Fascinating falls: Visitors to Howick drawcard double in a year

2013-01-09 00:00

THE Inkanyama, a creature that is rumoured to live at the bottom of Howick Falls and to lure people into its deep pools, might have helped to double the tourists who visited the falls during December.

Stan Goodenough, a Howick resident and tour guide who has been involved in the Friends of the Falls organisation, said an average of 28 676 people visited the site in December. In the same time period last year, just 14 274 people visited the waterfall.

Goodenough said he was astounded by the remarkable increase in visitors to the Howick Falls.

“We don’t expect a lot of people in December because the foreign people come out of our high season and we usually experience more foreigners in August, September and October. But we have been pleasantly surprised and we have also seen a lot of people from Durban and Gauteng who may have come to see the Howick Falls as a means to break their journey.”

The Friends of the Falls answer questions from tourists and inform them about the waterfall and make guests feel welcome. Part of their job is to approach visitors and record their nationality and count how many of them have seen the local attraction.

Goodenough says besides the Friends of the Falls volunteers there are five tourism interns from nearby Mpophomeni township, who attended a course sponsored by the local government. These young people are sponsored to be on duty at the waterfall for a few shifts.

Although Howick Falls has ancestral significance for the Zulu people, women from the nearby informal settlement do their laundry in the rushing current, a sight that bemuses foreign tourists, who don’t know why local people don’t have running water.

Goodenough said the next aim is to have Howick Falls signposted along the N3.

“We have applied to the authorities, but everything takes an age to get done.

“Well, signpost or not … that’s water under the bridge. The tourists are finding their way there.”

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