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Set in the surrounds of pine forests near one of South Africa’s largest dams you’ll find Mkhondo – the gateway to KwaZulu-Natal Province and Swaziland. Heyshope Dam, found on the Assegaai River and surrounded by pine forests, is one of the biggest dams in the province as well as the country and it’s only 30km away from Mkhondo, formerly known as Piet Retief. Pack a picnic basket, your fishing rods, swimming costume and tents as you head off for a day trip or relaxing weekend break along the water’s edge. With a shoreline of 120km, you’ll surely find a suitable spot to reel in fish. The dam has a reputation as the best place in the country to fish for largemouth bass, but you’ll also find carp and yellowfish in its waters. Locals and seasoned fishermen will tell you to take a boat onto the water if you want to increase your catch. The dam provides a peaceful retreat in nature and is a well-loved place to play sports with your family and friends or settle down with a good book.

The Mkhondo area has a rich Zulu, Afrikaner and British history and is brimming with historic sites, such as the Intombe Battle Fields where Zulu forces defeated British troops and the Voortrekker Monument with imprinted ox-wagon tracks from the Great Trek. The town’s most prominent landmark is the Dutch Reformed Church around which the town was initially built. It was designed in 1921 by famed architect Gerard Moerdyk, who also designed the Voortrekker Monument in Pretoria and around 80 other churches around the country. The town was previously named after Voortrekker leader Piet Retief, who was killed by Zulu king Dingane at the start of the Great Trek in 1838.

If you’re planning to travel further, the kingdom of Swaziland is just to the east and KwaZulu-Natal Province is a few kilometers to the south of Mkhondo.