Howick Falls is located in the village of Howick, outside Pietermaritzburg, where the Umgeni River plunges over 95m into a gorge, earning the site the Zulu name kwaNogqaza, or place of the tall one. Howick came into being because early Natal pioneers were in the habit of crossing the Umgeni above the falls and a village grew up to service their needs.
Quite a number of these travelers were swept away in the act of crossing and were swept over the falls to their deaths. These accidents and a number of suicides, which have taken place at the site, have lent the falls a slightly sinister air in the minds of locals. This is intensified by the belief, among many Zulus, that the pool at the bottom of the falls is the residence of the inkanyamba, a huge snake-like creature. It has allegedly been sighted a number of times over the years including in 1995, when local restaurateur Bob Teeney claimed to have seen it and offered a reward for photographic proof of its existence.