Below is a list of accommodation establishments along this route. Bookings and enquiries can be made directly with the establishment.
Below is a list of arts and crafts outlets and projects on this route. Booking and enquiries can be made directly with the business.
Below is a list of arts and crafts outlets and projects on this route. Enquiries can be made directly with the business.
Below is a list of environmental attractions on this route. Booking and enquiries can be made directly with the business.
Below is a list of services on this route. Enquiries can be made directly with the business.
The Nguni Route incorporates an area of scenic landscapes combined with historical and cultural attractions. The districts in which the route is situated have some of the poorest rural communities in KwaZulu-Natal. The name of the route is derived from the Nguni language of which Zulu is a sub-category. It also refers to Nguni cattle that play an important role in traditional Zulu celebrations.
This section of KwaZulu-Natal will always be remembered for the fierce clashes that played an integral role in determining South African history. The area has been aptly referred to as both the 'The Turbulent Frontier' and the 'Crossroads of South African History'. It contains many sites of conflict between the Afrikaners, the Zulu and English, including some of the most significant battle sites in South African history - the Battle of Blood River, the Battle of Talana, Isandlwana and Rorke’s Drift - are all found in the area. Winston Churchill's historic reference to the town of Ladysmith, "famous unto the uttermost ends of the earth", holds true for the area as a whole.
The Battlefields are fascinating, yet after finding out about what happened in the past to shape the area today, it is a worthwhile experience to visit the communities that border the well-known towns of Dundee and Ladysmith. The Battlefields have always been a major attraction of the area, however many are unaware that there is also the opportunity for visitors to experience the day-to-day life of Zulu people today.
Reasons to visit:
The area has a variety of bird species, including two endangered species, ground hornbills and the bald headed ibis. Dundee has one of only two pairs of black eagles in South Africa nesting in its trees.
Local farmers are working together to encourage wildlife to return to their farms, to reintroduce game, protect surviving species, and to promote tourism in the area. After a farmer dropped his fences to form a conservancy, oribi re-appeared after not having been seen for 80 years.
The landscape is dotted with thorn trees, huts, mountains and rivers, making the Nguni Route a must-see. The area is predominantly inhabited by Zulu people who belong to the larger Nguni group whose origin is mostly lost in an oral tradition that precedes recorded history.
Zulu people are well known for their colourful beadwork and decorative beadwork is sold at many outlets in the region. What makes Zulu beadwork unique is the code by which particular colours are selected and combined in various ways to shape messages that at the same time are woven into decorative geometrical designs.
Date: 16 - 18 October 2015
Time: Friday 6pm - 10pm, Saturday 10am - 5.30pm, Sunday 9.30am - 12.30pm
Place: Talana Museum
Info: Experience a "Night at the Museum” Talana Museum style. Meet the story telling ghosts, ride the "Ghost Train", experience life in the Boer, British and Voortrekker camps and in the museum which comes to life after dark. Weekend activities include a parade through Dundee led by Pipe Band, re-enactors, cultural groups, cars and motor cycles, pipe and other band performances during the day, heritage games, open air chess and mlabalaba, craft and heritage stalls, militaria and miniature car stalls, creations market, food and beverage court and a treasure hunt at the museum, to name a few.
Adults: R70 scholars: R35 for full weekend
The Zulu Kingdom played a major role in South African History during the 19th century, especially in the region of the Battlefields of North Western KwaZulu-Natal. There were also a number of other people and cultures who played a significant role in determining South Africa's future - and part of the cultures still remain for visitors to see and experience, making the region culturally diverse and interesting.
Some of the world-known names associated with the area include Winston Churchill, who was arrested here; the Prince Royal of France, who was killed here; Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi, who established a stretcher-bearing corp during the Boer War; the Zulu's, who defeated the British and vice versa; and the Afrikaners, who fought against the British in two large wars. For more than fifty years blood drained the soil of this part of the province.
The French and Prince Louis Napoleon:
Prince Louis Napoleon, the Prince Imperial, the only son and heir of Napoleon III joined Lord Chelmsford's staff after the defeat at Isandlwana. He was the great-nephew of Emperor Napoleon Bonaparte, and had personally begged Queen Victoria's permission to accompany fresh troops to South Africa. Exiled to England in 1870, Prince Louis was legally barred from receiving a commission in the British Army, but allowed to join Chelmsford as an extra aide-de-camp. He was said to be an excellent scout and was given the responsibility of scouting for an overnight camp on the march to Ulundi. Any hopes of resurrecting a Napoleonic dynasty in France died on the first day of June, 1879, when his small group was ambushed and he was killed. He apparently fought bravely and died with 17 assegai stab wounds.
The English and Winston Churchill:
Fighting in the Anglo-Zulu and Anglo-Boer Wars, England was an integral role player in South African history. Winston Churchill came to South Africa as a 25 year old Sandhurst-trained cavalryman and newspaper correspondent. When Boer patrols from the Orange Free State were spotted crossing the Drakensberg Mountains into Natal near Winterton, the British dispatched a camouflaged, armoured reconnaissance train from Estcourt. Among its complement was a recent addition to Britain's war effort ... Winston Churchill. On 15 November 1899, Boer guerillas ambushed and derailed the train, killing a number of British soldiers and capturing Churchill. Within two months, however, the future Prime Minister had escaped from prison in the Transvaal, slipped back into Natal and rejoined the push to relieve Ladysmith.
