A Wetland Adventure

A Wetland Adventure
A Wetland Adventure. Image source: Unsplash

Muzi Pan Canoe Adventures, or ‘Muzi,’ as it is affectionately known, is a haven for a diverse array of wildlife, such as hippos, crocodiles, and a variety of bird species. It is located along the Mkhuze river floodplain which is based in the KwaJobe Community. Situated within the Isimangaliso Wetland Park, Muzi Pan is a 15-kilometer stretch of water that serves as a natural boundary between the park and the KwaJobe tribal land.

Mr. Themba Mazibuko, who established and is the owner of Muzi Pan Canoe Adventures, was born and bred in KwaJobe community in Nhlangano village. He got the inspiration when he completed his trainings in Guarding from the Southern African Wildlife College. The Guarding Trainings were about nature, culture, and marine life. Post completing his Guarding Trainings, he is now a qualified tour guide. Muzi Pan Canoe Adventures was established and registered in 2005 and funded by the National Department of Tourism. So, to date, Muzi Pan Canoe Adventures has been running for 18 years.

The tourist site faces ecological challenges, notably the rapid increase of water hyacinth due to a lack of natural predators, enough space, favourable temperature conditions, and a surplus of nutrients, aggravated by heavy metal pollution in the lake.

Themba employs dedicated individuals from the community who diligently monitor and manage the growth of water hyacinth, ensuring the preservation of this precious ecosystem. The collected water hyacinth is then used as animal feed or undergoes processing to enhance soil quality as compost for the soil.

Muzi Pan offers visitors a unique opportunity to connect with nature and find serenity amidst breathtaking views next to the dam. The tranquil atmosphere and temperate climate make it a welcoming retreat, where a range of activities beckon, including canoeing and birdwatching. Themba is not only a fantastic guide for canoeing, but also a passionate steward of the land. He charges R250 p/p for 2 hours for a great canoeing experience.
Prior to the Covid-19 pandemic, tourists would visit the site daily. Now, tourists visit 2-3 times a week and that is highly dependent on the weather.

To give back, Themba gives his community a percentage of his earnings, which encourages other individuals to get involved in Eco-tourism and provides a much-needed source of income. He hired security from his local community and individuals from said community come to sell their product to tourists, or they sell during special occasions. Ultimately, his wish for Muzi Pan is to uplift the community by creating job opportunities. Credited and non-credited trainings are provided to the staff by the government.

Muzi Pan Canoe Adventures extends a warm invitation to explore the place. They offer canoeing excursions, birdwatching adventures, fishing trips, and beautiful cultural experiences. Visitors can savour traditional cuisine and join in on traditional healing practices amongst other activities. The site is also open to those who wish to host events, from picnics to weddings and birthday parties, ensuring it remains a vibrant hub of community engagement.

For nature enthusiasts and birdwatchers, the best time to visit Muzi Pan is during the summer months. This season brings an increase in the density and diversity of bird species, with the possibility of spotting over 120 different birds during a single visit. Muzi Pan Canoe Adventures is not just a destination; it’s an opportunity to connect with the untamed beauty of nature, promoting conservation and offering unique cultural experiences, all while making a meaningful contribution to the surrounding ecosystem.