Lake Phobane, formerly known as Goedertrouw Dam is located about fifteen
kilometers north of Eshowe. Lake Phobane is the second largest dam in KwaZulu
Natal and is supplied with water by seven rivers of which four flow throughout
the entire year.
The construction of the dam on the uMhlatuze River was undertaken by the Department of Water Affairs more than 25 years with the goal of providing a constant water supply to Richards Bay's developing port and industrial complex. Lake Phobane is about fourteen kilometers long and and holds an impressive capacity of 300 million cubic meters. Shortly after the dam was built it held the title of the largest earth walled dam in the southern hemisphere.
The dam is located within the Umhlatuze Valley with the Mabelebele Mountain range serving as a magnificent backdrop. A number of varying habitats exist along the dam ,ranging from dry acacia scrub to tall mixed woodland, patches of riverine forest and mountainous terrain featuring massive cliffs up to three hundred feet high, which overlook the water. The dam consists mainly of open water as well as a few areas of quiet backwaters with lots of overhanging vegetation. Shallow rocky areas have formed, Where the seven rivers feed into the dam. For birdwatching at the dam, access to a boat is recommended, and can be launched from the parking area. Another option for visitors is to take a guided birding boat trip provided by Iphiva Bush Lodge. Lake Pobane is an excellent area for viewing Whitebacked Night Herons, African Finfoot, Halfcollared Kingfisher and good bushveld birds such as Gorgeous Bush Shrike.
The southern region of the dam is under the management of KZN Wildlife and is known as the Umhlatuze Community Conservation Area. A variety of wildlife has been reintroduced into the area including Giraffe, Kudu and Impala, and Waterbuck. Leopard have also been sighted there from time. From Iphiva Bush Lodge visitors can take advantage of a variety of hiking and canoe trails which cover most habitats.
Also to be found in the area is the popular and well known cultural village known as Shakaland. The village offers an informative introduction to Zulu culture and also provides hotel accommodation. Shakaland as as visitors can experience it today was used as a filming venue the 1980's TV series Shaka Zulu which portrayed the life of the Zulu ruler who lived there for a while.
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