Shongweni Dam and Game Reserve offers awe inspiring cliffs and waterfalls as well as lush forests. The reserve is also home to rhino, buffalo, giraffe, waterbuck, wildebeest, warthog and a variety of birds. It is known as an excellent venue for overnight camping, game viewing, picnics, nature trails and non-motorised water sports.,The reserve is 1700 hectares in size, and will serve as a spectacular backdrop to the event.
The location is rural, however there are numerous shopping centers within 15 minutes of the venue, along with numerous tourist attractions situated along the Valley of 1000 Hills.
King Shaka International Airport is located 65 km’s from the venue with an average driving time of 45 minutes.
Coordinates: 29º51′_ S and 30º43′ E.
Shongweni is situated about thirty kilometres from Durban along the way to Pietermaritzburg. The name Ntshongweni originated from the mountain found in the area, which is surrounded by precipices and a thick forest. At the base of the mountain curls Ntshongweni river eventually makes its way into the Ntshongweni Dam. The region, river and the dam are likewise called Shongweni due to the fact that many white people were unable to pronounce the word “Ntshongweni” properly. It is said that King Shaka would often sit high up on this mountain surveying the land and watching for approaching enemies.
Construction of the Shongweni dam was completed in 1927, with the wall still being hailed as an engineering phenomenon, with the world’s largest Hydroplus fuse gate system. The original water works located below the wall has been proclaimed as a national monument.
The dam is surrounded by the seventeen thousand hectare Shongweni resource reserve, displaying fine examples of various natural habitats, which include grasslands, valley and bushveld, as well as a series of majestic cliffs. Within the reserve two of Africa’s Big Five can be found, namely Rhino and buffalo, which a huge variety of other wildlife including Giraffe, Zebra, Impala, Waterbuck, Kudu, Wildebeest, Caracal, Black backed Jackal, rock hyrax, Warthog, Ostrich, three Duiker species, Mongoose and numerous smaller mammals.
Due to the excellent diversity of habitats found in the reserve ranging from water, forest, grassland to classic thorn veld, it has become a bird watcher’s paradise, with over two hundred various species being recorded there. Species found in the reserve include the likes of orange breasted Bush Shrikes, Narina Trogons, Redfaced Mousebirds and four large species of eagle namely the Crowned, Fish, Black and Martial Eagles.
There are three neatly laid out picnic sites within the reserve, as well as a series of self guided nature trails for visitors. Fishing is rather decent at the dam with various well sized bass often being caught there. Sailing and canoeing is also popular on the dam, with canoes available for hire to the public. Horse rides are also a highlight of the area, with trails leading through lush forests, passing towering cliffs and magnificent waterfalls. Keen rock climbers are well catered for in the reserve, with a number of world renowned sites on offer.