Umkhanyakude District is situated in the North-Eastern part of KwaZulu-Natal, extending from the uMfolozi River up to the Mozambique border, and is bordered by the Isimangaliso Wetlands Parks.

“uMkhanyakude” refers to the greenish tree with some thorns (Acacia Xanthophloea Fever Tree) that mainly grows in the Umkhanyakude District. It literally 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 year-round tourism experiences with mild winters and hot summers.

The Umkhanyakude District Municipality is made up of five local municipalities, namely: Umhlabuyalinga Municipality, Jozini Municipality, the Big 5 False Bay Municipality, Hlabisa Municipality and Mtubatuba Municipality.

The vision of Umkhanyakude District Municipality is to be a metro council by 2030. The mission of Umkhanyakude District Municipality is to meet the basic needs and improve quality of the community in a sustainable manner. The District is mainly rural with the only formalised town being Mtubatuba in the South. However, several towns are growing rapidly, such as Hluhluwe, Manguzi, Jozini, Mkuze and Mbazwana.

Umkanyakude is one of four district municipalities in KwaZulu-Natal that were selected as presidential nodes to redirect public funding to priority areas for poverty alleviation.

Umkhanyakude is well positioned to reap the benefits of South African-Mozambique business relations and infrastructural development like the Durban N2 Corridor to Maputo.

The key drivers of the local economy are agriculture, services, tourism and retail. The Jozini Dam which draws its water from Maputaland’s Pongola River, also forms an integral part of the economy of the region.