History of Harding

The Harding area once known as "No Mans Land", was inhibited by Pondo and Xhosa people long before the Arrival of European Settlers. Legend has it that the first European to put down roots was a sailor who was wrecked off the Pondoland coast in 1872. In those days it was a wild, untamed land, with hunters and traders roaming the hills and skirmishes taking place between the local tribes, including the Zulus who moved down from the North. Names like Gun Drift provide a clue to this way of life.

In 1873 attempts were made by the colonial government of Natal to exert control over "No Mans Land" and Harding was established as a military outpost but it wasn't until 1917 and the arrival of the narrow-guage railway from the coast that it began to develop into the agricultural and trading center it is today.

The Harding district is a rich environmental treasure trove situated in the shadow of the 2287 meter-high Ngele Mountains. This is forest country with vast commercial plantations. One of the largest unspoilt indigenous forests in the province clings to the sloes of the mountain. Here you will find a rich tapestry of huge old hardwood trees such as Yellowwood, Stinkwood, Cape Chestnut, Lemonwood and Knobwood, the entire Weza/Ngele state forest area has been proclaimed as a nature reserve and is home to many small mammals as well as fantastic birds such as the Knysa Loeries, Crowned and Black Eagles and the emerald and crimson splendor of the Narina Trogon. The reserve has a wonderful variety of trails for horse riders, hikers and mountain bikers, and some trout dams for fly fisherman. Below the forest land is predominantly open grasslands sloping down to the river valleys of the Mzimkulu and the Utamvuna where the vegetation is more typical of the dry African thornfield. Here in Mzimkulu valley, plans are being hatched to develop a large game reserve.

Tourist accommodation is available at the Inglei Forest Lodge, a comfortable mountain resort not far from Harding which offers outdoor activities and conference facilities.

Last Updated (Friday, 11 April 2008 13:20)

 
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