Umzumbe River Trail
Umzumbe Local Municipality, Along Umzumbe and Mhlabatshane Rivers. Start at Phungashe Dam and ends at Indian Ocean by Phumula Beach Hotel
Umzumbe River Trail (URT) started as a concept that was discovered by Ugu South Coast Tourism as a potential great initiative for the tourism sector in Ugu district, specifically for it two local municipalities i.e. Umzumbe & Ray Nkonyeni Local Municipality. The concept was embraced, further researched and developed by Ugu South Coast Development Agency (USCDA) as it presented all the elements of a feasible initiative. The common interest from both district entities inspired a formal partnership between the two district entities in a form of a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU). USCDA was then seconded as the implementing agent for the development of URT.
URT passes through six clans which are Nhlangwini, Emabheleni, KwaCele, KwaNdelu, KwaQwabe and KwaMadlala
URT is implemented in 4 phases.
Phase 1 was successfully implemented with the grant funding of R2 000 000.00 from Economic Development, Tourism and Environmental Affairs (EDTEA) Phase 1 consisted of route identification, plotting, mapping, clearing route markers, 3 viewing platforms and 30 hiking signs. A hiking trail starts at Phungashe Dam (Umzumbe) and ending at Sea Park Beach (Ray Nkonyeni). The trail consists of six (6) days hiking over a distance of 74km through mostly pristine and unspoilt Savanna covered hills with spectacular views and river crossings. The trail winds its way through the six (6) Traditional Authorities which in its ultimate vision includes the construction of seven (7) accommodation establishments along the trail. These formal over-night stops are intended to afford each Traditional Authority the opportunity to host their tourists uniquely, provide meals and entertainment.
URT is the first of a number of multi-trail networks that could be established within Ugu district, from the result of an extensive research that was undertaken by consultants that were appointed to identify all possible routes that could viably cause movement of eco-and sport- tourism between coastal belt and hinterland areas.
The Phase 2 contains studies and approval for Phase 3 i.e. geotechnical, survey and securing agreements that includes land agreements, developmental rights agreements, overall working design and plan development of the camps etc. Phase 2 estimated budget is R5 619 956,56 (Five Million Six hundred and nineteen thousand nine hundred- and fifty-six-rand fifty-six cent).
It will be the construction of intermediate camps and the estimated budget is R20 924 554,05.
It will be the construction of start & end camps and completion of intermediates which amounts to R16 419 377,51.
Current Features in URT
The trail currently has the following features that were constructed with EDTEA grant for Phase 1:
74 circular concrete directional stones 600mm in diameter with URT sign in strategic positions on the route.
30 hiking signs on timber poles along the route for route identification.
3 viewing platforms of 10m2 in size
There is regular awareness about tourism and training conducted for adventure tourist guides. In the route, overnight homestays have been identified and training of being hosts was done through SEDA’s intervention.
The trail was launched in Africa Travel Indaba in May 2022.