KwaZulu-Natal

Battlefields

Zulu wars, Shaka, Isandlwana, Rorke’s Drift, Colenso, Spioenkop, Ladysmith, Dundee, Churchill, Blood River, Cetshwayo, Boers … these are some of the terms which are associated with the internationally renowned KwaZulu-Natal Battlefields area of South Africa.

Walk in the footsteps of famous military strategists – Shaka, Winston Churchill, Mahatma Gandhi and General Louis Botha – they were all part of the KwaZulu-Natal Battlefields. The wind sighs and whispers the secrets and sorrows of great battles, made visible by lone forts and small graveyards on these undulating landscapes ringed with rocky outcrops.

The legacy of our Zulu Kingdom’s critical, blood-soaked conflicts today lives peacefully – reconciled in this fascinating region’s myriad Battlefield sites, historic towns, national monuments and museums – and in HQs of the British regiments who make a ‘pilgrimage’ to these fields of bravery and supreme sacrifice.

Why leave all of this to the imagination? Knowledgeable guides will accompany you on tours of the Battlefields, talking you through each battle, debating the strategies used, the numbers who perished and the medals and rewards won by the brave.

Talana Museum is situated on the site of the first battle of the Anglo -Boer war 1899-1902. A large varied museum covering a number of different things. Magnificent glass museum, stunning African bead gallery, national coal mining exhibits, military museums. Exhibits on battles of Rorkes Drifts Isandlwana, Talana, Elandslaagte, Helpmekaar, Peter Smith Cottage, transport displays, military and settler cemetery, Gandhi memorial and an African craft production centre.

Bloodriver Monument A famous battle was fought on 16 December 1838, in which the Boers under Andries Pretorius defeated Dingane’s Zulu army.

The Battle of Isandlwana The Central (no 3) Column under Lord Chelmsford was almost entirely annihilated here on 22 January 1879 by the Zulu army dispatched by Cetshwayo during the opening phase of the Anglo-Zulu war of 1879. The site, under the brooding Isandlwana Hill is a proclaimed battlefield.

Rorkes Drift Site of the battle where 100 British soldiers fought off twelve hours of repeated attacks by 4000 Zulus, earning no less than 11 Victoria crosses, the largest number ever awarded for a single engagement.

Drakensberg

The Drakensberg mountains of South Africa or uKhahlamba (the Barrier of Spears) is a 200km-long mountainous wonderland and world heritage site. The largest proportion of the Drakensberg falls in the province of KwaZulu-Natal.

The Zulu people named it ‘Ukhahlamba’ and the Dutch Voortrekkers ‘The Dragon Mountain’. The Drakensberg mountains, with their awe-inspiring basalt cliffs, snow-capped in winter, tower over riverine bush, lush yellowwood forests and cascading waterfalls, and form a massive barrier separating KwaZulu-Natal from the Kingdom of Lesotho. The only road access to the Drakensberg is via Sani Pass, which at its top boasts the highest pub in Africa, 3 000m above sea level.

Combining sheer natural beauty with a wealth of biological diversity, this 243 000ha mountainous region known as the uKhahlamba-Drakensberg Park has been preserved and venerated for eons since the San people or bushmen roamed these slopes. Tens of thousands of paintings depicting their daily life can be found on the rock faces, and in December 2000, the park received international recognition and was declared KwaZulu-Natal’s second World Heritage Site.

And of course, there are the mountains, which must be conquered. The fearless may choose to try sheer rock or ice- climbing, or they may prefer the adrenaline rush provided by abseiling, white water rafting or taking a helicopter ride to view the Drakenberg mountains from above.

If you prefer the gentler, more leisurely pace of walking the many hiking routes on both lower and upper slopes of the Drakensberg, you can watch out for the 290 species of birds, 48 species of mammals and the rare varieties of plantlife found in the park. The Drakensberg … the soul of the Zulu Kingdom.

Durban

Durban’s Golden beaches, azure skies, an average sea temperature of 19 degrees in winter… What more could you ask for on a “winter” holiday? Whilst the rest of South Africa can get very cold over this time, Durban’s average 320 sunny days ensures that we get to experience the beauty of our sub-tropical climate all year round.

Winter is our dry season, also the time of year that you’ll get to experience the best surf. No need to bring your wetsuit along with you, but be sure to bring your sun-block!

Along our almost 100 km of gorgeous beaches you’ll find people chilling on the beach, soaking up the rays or playing in the waves. Oh yes, and there’s kite surfing, beach volleyball, jet skiing, paddle boat rides, to name a couple other activities to keep you busy.  

Durban is an exciting city in which to play, shop, experience the nightlife and to relax.

No trip to Durban would be complete without a visit to Ushaka Marine World, the largest oceanarium in the Southern Hemisphere.  Overlooking the Indian Ocean, its award-winning design recreates a series of sunken ships, and has a mind-boggling variety of marine life on display.  Interactive exhibits include a snorkel lagoon where you can immerse yourself in the reef tank and snorkel with the fish.  Regular dolphin and seal shows delight young and old alike. 

The more adventurous can explore the shark tank at close quarters, from the safety of a steel cage.  If that sounds too risky, why not visit the Cargo Hold restaurant and enjoy some fine seafood as the sharks glide past?  The restaurant has windows onto the shark tank.And that’s just the Oceanarium! Ushaka’s Wet & Wild World is a freshwater adventure featuring sparkling pools and water slides ranging from the gentle ‘lazy river’ which meanders past the Ushaka marine tanks or the heart stopping ‘Kamikaze’, ‘Mamba’ or ‘Squid’, to name a few – It’s thrills and spills aplenty for the whole family.  While deciding which slide to try next, relax on a lounger overlooking the pools, with the Indian Ocean right on your doorstep!

The breathtaking Valley of a Thousand Hills is an exciting component of Durban and South Africa’s province of KwaZulu-Natal – the Kingdom of the Zulu. The Valley of 1000 Hills is one of those few holiday destinations that has something for everyone.

Unspoilt nature, wildlife, magnificent scenery, wining and dining, and warm country hospitality just a half an hour’s drive from the centre of Durban.

The area is named after the thousands of hills which tumble down to the mighty Umgeni River, which flows from the distant Drakensberg Mountains to the warm inviting Indian Ocean.

The KwaZulu-Natal Sharks Board (KZNSB) is a service organization that protects beach users in KwaZulu-Natal against shark attack. It has over forty years of experience in prevention of shark attack and research on sharks. Its staff act as consultants throughout the world and are willing to advise anyone with a shark attack problem. The KZNSB supports and promotes the conservation of sharks. Visit the only organization of its kind in the world and learn about sharks and the prevention of shark attack.

Pietermaritzburg is home to quaint shops, markets, restaurants, art galleries and museums. It is a City of Contrasts where new blends with old in graceful harmony, nestling within a ring of green hills. This is the town in which the annual Canoe Marathon starts, and is the beginning or ending point of the world-renowned annual Comrades Marathon between Durban and Pietermaritzburg, which attracts about 15 000 participants.  The Midland’s Meander is the first tourist route of its kind in the country, with a fascinating mix of arts and crafts, world-class restaurants and homely comforts.

Midlands Meander is perhaps the most famous arts & crafts route in the country, attracting some of the finest crafters around. Experience warm country hospitality, discover quaint cottage furnishings and unique galleries; admire the works of talented artists and delight in your beautifully handcrafted acquisition. Enjoy the taste of a local brew or indulge in temptingly rich home bakes. Be inspired by the rare and the wonderful or simply find peace in nature’s beautiful country. Experience the country at its best!