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SSouth 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 000ha 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 4 of the Big 5 and a substantial family of hippo that inhabit 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 that 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 000ha as part of the Pongolapoort Biosphere Reserve.
TTravel tips & planning info
Who to contact
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
The tiger fishing season is from August to early November and March to May, although you can catch fish all year round.
Things to do
Game drives, walks and bird watching at the Hluhluwe-Imfolozi Park; iSimangaliso Wetland Park (a World Heritage Site); diving at Sodwana Bay; whale watching (between May and December) and dolphin spotting at St. Lucia.
Sundowner cruises on the lake. You can either book a seat on a boat or hire the entire boat out for your party.
What to pack
Lots of sunscreen, a hat, insect 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.