Use Rough Guides' trusted partners for great rates. There is still some disagreement over what to call these early hunter-gatherers. Contained in a relatively small area to the west of the heartland is a series of nineteenth-century battlefield sites, where Zulus and Boers, then Zulus and the British, and finally Boers and Brits came to blows. The isigodlo, or royal enclosure, has been partially reconstructed with traditional Zulu beehive huts that you can wander round, while the site museum has a model showing the full original arrangement. The San hunted and gathered on the subcontinent for a considerable period – paintings in Namibia date back 25,000 years. Central Zululand – the Zulu heartland – radiates out from the unlovely modern town of Ulundi, some 30km west of the Hluhluwe-Imfolozi Park. 12 hours. You’ll need to be totally self-sufficient and obey wilderness rules, taking a trowel and toilet paper with you and not fouling natural water with anything – which means carrying water away from the streams to wash in. Culture is now identified based on shared beliefs, shared values and a shared understanding of the world rather than a particular nation state. To the north and south of Durban lie Africa’s most developed beaches, known as the North and South coasts: stretching along the shore from the Eastern Cape border in the south to the Tugela River in the north, this 250km ribbon of holiday homes is South Africa’s busiest and least enticing coastal strip. Also on the R102 is the grave of one of the ANC’s best-loved leaders, Albert Luthuli, at Groutville. Despite its compact size, Hluhluwe-Imfolozi is home to 84 mammal species and close to 350 varieties of birds. Containing more than three thousand examples of traditional Zulu arts and crafts, the brilliant Vukani Zulu Cultural Museum is housed in a purpose-built structure on the grounds of Fort Nongqayi. KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa’s most African province, has everything the continent is known for – beaches, wildlife, mountains and accessible ethnic culture. As the turtles are easily disturbed, only a few licensed operators are allowed to escort visitors to watch the turtles at night. This heralded the rebirth of South Africa’s trade unions and reawakened anti-apartheid activity, sparking the final phase of the country’s road to democracy. Herbivores include blue wildebeest, buffalo, giraffe, hippo, impala, kudu, nyala and zebra. If you don’t want to carry a backpack and sleep in caves or huts, it’s feasible to base yourself at one of the KZN Wildlife camps and set out on day hikes, of which there are endless choices. KwaZulu-Natal experiences considerable variations in climate, from the occasional heavy winter snowstorms of the Ukhahlamba Drakensberg to the mellow, sunny days and pleasant sea temperatures a couple of hundred kilometres away along the subtropical coastline, which offers a temperate climate year-round. Today, the celebration is attended by a who’s who of South African Zulu society; there are speeches by the likes of Inkatha Freedom Party leader Chief Mangosuthu Buthelezi, along with music and fantastic displays of warrior dancing, the men decked out in full ceremonial gear and armed with traditional weapons. The trail is restricted to thirty people per day and tends to get booked out during holiday periods; bookings should be made through KZN Wildlife (kznwildlife.com), where you can also get a map and a trail booklet. Planning to travel here? While the Dolphin Coast is still pretty much dominated by whites, the inland towns of Tongaat and KwaDukuza, linked by the old R102 road, have substantial Zulu and Indian populations, with Indian temples at Tongaat and the Shaka memorial at KwaDukuzu. The Thonga people are one of the original African tribes who left Central Africa between 200AD and 500AD and gave birth to many cultural identities in Southern Africa. By the end of July, Zulu independence had been snuffed, when the British lured the reluctant (and effectively already broken) Zulus, who were now eager for peace, into battle at Ulundi. British in origin, it has a heady mixture of cultural flavours deriving from its Zulu, Indian and white communities. Shakaland offers comfortable beehive huts, with untraditional luxuries such as electricity and en-suite bathrooms. Guided tours take you through the huge range of baskets (a craft at which Zulu culture excels), each made for a specific purpose, the finest of which are the ones by Reuben Ndwandwe, arguably the greatest Zulu basket weaver. Its infamous adjudication sentenced Mandela to 27 years in prison, until his release on February 11, 1990. The benchmark examples here allow you to form an idea of the quality of basketry and crafts you’ll see for sale as you work your way around Zululand. In the High Berg, you’re in the land of spires and great rock buttresses, where the only places to sleep are in caves or, in some areas, huts. North of Eshowe, the winding R66 leaves behind the softer vistas of the Dlinza Forest, the citrus groves and green seas of cane plantations and looks across huge views of the valleys that figure in the creation mythology of the Zulu nation. South African ethnic groups are also found across South Africa's boundaries in neighbouring countries. Low