The Howick Falls are infamous for suicides, accidents and murder cases. Many people have over the years been swept over the falls, particularly during the early days of the discovery as some people thought that the best place to cross the Umgeni River was above the waterfall. The first death historically recorded happened in 1851 and over 40 more deaths have occurred at the falls since then.
The majority of these deaths have been the result of suicides, but murder and accidental falls have also been blamed – maintaining and contributing to the legendary reputation of the waterfall.
In 1999, American professional BASE jumper and skydiver Jeb Corliss had a near fatal experience after a base jump into the Howick Falls where his parachute opening went markedly asymmetric, forcing him to fly into the down-pouring water as seen in the video below.
Local legend has it that only the traditional healers of South Africa (locally known as Sangomas) are able to approach the water safely, but for the sole purpose of offering prayers. According to local legend, the Inkanyamba, a dreadful creature with the body of a serpent lives in the waterfall. The monster is said to have more power during the hot seasons, when its wrath sends storms around the region.
In addition to the powerful aspect of the serpent, over 40 deaths have been reported since the early discoveries of the falls by European explorers in the nineteenth century.
Despite or probably because of its notorious history, Howick Falls has become a major tourist destination in South Africa. In addition to the outrageous deaths that have attracted the attention of many, the waterfall offers magnificent views as high-speed turbulent jets of water plunges into the bottom. The view is bewildering and tranquil at the same time. If you are the adventurous kind, you can stroll from the viewing area along Morling Road to the waterfall. Along the road, there is a small coffee shop for drinks. The attraction is truly incredible and reflects the pure beauty of Howick and Howick falls and the danger and fun of being so near to such as notorious body of turbulent water.
The viewing platform offers magnificent views of Howick Falls and is easily accessible via the Morling Road. There’s also an information board covering more fascinating stories about the waterfall. An important tip is to visit during the day. Be careful when walking near the waterfall as the Umgeni River is known to be dangerous.
Howick Falls is famous for its mythical snake like monster, known to the locals as the Inkanyamba. While most would assume that its just a myth, there are many locals who have claimed to have seen it in person, and one local even snapped a photo of it which is on display it his local Howick Falls restaurant! Still not convinced? Watch the video and decide for yourself!