The small town of Mtubatuba is situated fifty five kilometers north of
Richards Bay, close to the entrance of the Greater St Lucia Wetland Park, making
it an ideal base for exploring the park . The town was established in a region
largely dominated by swampland of reeds and papyrus in 1903 and named after the
local Zulu chief. The town's early years were hampered by flooding. An
additional setback occurred during World War I when a ship carrying essential
parts of what was to be the town's first sugar mill was torpedoed, resulting in
the mill eventually being constructed in 1916 at nearby Riverview.
Mtubatuba has developed a long way from its early days as a humble railway siding into a strong sub-regional commercial, service, transport and administrative centre for the entire North Eastern Zululand region. In the last few years there has been substantial commercial growth in Mtubatuba with retail and wholesale outlets springing up in the region.
A notable venue for unforgettable outdoor family activities is the nearby Hluhluwe-iMfolozi Game reserve,
awesome home of elephants, lion, both rhino species, countless plains game abundant bird life and the typical Zululand flora of thorny scrub and indigenous bush. The Reserve offers interesting 4x4 trails, revealing the secrets of the bushveld. The park also offers a number of self-guided hiking trails which vary in length, and guide books are available for visitors to help them interpret the many points of interest along these trails. There is also a 40 seater boat which takes visitors on guided trips twice a day along Hluhluwe dam, though the water level of the river is sometimes too low for boat trips.
A slightly shorter distance east is the equally but differently charming St Lucia and its accompanying wetlands and eventually the Pacific Ocean, home to countless species of tropical fish. To reach St Lucia from Mtubabtuba, the R618 passes through the magnificent, almost primordial Dukuduku Forest, famous for among other things, its rare tropical butterflies. A walk through the forest takes you to Furululu Lake, with its abundance of ferns, orchids and the water loving hippo.
The nearby beaches of Cape Vidal provide safe swimming areas and an amazing tranquil setting for guests that want to soak up the sun. Due to popularity of deep sea and spear fishing in this area, selected launch site for ski boats have been provided at Cape Vidal's protected bay. There are also a number of guided hiking paths around the fascinating wetlands and the Lake Bhangazi shoreline, not to mention the site of the Dorothea shipwreck which adds to the unique vibe of the area.
Another of the many attractions in the Mtubatuba area is the Dumazulu cultural village, where visitors are able to enjoy an authentic African cultural experience whilst staying in the traditional, ethnic accommodation at Dumazulu Lodge. The village offers visitors a unique and informative glimpse into Zulu traditions including basket-weaving, spear and shield making, beadwork, pot-making, Sangoma bone-throwing and spectacular Zulu dancing.