tide is the best time to venture out – a sign on the beach indicates daily tide times. The British set alight Cetshwayo’s capital at Ondini – a fire that blazed for four days – and the king was taken prisoner and held in the Castle in Cape Town. Extinct in Imfolozi until 1958, lions have been reintroduced, and today they number around seventy, although they’re not easy to see and their future hangs in the balance. Note that many beaches shelve steeply into the powerful surf, so only swim where it’s indicated as safe. Other predators present are cheetah, spotted hyena and wild dog. Apart from its attractive setting, interlacing with the Dlinza Forest, the town is home to one of the world’s finest collections of Zulu crafts and has a tour operator offering excellent excursions that take you out to experience some authentic Zulu culture and other aspects of life in Zululand that you would otherwise most likely miss. However, with the global world and the melting pot society found in the United States as well as many other countries, culture is no longer confined to one specific nation state. A memorial to them was erected in 2003, the Spirit of eMakhosini, on a hill 3km up the R34, beyond the junction with the R66 for Ulundi. Howick, 18km northwest of Pietermaritzburg, is recorded as the place where his historic detention began; the actual spot is on the R103, 2km north of a side road heading to the Tweedie junction. Durban scored another first in 1973 when workers in the city precipitated a wildcat strike, despite a total ban on black industrial action. The majority of the white population (about 60%) is of Afrikaans descent, with many of the remaining 40% being of British or European descent. Traditional dress for men consists of animal skins and feathers; the kind of skins indicates the status of the person wearing them. It’s also easier (and safer) to explore if you’re of average fitness. Don’t expect to see “tribal” people who conform to the Zulu myth outside theme parks like Shakaland, near Eshowe. The topography here is characterized by wide, deep valleys incised by the Black and White Imfolozi rivers, with altitudes varying between 60 and 650 metres. Much further afield lie dormitory towns for blacks who commute to work, including the apartheid ghettos of KwaMashu and Inanda to the northwest. Visitors to the Ukhahlamba Drakensberg can stay either in the self-catering and camping options provided by KZN Wildlife, or in hotels or backpacker hostels outside the park (the most feasible option if you don’t have your own transport). Well-meaning people dabbing water on them to make them clearer, or touching them, has also caused them to disappear – so never be tempted. The city is well connected to the rest of South Africa, and with the opening of the King Shaka International Airport, the city is starting to attract international flights as well. As you head north out of Pietermaritzburg on the N3 through the Midlands, you’re roughly tracing the last journey of Nelson Mandela as a free man before his arrest in 1962. This provided the cue for a much-celebrated piece of Victorian melodrama when teenager Dick King heroically rode the 1000km from Durban to Grahamstown in ten days to alert the garrison there, which promptly dispatched a rescue detachment to relieve Durban. The area offers lots of good hiking as well, and several local operators organize pony trekking in the mountains just across the border. Nowadays you’ll find beautifully decorated black-and-white sandals made from recycled rubber tyres, wildly colourful baskets woven from telephone wire, and sjamboks (whips) decorated with bright insulation tape. If you’re not around in September or October, Zululand Eco-Adventures can arrange for you to attend several lower-key Zulu ceremonies that give an authentic, non-touristy insight into various aspects of Zulu life. Today, the area can be explored through Battlefield tours, a memorable way of taking in some of South Africa’s most turbulent history. Other traditional items are beadwork, pottery and Zulu regalia, of which assegais (spears), shields, leather kilts and drums are a few examples. The city of Durban is the industrial hub of the province and the country’s principal harbour. Though visitors generally give the town a miss on the way to the more obvious drama of Ondini and the Battlefields, the place offers a gentle introduction to the Zulu heartland and deserves more than just a passing glance. No single day’s hike is longer than 14km and, although there are some steep sections, this is not a difficult trail – you need to be fit to enjoy it, but not an athlete. However, most people come to Durban because it provides a logical springboard for visiting the region. San artists were also shamans, and their paintings of hunting, dancing and animals mostly depict their religious beliefs rather than realistic narratives of everyday life in the Ukhahlamba Drakensberg. Several historians and anthropologists have plumped for "San", but as the term refers to a language group and not a culture, this isn’t strictly accurate either. Away from the sea, the land is very hilly and green, dotted with sugar-cane fields, banana plantations and palm and pecan nut trees. You can’t take anything too seriously in KwaZulu-Natal. ULUNDI