KwaZulu Natal Tourist AttractionsOndini Historical Reserve
Where? It is a few kilometres up the road from the Battle of Ulundi Memorial, just outside Ulundi.
Ulundi (uluNdi) lies on the banks of the White Mfolozi River on a hill overlooking the valley below. Its name means 'the high place' and, given its advantage over any approaching enemy, it is small wonder this served as the military capital of the Zulu king.
Ulundi's Ondini Historical Reserve is one of the most interesting visits on this part of the coast. The reserve is a part reconstruction of Cetshwayo, King of the Zulus', royal homestead – including a series of traditional Zulu beehive huts, a cultural museum and site museum that outlines the history of the Zulu people and their struggle against British colonialism.
Visitors can wander around the site at leisure, as well as visit the compelling collection of beads, craftwork, weapons and other Zulu cultural items.
After the Battle of Ulundi everything in the complex was destroyed by the British. Cetshwayo was captured and exiled to prison in Cape Town, where he was to remain puzzled by British intentions, knowing they had nothing to warrant his continued incarceration. The impossible ultimatum to the Zulus to disarm (1878),issued by the then British High Commissioner Sir Bartle Frere, that had led to the battle, was issued under a flimsy pretext at best, and without the full backing of British parliament.
Only later was Cetshwayo allowed to travel to London where he met with Queen Victoria, who allowed him to return to South Africa to rule a portion of Zululand (1883). The full history is available in the historical reserve.
Ondini includes a picnic site and a traditional umuzi (homestead), a group of beehive huts, in which one can book an overnight stay.
The reserve is open Monday to Friday 8am to 4pm, and on weekends between 9am and 4pm. It is a few kilometres up the road from the Battle of Ulundi Memorial, just outside Ulundi on the dirt road to the Cengeni Gate of the Hluhluwe-Imfolozi Park.