Kosi Bay is the original and natural home of the Tsonga people. The Vatsonga people have inhabited this area of land for around 1000 years. Kosi Bay and Maputo Bay was once a complete land area belonging to the Tsonga tribe. When the British colonised South Africa, the area of Kosi Bay was appropriated to Natal, while Maputo was annexed to Mozambique. Up to the early 1900’s Kosi Bay was also known as Tembeland or Thongaland.
Kosi Bay is the only known area to still use primitive fish traps as a way to create a source of income for the inhabitants of the area. Originally this form of fishing was employed in areas north of the Kosi Estuary and as far as Port St John in the south.
The principle of the fish kraals is very simple. In the estuary and shallow waters of the lakes, guide fences, known as umtamana or umteyula, are built at right angles to the flow of the water and to the shore- line. These fences are crescent or hook-shaped, with the concave side facing upstream. Its function is to prevent fish passing through to the sea and instead to guide them to a heart shaped enclosure, where the fish are trapped either in a basket, known as umono, or in a valve like structure, ijele, where they are speared.
The fish kraals have been passed from father to son, generation after generation. The fish kraals are carefully regulated by the Tribal Authority for the area. This same authority gives each family in the area the right to establish and maintain a particular fish kraal site.
Kosi Bay, although in a remote part of northern Kwa-Zulu Natal is well worth a visit for the beauty of its isolated white beaches, palm-fringed reed channels, lakes and waterways. Although situated in a rural area Kosi Bay accommodation is of a high standard. The Kosi Bay House is a self-catering chalet that accommodates up to 16 people, complete with all the facilities to make your vacation one to remember.