Visiting Tugela Mouth is not all about fishing and beach activities. There are quite a few attractions and activities in the surrounding area which will keep your family entertained and happy.
Harold Johnson Nature Reserve
The Harold Johnson Nature Reserve is situated about 30.4 km via the N2, or 19.3 km via the P415 and R102 from Tugela Mouth on the south bank of the Tugela River. The reserve is 104 ha in extent and comprises of waving hillsides covered by grassland with dense coastal bush down steep cliffs and gullies. The reserve has some interesting vegetation, trees, orchids, and ferns.
The area has some important historical importance in that it was the launch site of the British invasion of Zululand during the Anglo-Zulu war in 1879. Fort Pearson, where 5000 troops were garrisoned, was a thick earthen wall on a high knoll overlooking the Tugela within the reserve but there is not much of it left. There are the remains of the Ultimatum Tree, a huge old Sycamore fig tree, under which the ultimatums were read to King Cetshwayo’s clan leaders. The ultimatums were totally irrational and the Indunas were required to remember them to carry them back to their King. Of course, this was impossible so Britain actually forced the war on the Zulus.
The decision led to the legendary battle at Isandlwana when the Zulus routed the British army. There is a small military cemetery just outside the reserve where many of the wounded were buried.
Gate Opening and Closing Times: 06h00 to 18h00. Office Hours: The office is open from 07h00 to 16h00.
Annual Sardine Run
The KwaZulu-Natal coast lights up with a furor of excitement each year when the annual Sardine Run starts. Thousands of visitors throng to the coast to witness this migration of millions of sardine. This sensation has been described and named as “The Greatest Shoal On Earth” due to the sheer volume of small glistening silver small fish that can be seen from space.
The Sardine Run occurs every year between May and July. Shoals as big as 20 – 30km long, 3km wide and up to 30m deep can be seen. The Sardine Run is more than just masses of sardines moving up the coast – the food chain moves into action attracting a range of exciting predators.
Great White Sharks, Copper Sharks, Common Dolphins, and Cape Gannets are four key predators that pursue the shoals northwards along the east coast of South Africa. These sharks and dolphins often work in synchronized harmony forcing the sardines into huge “bait balls”, only to be devoured. Cape Gannets dive into the water like jet fighter planes. The South Coast offers several vantage points along its magnificent 120km long coastline for you to take full advantage of the experience.
This spectacular event also attracts scuba divers from all across the globe to view this phenomenon, providing excellent photographic opportunities. This also happens to be the time when the Ragged Tooth Sharks congregate to mate. Your diving experience could include huge moray eels, turtles, rays, brindle bass, whales, dolphins and much more.
Although the sardine run takes place between May and July every year it is advisable to check with the people who know:
The Natal Sharks Board offers a Sardine Run hotline 082 284 9495
The North Coast of KwaZulu-Natal is one of the best recreational fishing coastlines in the world. From Kosi Bay in the north to Durban in the south, the opportunities for the keen fisherman are diverse and varied. In the northern region, the waters are warmer and the sheer variety of large predator fish make for some exciting fishing.
Here you can expect to catch king mackerel, sharks, kingfish, and queenfish as well as rays, skates, and sand sharks. From Richards Bay down to Durban, these large game fish are scarce and kob, shad (elf) and Natal stumpnose are more common. In late winter and spring, Garrick is quite prolific. Other common fish on the North Coast are spotted grunter, rock cod, kob, and pompano.
Light tackle fishermen can look forward to catching blacktail, banded galjoen, bigeye stumpnose, snapper kob, large-spot pompano, javelin grunter and much other smaller fish. The St. Lucia estuary is renowned for its kob, shad, and grunter, particularly during the grunter run which takes place between August and November.
It is important to ensure that you comply with the regulations that apply on the North Coast in addition to those that apply to the rest of the country. The North Coast is a very special place and it has to be especially protected from abuse.
The Tugela Beach is an outstanding beach with a stretch of seemingly endless sand ideal for long leisurely walks or a great jog. Encircled by nature, the views are extraordinary and bird watching is a firm favorite with over 250 species spotted around here. You can often see turtles on the beach and during October and November may be lucky enough to cast your eye on the whales gracing the waters.
After soaking up the sun you can go for a swim in one of the many rockpools, in the sea or in the Tugela river mouth. The river mouth is popular for boat angling and for spotting marine life such as sharks and turtles, which can, on occasion, be seen entering the river mouth to get rid of parasites they have on them. Anglers flock to this area where there are a variety of species they can catch, some including Salmon, Shark, Shad, Garrick, and Labotes.