is the former capital of the KwaZulu Bantustan and lies at the centre of the eMakhosini Valley (Valley of the Kings). Inexpensive Indian takeaways – all open very early and usually shut by 5pm – abound in the city centre. By: Beyond Zulu Experience - Day Tours. Even so, the effects of urbanization have led to the use of new materials, or new ways of using old materials. Only one in five hundred will survive to return. In no time you’re into thornveld (acacias, rocky koppies and aloes) and theme park country. Cultural norms are a part of cultural groups and change the way that the individuals within the cultural group interact. Attractive tin boxes made from flattened oil cans, chickens constructed from sheet plastic, and aircraft and little 4WD vehicles carved from wood are just some of the results. Although the fighting is now restricted to isolated – and increasingly rare – incidents, the political rivalry continues. Though the chances of sighting a cetacean are fairly high, you’d be unwise to base a visit solely around this possibility. In startling contrast to the intensively developed 250km ribbon of coastline which runs north and south of Durban, the seaboard to the north of the Dolphin Coast drifts off into some of the wildest and most breathtaking sea frontage in South Africa – an area known as the Elephant Coast. Durban’s city centre grew around the arrival point of the first white settlers, and the remains of the historical heart are concentrated around Francis Farewell Square. It starts at the Sani Pass road, then leads through the foothills of the Southern Drakensberg and winds past eroded sandstone formations, overhangs with San paintings, grassy plains and beautiful valleys with river pools to swim in. A current debate divides historians about the real extent of the Zulu empire during the nineteenth century. When it comes to birds, there are over a dozen species of eagle, as well as other raptors including hawks, goshawks and honey buzzards. Sea turtles from as far afield as Malindi in Kenya (3500km to the north) and Cape Agulhas (2000km west along the South African coastline) come ashore on the beaches of the northern Elephant Coast every year between October and February to lay their eggs. 10. Another road, 11km north of Mkhuze village, snakes north and then east for 133km, eventually connecting with the R22 about 40km south of Kosi Bay. Durban’s huge range of galleries, craft shops and markets makes it one of the best places in the country to pick up Zulu crafts. One of the richest San rock-art repositories in the world, the Ukhahlamba Drakensberg is also a World Heritage Site, with more than six hundred recorded sites hidden all over the mountains (three easily accessible ones are at Giant’s Castle, Injisuthi and Kamberg), featuring more than 22,000 individual paintings by the original inhabitants of the area. Here, along the Elephant Coast, a patchwork of wetlands, freshwater lakes, wilderness and Zulu villages meets the sea at a virtually seamless stretch of sand that begins at the St Lucia Estuary and slips across the Mozambique border at Kosi Bay. Although this is a continuation of the same escarpment that divides the Mpumalanga highveld from the game-rich lowveld of the Kruger National Park and continues into the northern section of the Eastern Cape, when people talk of the Berg, they invariably mean the range in KwaZulu-Natal. Among their number was a young, little-known lawyer called Mohandas Gandhi, who went on to change the history of India. The notable feature of the northern Hluhluwe section is the river of the same name, a slender, slithering waterway, punctuated by elongated pools. Held in mid- to late October in Judea, near Eshowe, the Shembe Festival is the culmination of weeks of endless rituals, dancing and prayers held throughout KwaZulu-Natal. The turtle fills the hole with sand using her front flippers, disguising the place where the eggs are stored, and returns to the sea. As the weather can change rapidly at any time of year, always take sufficient clothing and food. Any one of these would justify conservation, but their confluence around the lake makes this a world-class wilderness. Many liberal writers use the word "Bushmen" in a strictly non-pejorative sense – though the word was originally deeply insulting. The Little Berg, with its gentler summits, rivers, rock paintings, valleys and forests, is equally remote and beautiful. In the second week of September, the Zulu King hosts a four-day celebration at his royal residence at Nongoma. The turtles have survived virtually unchanged for almost a hundred million years and it’s reckoned that loggerhead turtles have been using Maputaland’s beaches to lay their eggs for 60,000 years. It is the ANC, however, which has gained the upper hand in KwaZulu-Natal and is currently in control of the provincial legislature. Then, the following year, a large force of now-hostile Zulus razed the settlement, forcing the British residents to take refuge at sea in the brig Comet. Once in the ocean, the hatchlings swim out to sea where they are carried away by the Agulhas current into the Atlantic or along the Indian Ocean coast. There’s excellent snorkelling at Jesser Point, a tiny promontory at the southern end of the bay. A tiny scoop in