The Wildebeest's guide to South Africa

Mkuze town - a great base when visiting Zululand

Afrikaans name: Mkuze dorp

Mkuze town

Mkuze town

Photo © Steven Herbert


Mkuze is a small town that makes a great base to visit many places in Zululand. It is situated in north-eastern KwaZulu-Natal and is approximately 350 km north of Durban. The town is just to the east of the N2 highway which runs the length of KwaZulu-Natal. It lies on a plain with the Ubombo Mountains nearby.

There are various spellings of the town name including Mkuze, Mkuzi, Mkhuze and uMkhuze. The name “Mkuze” is an isiZulu word meaning “chorus master of singing and dancing.”

Mkuze accommodation

Are you looking for accommodation in Mkuze?

Mkuze has plenty of accommodation options available

One of the features of the town is 'Ghost Mountain' which is nearby. This 528-metre-high mountain is said to have been the scene of bloody battles and is the location for the burial sites of local chiefs from the Ndwandwe clan. The actual burial site is reported to be in a cave and the location of the cave is a closely guarded secret. There are many legends surrounding the events that may have occurred on this mountain. Some say that the silhouette of the mountain resembles the head of a witch. Rider Haggard, in his book “Nada the Lily”, described the mountain as “a great and strange mountain. It is haunted also and named the Ghost Mountain, and on top of it is a grey peak rudely shaped like the head of an old woman.”

Mkuze Game Reserve, which is located nearby, is one of the top birding destinations in South Africa. Over 400 species of birds have been recorded in this 40,000-hectare reserve. It is also well-populated with a variety of mammals including Lion and Elephant. Besides Mkuze Game Reserve there are a number of smaller private game reserves.

Other attractions that may be reached fairly easily from Mkuze are Sodwana Bay, Hluhluwe Game Reserve, False Bay and Lake St. Lucia.

North of the town, but not too close, there are many attractions including Jozini Dam, Pongolapoort Nature Reserve, Ndumo Game Reserve, Tembe Elephant Reserve and, going even further, Kosi Bay.

The town itself is small with little accommodation, or other housing, other than the Ghost Mountain Inn. It is a busy settlement serving the surrounding farms, game farms and other industries. There are, however, numerous places to stay in the surrounding area. The area around Mkuze is used for sugar cane plantations as well as some cattle and timber. The population of the town is around 50,000.

The Ghost Mountain Inn is synonymous with the town of Mkuze. The hotel was opened in October 1962 and has remained the go to place for visitors to the area as well as travellers needing a place to do a stop-over when travelling on the N2. It is a family owned and run hotel that is known for its hospitality.

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References and further reading

Book of the Road - 4th edition - Author: MapStudio - Published: 2019 - Page: 131

Conollys Guide to Southern Africa - 2nd edition - Author: Denis Conolly - Published: 1982 - Page: 214

Country Life - Issue 226 - Author: - Published: 2015 - Page: 83

Country Life - Issue 259 - Author: - Published: 2018 - Page: 55

Southern Africa from the Highway - Author: AA RSA - Published: 1991 - Page: 253


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