KwaZulu Natal DestinationsBabanango, Zululand
In the northern reaches of Zululand is the little town of Babanango en route to Dundee on the R68. An unusual name, Babanango translates as ‘Father there she is’ - ‘Ubaba, nangu’ - and evidently refers to a small child who was lost on the slopes of the mist-shrouded hill, now a landmark in the area.
Babanango itself is the highest village in Zululand and an ideal place to stay if you’re intending on following the Battlefields Route, which pays homage to a number of fierce Anglo-Boer and Anglo-Zulu battles that ensued during the late 1800s and early 1900s in this part of the world. Like every town on the route, Babanango has its own story to tell. It was originally part of a land grant to European farmers in 1885 from King Dinizulu. It became the site of a number of offences by the Boers in an attempt to take Natal from the British and battles between Boer and Zulus.
Babanango is also on the Zululand Birding Route, a network of 14 self-drive routes with over 600 recorded species of bird. The route is focused on conserving these birds and their habitats by promoting and developing birding tourism.
There is no shortage of hiking trails in the area. The Umfolosi Thongaland trail, which starts at Babanango, traverses the countryside for which Zululand is famed - rolling, green hills and tranquil, waterfall-rich valleys, home to some of the world’s greatest variety of animals. The Trans-Zululand trail is a six day trail, which starts close to Babanango and follows the Umfolozi River through the reserve of the same name to St Lucia, Sodwana Bay and finally ends at Manzibomvu.