Did you know?
Tiger fish, with their needle-like teeth and ferocious fighting tactics, are nicknamed African piranhas.
South African fishing destinations include the stunning Lake Jozini in north-eastern KwaZulu-Natal. As the most southern body of water where tiger fish are found, the lake has become a hotspot for tiger fishing.
Lake Jozini spans a massive 16 000 hectares and is situated within the breathtakingly beautiful Pongola Game Reserve. The reserve boasts more than 350 species of birds and literally teems with game, including four of the Big Five and a substantial family of hippo which inhabits the lake.
Another prized resident of the lake are tiger fish. These game fish are predominantly found north of South Africa's borders, but a healthy population has established itself in Lake Jozini and the surrounding rivers.
But be prepared to work hard to land this tiger – tiger fish are famous fighters and will take your line in the blink of an eye! Due to the ecological sensitivity of the area, most fishermen practice catch and release of tiger fish. In between waiting for 'the big one', you can enjoy Pongola's rhino, elephant, buffalo and other game which graze at the lakeshore.
Fishing boats (with skippers), along with all rods and tackle, can be hired from the reserve. For the ultimate fishing safari, rent a luxury houseboat: two fully-serviced double pontoon houseboats, the Shayamanzi and Shayamanzi II, are available, with on-deck seating and accommodation for between 12 to 20 people. Sundowner cruises are particularly spectacular, when thousands of fireflies light up the shoreline.
Because of its rich biodiversity, Pongola Game Reserve, including Lake Jozini, will soon be the centre of a massive conservation area covering more than 35 000 hectares as part of the Pongolapoort Biosphere Reserve.
Travel tips & Planning info
Who to contact
Shayamanzi House Boats
Tel: +27 (0)34 413 2299
Pongola Game Reserve
Tel: +27 (0)34 435 1123
How to get here
Fly direct from any of South Africa’s major cities to Durban. From Durban take the N2 east to Mkuze and follow the signs to Lake Jozini.
Best time to visit
Lake Jozini has a tropical climate and is great at any time of the year, though mid-summer can be very hot and humid. Between May and November masses of aquatic birds come to the shore to breed.
Around the area
Game drives, walks and bird watching at the Hluhluwe-Umfolozi National Park; iSimangaliso Wetland Park (a World Heritage Site); diving at Sodwana Bay; whale watching (between May and December) and dolphin spotting at St. Lucia.
Tours to do
Sundowner cruises on the lake. You can either book a seat on a boat or hire the entire boat out for your party.
Self-drive is the best option though there are numerous organised tours to Lake Jozini.
Length of stay
At least a weekend for fishing, longer if you want to explore the area in depth.
What to pack
Lots of sunscreen, a hat, inset repellent, fishing tackle, comfortable walking shoes or boots.
Where to stay
The houseboats on Lake Jozini offer a novel accommodation option...and you don't have to wait to start fishing.