I’m really trying to figure out how to make it up to Zululand.The coastal advance into Zululand by the British First Division took a similar route that the R102 today follows. It seems like it’s a 326 kilometer drive from Durban. It would be nice to participate in a Zulu wedding, but it doesn’t seem that it is to be. I’ll console myself with a bit of Zulu history and a wish to return one day.
|The formidable Zulu kingdom in the late 1870’s was seen by British imperialists as a major obstacle in their bid to colonise southern Africa which was on the verge of being turned into an economic powerhouse with the discovery of diamonds in the Kimberley region.
A number of petty incidents and border infringements were considered enough justification and excuse for the British to take action against the Zulu.
As British soldiers began assembling at different locations on the border between Natal and Zululand and preparing for war, the British summonsed King Cetshwayo’s representatives to the southern bank of the Thukela River where they gathered under a sycamore fig tree and listened in silent disbelief to the impossible terms of the ultimatum being served on their king by the British.
Though given 30 days in which to comply with the conditions of the ultimatum, Cetshwayo had no alternative but to prepare for war and allowed the ultimatum to expire. On 11 January 1879 the British invaded Zululand.
The British plan was to use three columns assembled at strategic points on the boundary between Natal and Zululand and then to converge on Cetshwayo’s capital at Ondini.
The Valley of the Kings
|Visit one of several excellent Zulu cultural villages – Shakaland in Nkwaleni valley, Simunye Zulu Lodge in the Melmoth area or Umuzi Bushcamp outside Ulundi.
Hire a guide to take them to the cultural sites of the region, or
Take a self-guided excursion of the various heritage sites listed below.
|The beautiful and fascinating royal residences of King Dingane at uMgungundlovu and of King Cetshwayo at Ondini have been partially reconstructed and include major site museums.
They give a wealth of information about the secluded life in the Royal palaces of the kings and are both highly recommended.
|King Dingane’s spring at Mthonjaneni is a good starting point for a trip to the Valley of the Kings. Young maidens walked daily to the spring to collect water at the spring which was reserved for the exclusive use of King Dingane.|
Highlights of the Valley
The reconstructed capital and museum of Mgungundlovu.
The mass grave of Piet Retief and his followers.
The site of the Battle of Gqokli Hill. Shaka’s dominance over the region was sealed by the defeat of the Ndwandwe clan in this valley in April 1818. More than 7 000 Nwandwe members and about 2 000 of Shaka’s Zulu clan were killed in this battle and it became the defining battle of his reign.
Battle of Nyezane