KwaZulu Natal Tourist AttractionsShakaland Zulu Cultural Village
Where? Normanhurst Farm, R66, Eshowe, Zululand, KwaZulu-Natal
How? Call +27 (0)35 460-0912
South Africa has a plethora of African cultures, but the Zulu one is, undoubtedly, one of its most significant in terms of history, heritage and modern identity. Shakaland is an attraction in the scenic province of KwaZulu-Natal, along the east coast of South Africa. It pays homage to the Zulu nation’s history, explores its contribution to modern society, and allows visitors from all four corners of the planet to experience a taste of this culture.
Shakaland has been hailed as one of the best Zulu experiences on the continent, thanks to its authenticity and the sheer element of fun that infuses every part of it. This is, technically, a replica of a traditional Zulu homestead. But, in reality, it is so much more.
Shakaland is on the site of the Shaka Zulu series, which was immensely popular in South Africa and further afield during the 1980’s. This told the story of the man of the same name, who was the king and an acclaimed warrior. Born in the late 18th century, King Shaka played an integral role in the identity of his people, and in their wars and techniques. In fact, it was through these fighting techniques that Shaka Zulu managed to unite the Northern Nguni folk in their battles against Europeans and Boers. After the film, all but one of the Zulu kraals were destroyed. The last one is what remains today and forms the basis of Shakaland.
Visitors to Shakaland are invited to attend (and even participate in) a traditional ceremony, learn about the customs of these fascinating folk, consult with a natural herbalist (inyanga) or a witch doctor (sangoma), and sample some of the homemade beer that is characterised by its density and one-of-a-kind flavour.
The arts and crafts on display are nothing short of impressive in their diversity and colourful loveliness. Significantly, the Zulus, like so many other African groups, use the art of beadwork as an important medium to represent one’s status or to convey messages to others. These items are for sale, and will make for stunning gifts for those back home, or keepsakes of your time in Shakaland.
In addition to the standard cultural tour (which is an overnight adventure), there is the Nandi Experience, which is a three-hour excursion that is fun and exciting. This includes visiting King Shaka’s kraal, overlooking the gorgeous Phobane Lake, and an audiovisual portrayal of the life of this king. Then, you will move on to visit the local folk weaving baskets, making beer and crafting ceramics. Round this experience off by enjoying traditional beer with the chief and his wives.
Because Shakaland bears such important testimony to the South African heritage, it is also a popular spot for educational tours, school excursions and team building activities. In addition, it is located amidst some of the prettiest vistas that the country has to offer. Rolling hills, verdant valleys and endless African skies are the order of the day, and assure visitors of spectacular photographs and lifelong memories.