KwaZulu Natal DestinationsEshowe, Zululand
The sound of wind blowing through the forest is thought to have inspired Eshowe’s name, although it is more likely named after the isiZulu word ‘ishongwe’, which refers to the prevalence of milkbush shrubs in the area. Only 25 km from the beach, lagoons and wetlands, Eshowe lies in the Uthungulu district of Zululand and was King Cetshwayo’s headquarters when in 1860 he built a kraal here.
Eshowe’s position on a plateau earned it the status of capital of Zululand when it was annexed by the British in 1887 and the ‘Beau Geste’ type of fort, which now houses the Zululand Historical Museum, is one of the sites in Eshowe that forms part of the Battlefields Route in KwaZulu Natal.
Eshowe no longer retains this status but its location protects it from the sub-tropical humidity that affects this region and has made it a popular holiday destination for centuries - initially with Zulu kings and today with holiday makers - to escape the heat at the coast.
Activities include the 200 ha Dlinza forest, which offers some wonderful walks and trails, the only aerial boardwalk in the Southern Hemisphere and is home to birds, vervet monkeys, wild pigs, blue and red duikers, bushbuck and other creatures; the Entumi Nature Reserve - another indigenous forest with some wonderful examples of birdlife; Mpushini Falls and the Vukani Museum, which houses examples of Zulu pottery, basketry, beadwork and tapestries.