Lusikisiki, a trading, transport and labour-recruiting centre, about 40 km north of Port St Johns, derives its name from the Xhosa word for the sound of the wind rustling through the reeds at a nearby marsh and along the rivers in the area. The area between Lusikisiki and the coastal spots of Msikaba and Mbotyi are characterised by spectacular views of natural vegetation and lovely waterfalls.
History And Architecture
Mount Nelson: The home of Khotso Sethuntsa, a wealthy and respected herbalist, is in the area. Khotso is reputed to have fathered more than 200 children.
Seat of the Paramount Chief: Qawukeni, meaning “the elevated place”, the seat of the Paramount Chief of East Pondoland, is situated here.
Fauna And Flora
Magwa Tea Estate: Take the turn-off to Magwa and drive through the 1 000-ha tea plantation in the Magwa Tea Estate.
Mkambati Nature Reserve: This 8 000-ha coastal reserve preserves the animal and plant species of the coastal area between the Msikaba and Mtentu Rivers. The automatic lighthouse on South Sand Bluff falls within the borders of the reserve. Other interesting and unique features of the reserve include the impressive Horseshoe Falls, the Msikaba Gorge, the Mzamba Fossil Beds (cliffs featuring fossils dating back some 60 million years) and the Pondo Coconut (Jubaeopsis caffra) – this is the only place in the world where it grows!
Ntsubane Forest: It is quite an experience to pass through the twilight world of the Ntsubane Forest on the Lusikisiki/Mbotyi road. Be on the lookout for birds such as loeries, paradise flycatchers, bush shrikes, cuckoos and broad-winged, crowned eagles (the only forest-dwelling eagle) as well as small antelopes, bush pigs, monkeys and baboons.
Lupatana Nature Reserve: Take the Mbotyi turn-off on the road from Lusikisiki to Mkambati to reach the delightful Lupatana Nature Reserve with its Milkwood Forest, Lupatana River and wild waves. Walk to Waterfall Bluff, the Cathedral Rock formations and the Mfihlelo Falls.
Magwa Falls: A magnificent, 140-m-high waterfall, complete with rainbows, white plumes and “roaring smoke” that resembles the Victoria Falls in Zimbabwe, albeit on a smaller scale and only after good summer rains, is situated in the middle of the Magwa Tea Plantation.
Mfihlelo Falls: These 160 m high falls, situated approximately 5 km north of Mbotyi, drop straight into the sea and are the highest falls in the world to do so! Walk to the falls from the Lupatana Nature Reserve.
Waterfall Bluff: The main waterfall crashes into the sea near vertical sandstone cliffs, from a height of more than 100 m. However, the most exciting feature of the falls is that one can walk behind the cascading wall of water. The bluff extends about 5 km along the coast and contains two of the few waterfalls in the world that plunge directly into the sea. It is a place of exceptional beauty.
Cathedral Rock: Years of erosion of the sandstone cliffs along the coastline has resulted in the formation of Cathedral Rock, a towering rock formation butting out of the sea, reminiscent of the flying buttresses of Gothic cathedrals.