The Wildebeest's guide to South Africa


Afrikaans name: Pongola

Pongola business district

Photo © Steven Herbert


Pongola is a small town situated in the north of KwaZulu-Natal province. Although it isn't a border post it is located just a handful of kilometres away from the border between South Africa and Swaziland. The town gets its name from the Phongola River which is located just south of the town.

The Phongola River continues east and flows into the Pongolapoort Dam, also known as the Jozini Dam, within the Pongolapoort Dam Nature Reserve. The dam and the nature reserve are a haven for an abundance of wildlife and the area is known as a great spot for birding.

There are a number of game farms and reserves in the surrounding areas and many safari and hunting lodges can be found nearby. The town itself doesn’t offer much in the way of tourist attractions but this is more than made up for in its proximity to big game country.

Pongola weather


The surrounding countryside is dominated by hills and sugarcane farms. Some subtropical fruits are also farmed in the area. An irrigation system was implemented in the 1930's in the area. This series of canals provides water to around 50 square kilometres of farmland.

The N2 highway runs through Pongola and the town provides a focal point for commercial activity in the region.

References and further reading

On Route - A region by region guide to South Africa - Author: B.P.J. Erasmus - Published: 1995 - Page: 147

Southern Africa from the Highway - Author: AA RSA - Published: 1991 - Page: 25

Country Life - Issue 182 - Author: - Published: 2011 - Page: 76

Conollys Guide to Southern Africa - 2nd edition - Author: Denis Conolly - Published: 1982 - Page: 215


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