The Grass is Always Greener in Mtunzini

Private Property South Africa
Lea Jacobs

Mtunzini can be likened to Mother Nature’s nursery and the splendour of the area boasts pristine beaches, dune forests - a lake and lagoon which in 1948 was proclaimed as the Umlalazi Nature Reserve.

Situated approximately 140km north of Durban, the area has fascinated nature devotees for decades. The lush green vegetation and virtually untouched natural splendour has been drawing holiday makers to this neck of the woods year after year. One of the major attractions has been the preservation of wildlife and the protection of the habitat by Ezemvelo KZN Wildlife formally known as the Natal Parks Board. Mtunzini is revered as one of the best bird watching sanctuaries in the country. Home to a multitude of bird species which include a number of rare and endangered species that entices ornithology enthusiasts from all over the globe.

Due to the natural bio-diversity of the area and increasing awareness of the impact that over-development can have on natural eco-systems, the town planners of Mtunzini, being ahead of their time made conscious efforts not to over commercialise the area. In 1999 the area was awarded the Green Trust Conservation award for its ongoing commitment in conserving the area.

The fact that the town is dependent on eco-tourism was highlighted at the beginning of this year during an emergency meeting held in the local school hall. The hall was filled to capacity with concerned residents regarding the proposed granting of mining rights of heavy metals to South African mining giant Exxaro. This project has been ear marked to begin excavation in 2013, but the local resident’s intend to aggressively petition against this scheme, on the basis that it will threaten the sensitive eco-system and pollute water sources in the town.

The golf course, country club, Mtunzini stables and ski boat club together with the natural attractions offer both locals and visitors a host of activities to participate in. The area also has adequate accommodation and park related excursions such as walks, bird watching and all a nature loving person may desire.

The town does have a small primary school, however, most high school children attend schools with boarding facilities in areas such as Empangeni, Richards Bay or Durban.

Considering the geographic size of the area, the 38 sales that have taken place in the last 12 months at an average price of R1.313m for full title homes and R724 000 for sectional title units, illustrate that property prices have fared well. However, Lightstone’s statistics indicate that price averages have dropped marginally since peak selling prices reached a premium in 2008. Consistent with figures in other coastal regions of the country, sales volumes have declined drastically since 2004.

The cable network connecting South Africa to the global Internet, lands at Mtunzini providing connectivity to smaller towns en route to Gauteng and Durban, includes Stanger, Empangeni, Richards Bay, Ermelo, Piet Retief, Middelburg and eMalahleni (Witbank). These towns previously battled in terms of IT technology and had limited options available. The route has now given them a new lease on life and also provides improved connectivity for mobile operators whose infrastructure was increasingly burdened by the exponential growth in data traffic. The cable has not only improved the lives of South African’s when it come to technological speed and availability, but has been a vital cost saving exercise to the country as a whole.

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