the Zululand Coast, SODWANA BAY is the only breach in an almost flawless strand extending 170km from St Lucia to Kosi Bay. As for the weather, summers are warm but wet; expect both dramatic thunderstorms and misty days that block out the views. In a different league, Simunye Zulu Lodge (035 450 0101, www.simunyelodge.co.za),along the D256, off the R34 and 6km north of Melmoth, offers a far more authentic experience of Zulu culture, introducing guests to contemporary ways of life as well as traditional customs. If you’re hankering for something much slicker in the heart of town, head to Ulundi Tapas at The Royal Hotel, where you’ll be served light thali curry dishes (R22–35 each; order a minimum of three) for lunch and dinner in a stylish and contemporary black-and-white dining room. The Inkatha Freedom Party (IFP), formed in 1975 by former ANC Youth League member Mangosuthu Buthelezi and currently the country’s fourth-largest political party, has long been associated with Zulu nationalism and draws most of its support from Zulu-speaking people. Along the Hluhluwe River, keep an eye open for the harmless monitor lizards. On all of these trails, which must be booked through the KZN Wildlife, you’ll be accompanied by an armed ranger; and all gear – including linen and food – is included in the price. In the caves open to the public, you can see depictions of human-like figures in the process of transforming into their power animal. Many people from different cultural groups should be involved from the very beginning in order to promote equal partnership and ownership in the process. KwaZulu-Natal’s people belong to various ethnic groups. The city’s second-largest group is its Indian population, whose mosques, bazaars and temples are juxtaposed with the Victorian buildings of the colonial centre. Shabangu said he was then … Full-Day Isandlwana and Rorke's Drift Battlefield Tour … The sea is clear, silt-free and perfect for spotting some of the 1200 varieties of fish that inhabit the waters off northern KwaZulu-Natal, making it second only to the Great Barrier Reef in its richness. The museum itself sells baskets and pottery by local artists, which far surpass what’s on offer at the on-site crafts shop. The Hluhluwe rises in the mountains north of the park and passes along sandbanks, rock beds and steep cliffs in the game reserve before seeping away into Lake St Lucia to the east. After about two months the eggs hatch, and the entire clutch of hatched turtles will simultaneously race down the beach. Although the beachfront pulls thousands of Jo’burgers down to “Durbs” every year, the city’s main interest lies in its gritty urbanity, a seemingly endless struggle to reconcile competing cultures. KZN INVEST is a business and lifestyle publication that critically unpacks accomplishment and critical challenges in KwaZulu-Natal. Note that the northern KwaZulu-Natal coastal region is malarial. Wild and unpopulated, it’s a paradise for hiking. While Cape Town was becoming a cosmopolitan centre by the 1840s, Durban’s population of barely one thousand lived a basic existence in a near wilderness roamed by lions, leopards and hyenas. However, north of the Tugela River you’ll find some of the most pristine shores in the country. While it certainly can’t match Kruger’s sheer scale (Hluhluwe is a twentieth of the size) or its teeming game populations, its relatively compact 960 square kilometres have a wilder feel. It’s essential to bring a camping stove, food and a sleeping bag. Zulu African beadwork - The Zulu nation is a proud one. South Africa's Big Three: Kruger, Zululand and Swaziland, Complete Cape Town: Wildlife, Wine and Whales, South Africa: Cape Peninsula to Victoria Falls, Road trip South Africa: 5 of the best routes, Plan your tailor-made trip with a local expert, Travel stress-free with local assistance and 24/7 support, The Elephant Coast and Zululand game reserves. However, it’s easy and rewarding to pick out some of the most significant elements in San paintings. Because the continental shelf comes extremely close to shore (near-vertical drops are less than 1km away), it offers very deep waters, much loved by anglers who gather here for some of South Africa’s best deep-sea game fishing, mostly tag and release. Full-Day Hluhluwe Imfolozi Park Big Five Game Drive. However, the theme park just about manages to remain on the acceptable side of exploiting ethnic culture, and offers the chance to sample Zulu food. Cetshwayo emerged victorious and successfully set about rebuilding the state, but too late. Tours for day visitors include an audiovisual presentation about the origin of the Zulus, a guided walk around the huts, an explanation of traditional social organization, spear-making, a beer-drinking ceremony and a buffet lunch with traditional food. Both Ndwandwe and Nala died a few years ago of AIDS. However, serious tensions arose when the white settlers began to annex lands for hunting and farming. Cultural norms help people to communicate with others by providing a common reference point as a resource so that people do not need to develop new rules every time that they meet a new person. Among the others is Five Mile Reef, which is further north and is known for its miniature staghorn corals, while beyond that, Seven Mile