The Town within a Gamepark
Emadlangeni Municipality (KZ253) is located in the Amajuba District Municipality in the North-western corner of KwaZulu-Natal. Its area in kilometre squared is the largest in the district and comprises 3539km². Newcastle (KZ252) and Dannhauser (KZ254) are respectively 1855km² and 1516km² in extent. The Municipality (KZ 253) is surrounded by Newcastle East (52km), 68km west of Vryheid, South West from Dundee and North East from Volksrust/Wakkerstroom.
It consists of a vast rural area when compared to other Municipalities in the District, with plenty of economic opportunities (Agriculture, Tourism, and Mining) still untapped.
Tourism and Activities
The town of Utrecht in KwaZulu-Natal nestles in the foothills of Balele Mountains. A unique feature of the town is that it lies within the confines of the Balele Community Game Park and the Utrecht Community Game Farm, and it is not unusual to find animals frequenting the outskirts of the town, parks and garden.
The mountains form part of the park which has been stocked with no less than 11 species of game including Impala, Blesbuck, Bushbuck, Waterbuck, Nyala, Red Hartebeest, Blue Wildebeest, Kudu, Burchell’s Zebra, Warthog and Giraffe.
The long-term plan is to open the whole area to the town, so that game will be seen frequenting the outskirts of town, parks and gardens as is already happening with species such as Grey Duiker, Genet and the odd Impala. This initiative by the local Town Council in conjunction with Balele Conservancy and motivated by individual residents in the district, has brought about a shift in the town’s focus from industry to tourism.
Utrecht is an outdoor lover’s paradise and activities include hiking, horse riding, trout fishing, water sports, cycling, bike tails and camping. The Balele Mountains, with it’s waterfalls and ecological diversity, is home to a wealth of fauna and flora – especially in the Balele Game Park, and offers excellent bird-watching opportunities, with over 280 recorded bird species making their homes in this area.
The Utrecht district is the tribal domain of five Amakhosi (Zulu chiefs), who today play an active role in the development of the area. The Mangosuthu Arts and Crafts village (with accommodations for backpackers) has a craft shop with a variety of traditional Zuly artiles.