KwaZulu-Natal's cultural museums
Did you know?
The uKhahlamba-Drakensberg Park World Heritage Site in KwaZulu-Natal is an open-air mountain museum where more than 30 000 examples of Bushman (San) rock art may be viewed on the walls of caves and overhangs.
The fascinating, multi-cultural tapestry of KwaZulu-Natal's past has been beautifully captured in a host of dedicated cultural museums scattered across the length and breadth of the province.
The Campbell Collection in Durban features 18th and 19th century Cape furniture, artwork and indigenous cultural artefacts, while a window on the history and culture of 20th century Durban, with a focus on the Freedom Struggle, is showcased at the KwaMuhle Museum in the city centre.
Durban's early settlements are replicated in the Old Court House Museum, while the Old House Museum provides an example of the architecture and furnishings of the Victorian era. Both are in the Durban city centre.
Eshowe's Vukani Museum exhibits Zulu arts and crafts, while KwaBhekithunga houses a Zulu village and the Zululand Historical Museum, set up in an old fort, showcases Zulu culture and the lives of early Norwegian missionaries.
Dumazulu Traditional Village in Hluhluwe is a living museum where traditional Zulu dancing and cultural craftwork are demonstrated, and the Zulu king Dingane is honoured at the Mgungundlovu Museum.
The history of the Griqua people and their trek from Phillipolis to Kokstad to found the town is chronicled at the East Griqualand Museum in Kokstad.
Apart from being an acclaimed research centre, the Natal Museum in Pietermaritzburg houses a significant collection of fauna, San art and African cultural artefacts in a series of compelling displays.
Archaeology, Zulu culture and King Cetshwayo's Ondini residence are the focus of the KwaZulu-Natal Cultural Museum in Ulundi.
Visit a Voortrekker heritage site in the Voortrekker town of Weenen at the Weenen Museum where memorabilia have been preserved in a building dating back to the 1840s.
Groutville on the north coast near Stanger is home to the Luthuli Museum created in the home once inhabited by Struggle icon Chief Albert Luthuli.
Finally, an excellent library resource on the Anglo-Boer War and ancient agricultural paraphernalia are some of the attractions at the Winterton Museum in Winterton.
The province has many more museums not dedicated solely to cultural heritage. Find a list of these in the planning information.
Travel tips & Planning info
Who to contact
KwaZulu-Natal Museum Service
Tel: +27 (0)33 341 9900
South African Museums Association
Tel: +27 (0)21 461 2315
How to get here
These museums are scattered across the province, from the cities of Durban and Pietermaritzburg to the Midlands and further afield. Contact the KwaZulu-Natal Museum Service for directions to each.
Best time to visit
Some of the smaller museums are closed over weekends or only open on request, so check before you plan your trip.
Tours to do
Many tour operators in the KwaZulu-Natal region offer excellent Battlefield and township tours, while Shakaland tours and Literary Tours take place in and around Durban.
Hiring your own vehicle is best if you wish to see a large number of the museums mentioned, but historical and cultural tour packages often include many of the better-known museums.
What will it cost
Entry is free to most of the museums mentioned.