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TThe Zululand area, in South Africa’s KwaZulu-Natal province, is rooted in the legacy of the great Zulu nation, and the area provides ample opportunity to explore the fascinating rich history of this proud nation. Numerous provincial and private game reserves showcase the region’s abundant biodiversity, affording visitors an authentic African safari experience or a sample of history along the Battlefields Route through Vryheid.
The Zululand region of KwaZulu-Natal extends from the Dolphin Coast at the Tugela River mouth to Richards Bay in the north and inland to Paulpietersburg. Its major attractions include the opportunity to discover more about the rich Zulu culture, as well as experience a wealth of birdlife and several game and nature reserves.
WWhile Zulu culture may be enjoyed at destinations across South Africa, none are as poignant as the heart of the Zulu Kingdom, where visitors experience welcoming hospitality, dance, song and food.
A visit to Shakaland or DumaZulu will allow you to become part of an authentic Zulu wedding, assist with the daily chores around the village or visit a local sangoma (traditional African healer). Take an ox-wagon to visit Zulu beehive huts, or a township tour to see shebeens (pubs), taverns and traditional medicine shops, which will allow you to learn about how the locals have adapted their age-old traditions to suit modern living.
DDiscover the heritage of Zululand when you stop at Melmoth to visit the Valley of the Kings. This is the birthplace of the legendary Zulu King Shaka, and the site of several Zulu kings' graves in the Emakhosini Valley. Zululand also boasts a wealth of natural biodiversity. The Zululand Birding Route guides twitchers seeking out its 650 recorded bird species, by self-drive or on guided tours. The Dlinza Nature Reserve is a particularly popular birding spot. There are many other nature and game reserves in this region, ranging from coastal and sub-tropical forested reserves along the coast to game reserves in authentic bush settings further north.
OOne of the region's biggest attractions is the Hluhluwe-Imfolozi Park, the oldest on the continent and home to Africa's famous Big Five; lion, rhino, elephant, leopard and buffalo. The park offers visitors game drives, self-drive game routes, guided walks and wilderness trails that provide an intimate bush experience.
Round off your Zululand expedition with a visit to Richards Bay. This large harbour town boasts beautiful beaches and stunning wetland scenery.
Further inland, you can visit tea plantations, cattle ranches and the historical town of Vryheid on The Battlefields Route, the site of significant historical clashes between the Zulu, Boers, and British. About 50km north is Paulpietersburg, “the healthiest town in South Africa” and part of the Rainbow Route, a tourism initiative linking inland South Africa with the Zululand coast. The town is renowned for its spring water, and spas with therapeutic sulphur springs.