The Big 5 False Bay Municipality came into being in year 2000. The Municipality is surrounded by world-renowned game and nature reserves such as St Lucia, Hluhluwe/Umfolozi and Mkuze and is strategically located along the Lubombo Spatial Development Initiative (LSDI) which is important for driving the local economy.
Access to services remains problematic. Low education and skills levels limit the participation of the population in the economy. Two of the priority social issues as seen by the community are the upgrading of existing schools, and provision of creches and health facilities. The local road network is problematic; road infrastructure needs to be upgraded and certain roads need to be constructed.
The lack of electricity supply to a large proportion of residents hampers local economic development. As regards housing, the informal settlement areas are undeveloped and residents lack the most basic services. Mduku village and Mnqobokasi are regarded as small emerging rural centres in which, the introduction of periodic markets would develop them as points for marketing and service transactions, provided access roads were upgraded, among other things.
Timber, sugar and pineapples are intensively grown in the area, which produces over 90% of South Africa's queen pineapples. Other agricultural crops are sugar-cane, sisal, cotton, tomatoes and chillies. Due to traditional settlement patterns and customs, activity is still low in some areas. Improved production can come from sound agricultural management and irrigation.
Hluhluwe is considered the hub of tourism in KwaZulu-Natal. The Hluhluwe area has an abundance of top quality accommodation facilities, from peaceful campsites to five-star game lodges. The roads are all in good condition. Hluhluwe town is a service centre to the surrounding area. The town is named after the thorny rope climber Dalbergia Armata (umHluhluwe in Zulu), which is found among the forest vegetation types in Hluhluwe/Umfolozi Game Reserve. As tourism forms the economic base, current aims include to:
- Increase the number of tourists, their length of stay, and expenditure;
- Increase the number and quality of tourist attractions and increase the benefit, which flows to residents from tourism by: improving training at all levels, particularly in the catering trade; creating a tourism marketing plan;
- Improving tourism-related infrastructure and services;
- Encouraging joint ventures in which communities play a significant role;
- Capitalising on the Pineapple Festival and the Hluhluwe Game Auction;
- Applying for and releasing funding for the promotion of tourism
Historical and Other Places of Interest
Previously managed as two separate parks, the Hluhluwe (in the north) and Imfolozi (in the south) were joined into one large game reserve, covering some 96 000 ha. Hluhluwe-Imfolozi is the oldest game reserve in Africa where Zulu kings such as Dingiswayo and Shaka hunted and put in place the first conservation laws. Established in 1895, game viewing is the prime attraction. Viewing hides overlook waterholes enabling visitors to see animals at close range. The wide range of plant life in the park gives rise to a diversity of mammals, birdlife, reptiles and amphibians. The Big Five - lion, rhino (back & white) elephant, buffalo and leopard are all to be seen in the park, as well as a variety of other species, including cheetah, wild dog and giraffe. More than 300 species of birds are found here, including fish eagle, kingfishers, herons, ox-pecker and vultures.
As the home of Operation Rhino in the 1950s and 60s, the Park became world renowned for its white rhino conservation. Other areas of focus for which is famed include wilderness trails which originated in Imfolozi in the 1950s.
Apart from game-viewing drives, there are two self-guided auto trails which provide information on both the management and natural history of the reserve.
Thembalethu Craft Village is a community-driven employment project, showing beautiful Zulu basket weaving, beadwork, woodcarving and other craft used in the daily lives of Zulu people.
To improve the quality of life of local communities through service delivery by providing:
- Infrastructure and services
- Equitable social and economic development
- Democracy and governance and
- Strong environmental ethos in a sustainable manner.