The Afrikaners and Louis Botha:
Probably the most well-known Afrikaner to fight in the Boer Wars, was Louis Botha. An Afrikaner and first Prime Minister of the modern South African state, then called the Union of South Africa, he became a member of the parliament of Transvaal in 1897, representing the district of Vryheid. Two years later he was made a general in the Second Boer War, fighting with impressive capability at Colenso and Spionkop.
The German Missionaries:
German missionaries settled in the Elandslaagte region, close to Dundee. Many of the people still living in the area have German as their home language and a German fete is held at Elandskraal annual Bazaar, where visitors can buy fresh meat, tasty treats and German delicacies.
Lobola refers to the exchange of cattle from the bridegroom and his family to that of the bride. Previously believed to be merely a ‘bride price’ this practice compensated the bride's family for the loss of her labour and also meant that should a bride be mistreated in her new home she could return to her parents while her husband forfeited the cattle.
Lobola also depends on the bride's beauty, charms, education and the standing of her family. The lobola can be anything from a few goats and chickens to many head of cattle.
The bride and groom do not have much say in the lobola negotiations - it is a matter for the families concerned to decide. The acceptance of lobola also represents a treaty between the two families. If the wife is found to be deficient in any way, her father is expected to refund the lobola or find a suitable replacement bride.
Lobola is the price paid for a bride - traditionally in livestock - and is negotiated whenever a wedding takes place (although in urban areas of South Africa, money has largely replaced livestock as the currency of lobola). Paying lobola continues to be a significant part of traditional weddings in almost all of South Africa's tribes; however it is not quite as straight forward as merely paying a ‘bride price’.
Zulu dancing plays a major role in Zulu culture and tradition. The Dance of the Small Shield dates from Shaka's time and is a rhythmic dance used to encourage military unity. Today it is normally performed at Royal occasions. A similar dance using a spear and shield is the umGhubho.
The Bull Dance is a dance that originated in the cramped confines of the mine dormitories imitating a bull with the arms held aloft and the legs brought down with a thump. The rural girls have their own version.
The Hunting Dance imitates the actions of hunting and the bravery it requires. This fiery dance is danced using sticks instead of spears to avoid injury and was danced before the hunt began. The girls also dance their own version to welcome the men back from the hunt.
The umBhekuzo represents the ebb and flow of the tides with the men alternately advancing and retreating on the audience. Those at the ends lift up their aprons exposing their buttocks.
The dancers' bodies move in snakelike unison accompanied by singing in the UmChwayo. The umGhebulo appears as if the dancers want to pull down the sky or climb an imaginary ladder to it. The iliKhomba is a graceful dance with rhythmic movements of the upper body accompanied by the swinging of a long decorated stick.
The Zulu People and their Nguni Heritage:
Today the Nguni peoples are classified into three large subgroups, the Northern Nguni, the Southern Nguni, and the Ndebele. The Zulu are among the Northern Nguni.
Four of South Africa's official languages are Nguni languages; isiZulu, isiXhosa, siSwati, and isiNdebele are spoken primarily by the Zulu, the Xhosa, the Swazi, and the Ndebele peoples, respectively. Each of these languages has regional variants and dialects, which are often mutually intelligible.
Although much of the Zulu history has been lost through oral tradition, it is said that the Zulu people are the direct descendants of the patriarch Zulu, who was born to an Nguni chief in the Great Lakes region of sub-equatorial Central-to-East Africa. In the 16th century the Zulus migrated southward to their present location.
In the 17th and 18th centuries many of the most powerful Zulu chiefs made treaties and gave control of the Zulu villages to the British. This caused much conflict because the Zulus had strong patriarchal village government systems - they fought against the British but due to their limited strength, they couldn't win. Finally, after much of the Zulu area had been given to the British, the Zulu people made a collective decision that they didn't want to be under British rule. In 1879 war erupted between the British and the Zulu. Though the Zulu succeeded at first, within six months they were conquered by the British, who exiled the Zulu Kings and divided up the Zulu kingdom. In 1906 another Zulu uprising occurred and the Zulu continued to try to gain back what they considered to be their ancient kingdom.
During the reign of King Shaka (1816-1828), the Zulu became the mightiest military force in southern Africa, increasing their land holdings from 100 square miles to 11,500. Shaka was followed by Dingaan, who tentatively entered into treaties with English colonizers. Mpande was the next King. He allowed the British extensive control over his peoples. By the time he died in 1872, the Zulu had had enough of the English invasion. Cetewayo, Mpande's replacement, tried vainly for six years to avoid a confrontation with the British, yet in 1879 war erupted. Although the Zulus initially experienced some success, the British army eventually prevailed. In less than six months, Cetewayo was exiled to England, and the Zulu kingdom was divided to British advantage. The last Zulu uprising against European domination was lead by Chief Bombatha in 1906. In recent times, Chief Gastha Buthelezi has doubled as the political leader of the Zulu, and the head of the Inkatha Freedom Party, which played a leading role in the fight against Apartheid and demanding a voice for his people who are more than three million strong.
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This section of KwaZulu-Natal will always be remembered for the fierce clashes that played an integral role in determining South African history. The area has been aptly referred to as both the 'The Turbulent Frontier' and the 'Crossroads of South African History'.Enquire Now
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