Did you know?
Traditionally many African tribes use beadwork to convey messages.
Shakaland Zulu cultural village is a unique resort built amid thorn trees and aloes that was originally the set of the movie Shaka Zulu, which documented the life of the most influential leader of the Zulu empire. Shaka Zulu was credited with uniting many of the Northern Nguni people through military genius. Several authentic Zulu kraals were constructed for the film, but were all set alight after the shoot bar one, that of Shaka's father and today, Shakaland.
This South African Zulu village offers a comprehensive Zulu experience, from foot-stomping tribal dancing by assegai-wielding warriors in traditional animal skins to consultations with a sangoma (spiritual leader believed to have the ability to communicate with the ancestors) and an inyanga (traditional herbalist).
Shakaland is divided into the 'home of the Zulus' and 55 hotel rooms in the form of beehive huts, but equipped with modern creature comforts including DStv.
Visitors can choose between a three-hour midday tour programme, or, for a truly enriching experience affording a better understanding of the Zulu nation, its people and their intriguingly customs, there's the two-day 'culture tour'. This includes a video explaining the origin and history of the Zulu people, followed by an introduction to traditional Zulu social systems, fighting formations, the keeping of the home, the sangoma, the inyanga, beadwork, pottery, beer brewing and spear throwing.
The surroundings of Shakaland Zulu village are idyllic. The hills to its east offer a splendid view over the Mhlatuze Valley, where Shaka's military stronghold, KwaBulawayo, once stood. Today there is virtually nothing left of the 19th-century citadel that commanded so much of the Southern African region.
Below Shakaland is Goedertrou Dam, on which you can take a spectacular sunset boat cruise.
Travel tips & Planning info
Who to contact
Tel: +27 (0)35 460 0912
How to get here
From Durban/King Shaka International Airport (KSIA), travel north on the N2 highway. Turn off at the Dokodweni Toll Plaza and look out for the Eshowe/Gingindlovu/Route 66 signs. Proceed on the R66, passing the Eshowe turn-off. Look out of for the Shakaland sign on your left.
Best time to visit
KwaZulu-Natal is warm even in winter, so any time throughout the year.
Tour guides will take you around the village.
Length of stay
Weekend or half a week.
What to pack
A hat, walking shoes and sunblock.
Where to stay
At Shakaland, part of the Protea hotel group.
The resort offers daily cultural tours for those interested in learning about Zulu culture.