Umzimkhulu Municipality covers a total area of 2436 km and has a population size of 243 242 and 43 545 households. Of the population, about 90,8% reside in rural areas, while the remaining 9,2% are urban based. While efforts are centred on infrastructure provision and service delivery, backlogs remain vast. Umzimkhulu faces severe backlogs with respect to water, sanitation and electricity provision.
In addition, road infrastructure remains poor and provides only limited access to the area. Economy Agriculture, forestry and tourism have been identified as key economic growth drivers in Umzimkhulu Municipality. High rainfall, good climate and rich soil give the area a high propensity for agricultural development.
A wide variety of products are currently produced, including cattle, red meat and dairy, poultry, wool, maize, sugar cane, citrus, vegetables and timber. Most farming operations are at subsistence level, in spite of the potential for commercial-scale ventures. Forestry makes up most of the income generation in Umzimkhulu however most of these forests are privately owned. Singisi Forest is the biggest stakeholder of forestry in Umzimkhulu.
The tourism sector has declined, but has a great potential for growth. Development of tourism around current initiative, like birding, rail and cycle tourism should focus on the tourism offer (accommodation, catering, and activities) at Ntsikeni Nature Reserve and maximise the planned Umzimkhulu Gateway through careful planning around location and offering.
Historical and other places of interest
• Silalahla Falls
• Chief Fodo Monument
• Entsikeni Hills and Entsikeni Nature Reserve
• Kok’s Hill and Khoisan paintings
• Umdlanstsimbi indigenous forest
• Ntsikeni Lodge
• Umzimkhulu Gateway Project
• Gateway Project
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