The Mzinyathi Falls is an attraction that not too many people know about, yet it’s a very short distance out of Durban, making it another reason why we love this subtropical beach city! There is so much to do in and around the greater eThekwini area if you make the effort, and plenty of incredible finds waiting to be explored.
Bye-bye Umhlanga, hello whole new world
At a twenty minutes’ drive from Umhlanga, the Mzinyathi Falls probably counts as within spitting distance. But visitors to the falls will find themselves in a whole new world far removed from four lane highways and tiered shopping malls.
The Mzinyathi Falls are situated at Ebuhleni, in Inanda, and getting to the falls means taking a drive through this bustling, interesting area. Inanda itself has plenty of places of interest, including a hike up Inanda Mountain or a shisa nyama lunch at Sbu’s Lounge.
Inanda has also been home to some remarkable characters in South Africa’s history. In the early 1900s Isaiah Shembe, founder of the Church of Nazareth, lived next door to John Dube, father and founding president of the African National Congress (ANC). Another notable resident, Mahatma Ghandi, lived in Inanda during his time in South Africa, from the late 1800s until 1914. Durban Green Corridors has established the eNanda self drive route, and we’d highly recommend allowing time on your way to or from the Mzinyathi Falls to take in some of this cultural wealth and understand the way these men and their actions continue to impact South Africa today.
Mzinyathi Falls, home of the buffalo bulls
At the Mzinyathi Falls, the Mzinyathi River tumbles over a sandstone cliff face some 100 m high to the Mzinyathi Valley below. “Mzinyathi” means “home (mzi) of the buffalo bulls (yathi)”, and we can only imagine the scene such a name conjures up of this area of old.
Adding to the romance of the area, the Qadi chief has his royal homestead in the Mzinyathi Valley, after the Chiefdom fled here in the early 1800s to escape the wrath of then-Zulu King Dingane. The Shembe Church also has its roots here; Isaiah Shembe founded and led the Ibandla lamaNazaretha, the Church of Nazareth in Inanda between 1910-1935, and used the pools at the top of the falls to baptise new proselytes.
For day visitors, the Mzinyathi Falls is a scenic picnic spot, and the sandstone cliffs offer some fantastic rock climbing similar in nature to those found at Kloof Gorge and Shongweni. There are currently five bolted routes with the opportunity for climbers to develop more.
The Mzinyathi Falls is also home to a community of Rastafarians who have built stone shelters at the base of the falls. A visit to the “Rasta Caves” is a must for visitors to the falls! This is only possible with the assistance of a guide, who can also show you around other stops on the Inanda Heritage Route, of which the Mzinyathi Falls and Rasta Caves are a part.
Map of the Inanda Heritage Route
Head up the M25 (Curnick Ndlovu Highway) for about 12 km. At the big traffic circle in Inanda turn right. Take your first major tar road to the left after 600m, signposted Mzinyathi Falls. Proceed for almost 2km, cross the bridge over the small river and then turn left onto the Mr259. Not far down this tar road is a signposted turn to your left onto a dirt road to the falls (about 2km of reasonably bumpy dirt road but easily accessible with a sedan).
Access is mainly on good tar roads, with two short sections of dirt. You can park right at the cliff’s edge and then scramble down. A car guard can be organised by phoning the eNanda Adventures booking office on 031 322 6026.