uMkhanyakude District Municipality is situated in the northeastern part of KwaZulu-Natal, extending from the uMfolozi River up to the Mozambique and Swaziland borders, being bounded to the east by the Isimangaliso Wetland Park World Heritage Site, formerly known as the Greater St. Lucia Wetland Park, that encompasses the entire coastline onto the Indian Ocean. The following five local municipalities are found under the district municipality:
the Big Five False Bay Municipality
There is also a district management area that the district municipality is responsible for.
The district is largely rural, Mtubatuba in the south being the only substantial town. Several smaller towns are growing rapidly, such as Manguzi, Jozini, Mkuze and, to alesser extent, Mbazwana.
The population (about 620.000) is exceptionally young, with 70% being below 18 years of age. Low education levels (46% of people have never been to school and 66.4% of adults have a limited education) together with a youthful population profile emphasise the need for a greater focus on education and related activities. There is limited access to information, particularly in the deep rural areas.
Unemployement and poverty are at a high level. Only 6.6% of the total population have employment. More than 70% of the population survive on less than R800 per month and 82.95% of households live below the poverty line.
Free basic services for water, sanitation and electricity are currently being piloted. Two water tankers have been bought and R6.7 million has been given in support of drought relief.
uMkhanyakude furthermore refers to the greenish tree with some thorns (Acacia Xanthophloea Fever Tree) that mainly grows in the District. Literally it means “that shows light from afar.” The name of the District reflects both the uniqueness of its people and their hospitality, as well as the biodiversity and conservation history that the region is very proud of. Umkhanyakude is home to the Big Five and offers memorable year-round tourism experiences with mild winters and hot summers.
Umhlosinga Development Agency
The uMhlosinga Development Agency is a municipal entity, and registered private company, dedicated to the planning and implementation of a program of sustainable economic growth and development in the district of Umkhanyakude.