With the COVID-19 pandemic expected to reach its peak during the July holidays, and with citizens being urged not to travel unnecessarily for leisure, there are many healthy and safe outdoor options close to home which allow families to have some good old-fashioned fun. Just 30 minutes south of Durban’s CBD, in the heart of quiet rural uMgababa area alongside the Mnini Dam there are a number of fun outdoor leisure activities hosted all-year-round by Green Corridors and its partners.
Activities on offer include fishing, canoeing, boating, hiking and birding. There is also a network of trails that allow for exploring, birding, mountain biking and hiking – all enabling safe social distancing for groups in their own “bubbles.” There are accommodation choices too for overnight and mini-break stays.
The dam itself boasts largemouth bass, tilapia and an abundance of bird life.
The two tourism sites at Mnini are Thulas’ Adventures, which hosts pop- up camps, and guided nature and birding hikes, and cycle tours; and the Mnini Dam Tourist Resort for picnics, boat launching, fishing, birding, and hiking.
Thulas’ Adventures, with host Thulas Luthuli, an accredited guide, gives insightful and engaging guided walks and cycling tours around the area including a visit to the local Sangoma. For bird-lovers, there is also great birding, and for the more adventurous canoeing, and a spectacular walk up the Nsingizane River to a waterfall and pool, where, in hotter months, you can enjoy a leisurely swim. Join him as he expands on the cultural history of the area, as well as allowing you to just enjoy being outdoors and in nature. Thulas, together with partners Green Corridors, also offers accommodation in the form of the pop-up camps – with up to eight two-man tents, a communal catering area (fully catered or self-catered), ablutions, and security. All these are booked via Green Corridors.
Bookings for Thulas’ Adventures activities and pop-up camp can be done via firstname.lastname@example.org or call 031 322 6026/7.
Mnini Dam Tourist Resort, hosts, Mlu and Sphiwe Shezi-Mqadi welcome guests all week, offering catch and release bass fishing, canoeing, picnicking and trail options. Permanent gazebos with braai facilities, a jungle gym, and grassy lawns overlooking the dam, make it a safe and fun space to relax.
Mlu and Sphiwe offer boat hire and launch facilities, a bar and grill, frozen braai packs, and bait, and overnight camping. When lockdown regulations allow, they also cater regularly for special events such as weddings and birthday parties.
They have recently built four warmly appointed rooms with en-suites, which they offer at a BnB rate with a full English breakfast, for those wanting a more comfortable overnight stay away from the city.
Both sites enjoy committed involvement from their communities and the well-being and security of guests is important to them. Take time to stop and chat to people on the roads, and expect yells of delight and joyous laughter from children, as you are welcomed with open arms to this small slice of paradise.
Bookings for overnight accommodation at Mnini Resort can be done via +27 83 514 1685 or email@example.com