Ulundi airport takes to the skies, allowing more people to fly into Zululand. Prince Mangosuthu Buthelezi Airport is located a kilometer south of  Ulundi CBD.

It serves the communities of Ulundi, Nongoma and Melmoth. Given a category 4-5 level as an airport, Ulundi airport boasts bigger hangar space and parking for aircraft. Along with Federal Air direct flights are now possible to Durban and Pietermaritzburg.

Ulundi Airport Takes to the Skies Gets People Flying to Zululand

The new connection will link Ulundi Airport with Durban’s Virginia Airport.

Business people, government and tourists will be able to fly directly to Ulundi from Virginia Airport every weekday. – Zululand District Mayor, Zanele kaMagwaza-Msibi

Image Source: www.battlescenes.co.za

A Developing District

Ulundi is the one time capital of the Zulu kingdom and remains a hub for tourism in the area. It is also home to the final battle of the Anglo-Zulu war of 1879. Places of interest include King Mpande Zulu hut, which sits on the site of the king’s kraal at Ondini.

Direct flights from the biggest two cities KwaZulu-Natal now make it easier to visit the historical battlefields. It also helps those interested in eco-tourism, especially to the eMakhosini Ophathe Heritage Park, which sits on the banks of the White Umfolozi River.

The Road Problem

It is a fact admitted by the Zululand District Municipality that the R34 between Eshowe and Melmoth is one of the most dangerous stretches of road in the country. The 5 kilometer portion of road takes approximately 30,000 people a month, including 6,000 governmental cars. Journeys to or from Pietermaritzburg take about three hours and cost a small fortune in fuel costs. In 2006, this stretch of road was home to 400 accidents that killed 208 people. In the same year across the whole of South Africa, 5,664 people died in car crashes. Plane crashes killed four. This has been used as a second reason for backing the development of safe air travel for people in Ulundi. The question is whether all 6,000 governmental people will switch to air travel and who will pay for it.

Image Source: www.battlefieldsregionguides.co.za

Good For Business

As well as helping public officials and tourists get to and from the refion, Ulundi airport’s development will prove excellent for business development. This has been a central plank in the city’s development and the reason for both Federal Air and Zululand District Municipality to pour funds into the venture. According to the Federal Air press release the main aim of the development is to help the “business people and government officials who currently travel by road between the cities of Ulundi and Pietermaritzburg.”

Consequences for Travelers

If the stats are to be believed, the direct flights will make journeys to and from Ulundi a lot safer than they were before. The regional development will only help to aid the tourism industry in Zululand, which is heavily based around safaris for black rhinos. The safer roads will not lessen the need to travel with insurance, but the direct flights may make it easier for some people to access the city of Ulundi. It may also become possible to more easily travel with preexisting medical conditions because safe travel may help make for cheaper travel insurance.

It is important to concentrate on the positives for travelers. Previously, getting to Ulundi and its beautiful and interesting sites meant travelling by road along a relatively dangerous route, but by flying to the region, travelers will be able to make Ulundi part of a larger tour to South Africa as a whole. It connects Zululand to the nation a little more. This means being able to include Ulundi as a distraction or side-quest from visiting Durban or Pietermaritzburg or as a prelude to the Kruger National Park which sits further north on the other side of Swaziland. Hopefully, the development will have a great impact on the tourism industry as a whole in the area.

Article by Eve Westbrook

 

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