Historical sites in KwaZulu-Natal
1The Battlefields Route
The Anglo-Zulu battlefields of Isandlwana and Rorke's Drift are a wonderful historic attraction commemorated on site near the town of Dundee. Excellent and knowledgeable tour guides give accurate accounts of the long and bloody battles fought here in 1879. An indication of the bravery shown in the face of battle is the 11 Victoria Crosses awarded, the most for any battle in history.
2The uKhahlamba-Drakensberg Park
The central part of the Drakensberg mountain range is a World Heritage Site in recognition of its natural magnificence. Massive basalt buttresses and glowing sandstone cliffs reach 3 000km in height and stretch for 150km in length. The 'Berg has a diversity of habitats which sustain endemic birds and plant species. Caves and rock shelters feature hundreds of San rock paintings of up to 4 000 years old.
unique San rock art sites and the mountain range’s natural magnificence.
3The Royal Village at Ondini
The KwaZulu Cultural Museum, erected on the site where the Zulu King Cetshwayo built his kraal, offers great insight into local culture. The Museum focuses on the Nguni-speaking peoples, from their origins to the great Zulu nation they have become. Worth a special mention is the Museum's comprehensive beadwork collection.
4eThekwini City Hall
The eThekwini (formerly Durban) City Hall is a replica of the Belfast City Hall in Northern Ireland. It was built during the early 1900s in neo-Baroque style and today is home to the city's municipal chambers, a public library, auditorium, the Durban Art Gallery and the Natural Science Museum. An Egyptian mummy and a dodo skeleton are housed in the Museum.
5Luthuli Farewell Square
Luthuli Farewell Square is named in honour of early trader Lieutenant Francis Farewell and liberation struggle leader Albert Luthuli. Although small, the square contains the most monuments of any place in South Africa. These include statues in honour of Queen Victoria, a Boer War memorial, a Cenotaph honouring the fallen in both World Wars among other memoria. The square is opposite the eThekwini (formerly Durban) City Hall.
6City Hall, Pietermaritzburg
The largest red-brick building in the southern hemisphere, the Pietermaritzburg City Hall was built in 1893, destroyed by fire in 1895 and rebuilt in 1901. Declared a South African National Landmark in 1969, it remains a fine example of late Victorian architecture and features a prominent bell-tower.
7The Gandhi Monument, Pietermaritzburg
A tribute to the Indian lawyer-turned-pacifist who confronted racism in South Africa, decided to fight racial discrimination against Indians and in so doing, changed the course of history in this country. Gandhi's unique, non-violent resistance efforts – Satyagraha – have been acknowledged in the form of a bronze statue of the man, clad in traditional attire, which stands in Church Street, in the city centre.
8Sri Sri Radhanath Temple of Understanding
The the largest Hare Krishna temple in Africa, known as the Sri Sri Radhanath Temple of Understanding, is found in the Indian suburb of Chatsworth, south of eThekwini (Durban). Built in 1969 in the shape of a lotus flower, the temple features marble tiles, gold-tinted windows, brass ornaments, crystal chandeliers and golden statuettes. Ceiling friezes depict Lord Krishna and Chinese lanterns add to the opulence. A wide range of freshly prepared Indian vegan foods are on sale for a nominal fee at the temple.
9The Umgeni Road Hindu Temple
Officially the Sri Vaithianatha Easvarar Alayam Temple, this ornate and eye-catching edifice stands as a testament to the area’s rich Hindu history and spiritual roots. Built in 1883, it accommodates all forms of traditional Hinduism and is one of the oldest and largest temples in South Africa, with architecture and a central shrine echoing those found in the southern parts of India.
10Riverside Soofie Mosque and Mausoleum
This mosque – and 11 other mosques – was built by Hajee Soofie, who immigrated to South Africa in 1895. He also oversaw the construction of 13 madresas and the layout of many cemeteries. On his death in 1911 Hajee Soofie was interred in the octagonal mausoleum that he had designed.