KwaZulu Natal Tourist AttractionsThe Zululand Region
Just north of the Dolphin Coast, in a malaria-free area, Zululand extends up to Richard’s Bay along the north coast of KwaZulu Natal and inland into the rural heart of KwaZulu Natal, extending north to Pongola, and including the little towns of Ulundi and Vryheid that lie on the border of the Battlefields Route.
Lying beneath the baking heat of a subtropical sun, Zululand is how many regard KwaZulu Natal in their minds eye - peaceful, green hills, waving grasslands, abundant forests, unhurried lifestyle, and a soil imbued with the strength of the Zulu nation who fought for this land.
It is thus an area rich in symbolism and tradition, and the age-old Zulu culture remains today, as visitors are invited into the heart of Zulu villages like Shakaland and Dumazulu where one can visit a sangoma, watch a rural wedding ceremony and experience Zulu hospitality. Learn also about life in King Dingane’s capital uMgungundlovu.
Zululand lies on the brink of both the Battlefields Route and Drakensberg, yet this land that is home to tea plantations, cattle farms and pretty little inland towns is also rich in wildlife.
There are numerous parks, farms and nature reserves - including the Siyaya Coastal Park, the Umlalazi Nature Reserve, and the Amatikulu Nature Reserve - in an area dedicated to conservation.
The Zululand Birding Route, with over 650 species of birds, offers an incredible diversity of bird species with over 30 local guides and a series of useful brochures and information packs linking the top 70 birding spots in the area on 14 local routes. Dlinza, one of the most beautiful forests of Zululand, lies in the Dlinza Nature Reserve close to Eshowe, one of the finest places to spot birds, hike and see wild fig and African plum trees.
Popular Towns in Zululand
Overnight? Accommodation in Babanango
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...
More information and photographs: Babanango Information
Overnight? Accommodation in Empangeni
Empangeni, a town about 160 km from Durban on the R34 just off the N2, is positioned in the hilly countryside of the Uthungulu district. The area around Empangeni brings to mind sugarcane plantations and hot, sticky, languid days. It...
More information and photographs: Empangeni Information
Overnight? Accommodation in Eshowe
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...
More information and photographs: Eshowe Information
Overnight? Accommodation in Gingindlovu
Originally named Gingindlovu, meaning swallower of the Elephant in Zulu, by Cetshwayo when he won the struggle with his brother Mbulazi over the Zulu throne, Gingindlovu is also on the Battlefields Route in northern Zululand...
More information and photographs: Gingindlovu Information
Overnight? Accommodation in Hluhluwe
The village of Hluhluwe is in the heart of Zululand on South Africa’s east coast, home to the Zulu kings Dingiswayo and Shaka, who allegedly prompted the very first conservation laws and the oldest game reserve in the country - the Hluhluwe...
More information and photographs: Hluhluwe Information
Stay? Accommodation in Kwambonambi
Lying inland of Richards Bay in a north westernly direction, Kwambonambi, or Kwa Mbonambi as it's sometimes written, is situated part way between Empangeni and St Lucia on the N2 that passes through these northern reaches of KwaZulu-Natal...
More information and photographs: Kwambonambi Information
Overnight? Accommodation in Louwsburg
Louwsburg has a Zulu name, Ngotshe, which means “cave”, although just where the cave is to which the name alludes, is anyone’s guess. Benedictines began doing pastoral work around Louwsburg in 1926 and were offered a property in Louwsburg...
More information and photographs: Louwsburg Information
Overnight? Accommodation in Magudu
Surrounding the rural town of Magudu - that is said to have once been the home of Magudu, the Rain Queen (a title that passes from mother to daughter) - are an ever-increasing number of game farms and bush and safari experiences that offer...
More information and photographs: Magudu Information
Overnight? Accommodation in Meerensee
Meerensee, sometimes spelt Meer en See, is a pretty, upmarket suburban area that lies on the edge of Richards Bay Harbour between Alkantstrand, the local beach, and an inland lake. Hence its name - Meer en See - Lake and Sea. Include in the...
More information and photographs: Meerensee Information
Overnight? Accommodation in Melmoth
Melmoth is essentially regarded as a good base for travellers wanting to visit places of interest close to the town, all with an hour’s drive. uMgungundlovu is the historic royal homestead of Dingaan and where Piet Retief and his party of...
More information and photographs: Melmoth Information
Overnight? Accommodation in Monzi
The major attraction to staying in Monzi is its proximity to the iSimangaliso Wetland Park World Heritage Site (formerly known as the Greater St Lucia Wetlands Park), but more commonly known simply as St Lucia. Monzi lies virtually 15 kilometres...
More information and photographs: Monzi Information
Overnight? Accommodation in Mtunzini
Known as ‘the place of shade’, Mtunzini is a coastal town in Zululand, perched on a hill overlooking the beach with a beautiful dune forest and an estuary lined with mangrove swamp forest. The entire town was declared a Conservancy in...
More information and photographs: Mtunzini Information
Overnight? Accommodation in Nongoma
Nongoma, considered one of the busiest little towns in rural KwaZulu Natal, lies north west of Hluhluwe and is fast becoming a major tourist attraction, thanks to King Goodwill Zwelethini, who makes Nongoma his home. Derived from the Zulu word...
More information and photographs: Nongoma Information
Overnight? Accommodation in Pongola
The town of Pongola is small town just 10 km from the Swaziland border in the foothills of the Lebombo Mountains. Rich in Anglo and Zulu Boer War history, Pongola is surrounded by 50 km² of sugarcane and subtropical fruit plantations...
More information and photographs: Pongola Information
Overnight? Accommodation in Pongolapoort
Lying in the heart of the Lebombo Mountains on the northern shores of the Dam (also known as Lake Jozini), the town of Pongolapoort is one of a number of places around the dam that include Jozini, Nkonkoni, Candover and Kingholm. It is...
More information and photographs: Pongolapoort Information
Overnight? Accommodation in Richards Bay
Richards Bay began its life as a makeshift harbour, set up by Sir Frederick Richards, after whom it is also named, during the Anglo-Boer War of 1879. For many years, the town was little more than a sleepy fishing town until a hydrographic survey...
More information and photographs: Richards Bay Information
Overnight? Accommodation in Riverview
In the midst of Zululand, just south of Mtubatuba, lies the little village of Riverview, sometimes written also as River View. The little town is convenient for a number of reasons, not least because it lies just east of the N2, making it an easy...
More information and photographs: Riverview Information
Overnight? Accommodation in Ubombo
Set in the heart of Maputaland, Ubombo lies in the midst of the Lebombo Mountains between the Mkuze Game Reserve and the Pongolapoort or Jozini Dam. It is an ideal spot at which to stopover or from which to explore the area - given over to...
More information and photographs: Ubombo Information
Overnight? Accommodation in Ulundi
The town of Ulundi, in the heart of Zululand, is set among majestic hills and the rugged valleys of the White Umfolozi River. The former capital of the Zulu Kingdom, Ulundi straddles Route 66, between Nongoma and Melmoth. Historically, it is...
More information and photographs: Ulundi Information
Overnight? Accommodation in Vryheid
Vryheid lies close to the site of one of the more infamous battles of the Battlefields Route, the battle of Blood River, fought on the river of the same name in 1838 when the Boers confronted the Zulus under Dingaan. The town of Vryheid...
More information and photographs: Vryheid Information