afternoon game drives and bird walks followed by an array of mouth-watering treats and the joys of luxurious scented oils and hot stones to massage away stresses and strains. The sound and beauty of water falling seeps into your soul.

For bird-lovers, Mkuze Falls and its wetlands have sight of more than 430 species of birds. The reserve is home to the Fish Eagle, Giant Kingfisher, Narina Trogon and the spectacular Purple-crested Lourie.

Abundant species of antelope are also resident in the reserve and the mysterious Nyala is seen here.

Mathew Tucker, General Manager at Mkuze Falls Private Game Reserve said, “We were delighted to host the MEC Dube-Ncube and Tourism KZN at the lodge and to have shown our beautiful game reserve. 

“We have had 80% occupancy rate throughout October and looking forward to hosting more tourists over the festive season.”

“Mkuze Falls is a beautiful private five-star game reserve. I loved the tent chalet made especially for outdoor stays.”

Zola Phoswa, a journalist at Rising Sun newspaper, said she felt good to be able to travel again especially during a worldwide pandemic and with the strict lockdown restrictions in place.

“We received a warm welcome and great hospitality at Ghost Mountain Inn. The lodge followed all Covid-19 safety regulations.

“I was excited to spot some zebras and springbok at Mkuze Falls Private Game Lodge.”

Ntokozo Thembani, a reporter at Vuma FM, said: “The two days on tour reminded me about the best moments of being a tourist in KZN.

“I was excited to see the positive attitude shown by workers in hotels and the places we visited. Rural tourism is always a great way to remind us about the rich culture and heritage we have in our province.”

Bongiwe Zuma, a journalist at Isolezwe, said: “The Mkuze Falls private game reserve experience has been one of the best and I was impressed to have viewed the outdoor tents which are very modernised and still have the elements that set it apart from other accommodation.

“There is so much to enjoy there such as the pool area, a Big Five game drive and the serene spa.”

For further information on accommodation packages and tour experiences please visit the website http://www.mkuzefalls.com/.

The travelling public is urged to frequently visit the TKZN digital platforms for great specials on offer.

To remind you of the tourism sights, sounds and experiences on offer, visit: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cU8rGVbBgCc

Thanks so much for reading, hope to see you again :)

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