The Zululand Region, KwaZulu Natal

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.

Did you know? Once you've booked your hotel or Zululand accommodation, explore the destination pages below for info on attractions, activities and things to do when you visit Zululand.

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.

Did you know? A highlight of the region is undoubtably the Hluhluwe-iMfolozi Game Park. Set in the heart of Zululand this is the oldest game reserve in Africa, where Zulu kings such as Dingiswayo and Shaka hunted and put in place the first conservation laws. Today, Africa's 'Big Five' (lion, elephant, leopard, buffalo and rhinoceros) stalk the flourishing savannah.

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.

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Destinations in the Zululand Region

AmaZulu Game Reserve

Overnight? AmaZulu Game Reserve accommodation
Boasting 10 000 hectares, the Amazulu Private Game Reserve is made up of a varied ecosystem. This diversity includes savannah, mountains and wetlands which makes it the ideal home to the "Big Five" as well as giraffe, warthog and hyena not to mention over...

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 of the mi...

Empangeni

Overnight? Empangeni accommodation
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 is only 15 km away fr...

Eshowe

Overnight? Eshowe accommodation
Book your holiday accommodation in Eshowe for some really spectacular displays of the South African countryside. Eshowe, the oldest town of European settlement in Zululand, lies just below a ridge of hills that are home to an indigenous forest known as D...

Gingindlovu

Overnight? Gingindlovu accommodation
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. Just 15 minutes’ drive fr...

Hlomohlomo

The inland farm country of KwaZulu-Natal, on the east coast of South Africa, is wonderfully pretty in its landscapes. This area offers local travellers and tourists alike the prime opportunity to bask in the untainted loveliness of the country, within rel...

Hluhluwe

Overnight? Hluhluwe accommodation
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 and Umfolozi G...

Isandlwana

Overnight? Isandlwana accommodation
The isolated hill of Isandlwana stands just south east of Rorke's Drift, 170 kilometres north of Durban. At its base lie a number of white boulders that mark the graves from the Battle of Isandlwana, fought on 22 January 1879. It is an eerie sight. ...

Jozini

Overnight? Jozini accommodation
Jozini, a small town in North Eastern KwaZulu Natal on the main route to Mozambique, is synonymous with the dam of the same name - the Jozini or Pongolapoort Dam. This huge dam, on the Pongola River, provides a rather dramatic doorway into Maputaland ...

Kuleni Game Park

Overnight? Kuleni Game Park accommodation
Kuleni Game Park is wonderfully situated in the heart of Southern Maputaland. Within a 1/2 hours drive you can be anywhere you choose. On the beautiful beaches of Sodwana Bay or the famous Hluhluwe Umfolozi Big "5" Game Reserve. The Greater St Lucia Wetla...

Kwambonambi

Overnight? Kwambonambi accommodation
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. Meaning 'pla...

Louwsburg

Overnight? Louwsburg accommodation
In the far northern reaches of KwaZulu Natal, Louwsburg is a little village on the main road to Pongola, about 70 kilometres east of Vryheid and roughly 400 kilometres north of Durban. Essentially this is a rural town supporting the local cattle and maize...

Magudu

Set in the far north western reaches of KwaZulu-Natal, Magudu lies between the Pongolapoort Dam and the Ithala Game Reserve in the heart of the rolling hills of Uphongolo Rural in Zululand. Surrounding the rural town of Magudu - that is said to have on...

Meerensee

Overnight? Meerensee accommodation
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 already attrac...

Melmoth

Overnight? Melmoth accommodation
Melmoth, known as the gateway to the Zulu Highlands, is a picturesque, little town just 200 km north east of Durban and 90 km from the coastal town of Mtunzini. Referred to, in the SA edition of Trivial Pursuit, as having the cleanest air in the count...

Monzi

Overnight? Monzi accommodation
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 outside o...

Mtunzini

Overnight? Mtunzini accommodation
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 1995 and has rec...

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, ngome ...

Paulpietersburg

Overnight? Paulpietersburg accommodation
Paulpietersburg is a small, pretty town nestling in the foothills of the Dumbe Mountain - a big, flat-topped, triangular mountain in the middle of flatlands territory, popular with paragliders and hikers and named after the wild dumbe fruit which grows on...

Pongola

Overnight? Pongola accommodation
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. It is just 270 km fr...

Pongola Nature Reserve

Overnight? Pongola Nature Reserve accommodation
Pongola Nature Reserve is a co-operative conservation project between private landowners, tribal communities and government conservation services, and forms the heart of a large ecological and socio-economically viable "Big Five" reserve. Allied to this q...

Pongolapoort

Overnight? Pongolapoort accommodation
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 also a virtual wil...

Richards Bay

Overnight? Richards Bay accommodation
The town of Richards Bay lies at the sea edge of an ancient floodplain, almost halfway between Durban and Kosi Bay and forms the tourist gateway to Zululand and Maputaland. Richards Bay began its life as a makeshift harbour, set up by Sir Frederick Ri...

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 stopover...

Rorkes Drift

Overnight? Rorkes Drift accommodation
Rorke’s Drift, 46 kilometres southeast of Dundee, describes a natural crossing presented by a rocky outcrop that allows one to cross the Buffalo River on foot. To give one an idea of its significance, just 4 kilometres down from the drift the river enters...

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 a series of und...

Ulundi

Overnight? Ulundi accommodation
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 significa...

Vryheid

Overnight? Vryheid accommodation
Fundamentally a coal mining and beef farming town, Vryheid - from the Afrikaans word for ‘freedom’ - lies roughly 70 kilometres north east of Dundee in Zululand. Vryheid also lies close to the site of one of the more infamous battles of the Battlefield...

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