Reef is inhabited by large anemone communities and offers protection to turtles and rays, which may be found resting here. You can also lengthen the trail by spending an extra night at Bushmen’s Nek Hut, in an area with numerous caves and rock-art sites. The name AmaZulu literally means the people of heaven. Most famous and largest of the reserves is the Hluhluwe-Imfolozi Park, trampled by a respectable cross section of wildlife that includes all of the Big Five. The southern Imfolozi section takes its name from a corruption of mfulawozi, a Zulu word that refers to the fibrous bushes that grow along its rivers. There’s enough here to keep you busy for a few days. The national park takes in the bay itself, while the desultory collection of shops and an upmarket lodge that pass for the town are 8km to the west, back along the Mbazwana road. No elements found. In a letter from Isaacs to Fynn, uncovered in the 1940s, Isaacs encourages his friend to depict the Zulu kings as “bloodthirsty as you can, and describe frivolous crimes people lose their lives for. South Africans are well acquainted with KwaZulu-Natal’s attractions; it’s the leading province for domestic tourism, although foreign visitors haven’t quite cottoned on to the incredible amount packed into this compact and beautiful region. To enter the spirit world, shamans often tapped into the spiritual power of certain animals. Updates about Important dates and Where you can pose questions that you need to get answers on. It all tends to swell up the work and make it interesting.”. from $147.92. These cultural norms come in categories, such as committee meetings, dinner parties or brainstorming session. You’ll find constant reminders of the old Zulu kingdom and its founder Shaka, including an excellent reconstruction of the beehive-hutted capital at Ondini and the more touristy Shakaland near Eshowe. Built in 1984 as the set for the wildly romanticized TV series Shaka Zulu, Shakaland is a reconstruction of a nineteenth-century Zulu kraal and quite unrepresentative of how people live today. The closest reef to the bay, and consequently the most visited, is Two Mile Reef, 2km long and 900m wide, offering excellent dives. Peoples of Black African descent, mostly Zulu, make up more than four-fifths of the population, while Asians of mostly Indian descent account for about one-tenth and whites of mostly European descent less than one-tenth. Switzerland. Indentured Indian labourers arrived to work in the KwaZulu-Natal cane fields, planting the seeds for South Africa’s lucrative sugar industry and the city’s now substantial Indian community; and Zulus headed south after their conquest by the British, in 1879, to enter Durban’s expanding economy. Hugging the border with Lesotho, South Africa’s premier mountain wilderness is mostly a vast national park officially known as the Ukhahlamba Drakensberg Park. Both mountaineers’ huts and caves must be booked with the KZN Wildlife office you start out from, and you’ll also need to write down your route details in the mountain register. Culture used to be confined to a nation state and was defined by the particular nation state. The festival, known as Umkhosi woMhlanga in Zulu, takes its name from the riverbed reeds that play a significant role in Zulu life. Two excellent bases for walking are Injisuthi in the Giant’s Castle Game Reserve, or Thendele in the Royal KwaZulu-Natal National Park. Sometimes the elands are painted in layers to increase their spiritual potency. The second half of the nineteenth century was marked by the city’s considerable industrial development and major influxes of other groups. The availability of cheap plastic crockery and enamelware has significantly eroded the production of traditional ceramics and woven containers for domestic use. The lake is flanked by mountainous dunes covered by forest and grassland, whose peaks soar to an astonishing 200m above the beach to form a slender rampart against the Indian Ocean. British in origin, it has a heady mixture of cultural flavours deriving from its Zulu, Indian and white communities. The Battle of Ulundi Memorial, just outside town on the tarred road to the Cengeni Gate of the Hluhluwe-Imfolozi Park, is the poignant spot marking the final defeat of the Zulus. One of the best and most up-to-date introductions to rock art is the slim booklet by David Lewis-Williams, Rock Paintings of the Natal Drakensberg, available from most decent bookshops in the area. His visionary first novel, Cry, the Beloved Country, focused international attention on the plight of black South Africans and sold millions of copies worldwide. The name ESHOWE has an onomatopoeic Zulu derivation, evoking the sound of the wind blowing through the trees. The two cultures conception of knowledge, the sciences and humanities, with the social sciences poised precariously in between, was at its apogee during the As the San started to take cattle from farmers, whites came to regard these people as vermin; they felt free to hunt the San in genocidal campaigns in the Cape, and later in other areas, including the Ukhahlamba Drakensberg, until they were wiped off the South African map. In-depth, easy-to-use travel guides filled with expert advice. 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