The North Coast was once part of the great Zulu empire built by King Shaka, and the region’s multi-cultural heritage makes for many memorable experiences. Walk a ‘muti’ (African medicine) trail through the Harold Johnson Nature Reserve which gives insight into the medicinal plants used by the Zulu people. Look out for the Coral Tree (Erythrina caffra) it is seen as a royal tree and is a respected and admired tree in the Zulu culture and is believed to have both medicinal and magic properties. Additionally, within this small reserve is the Ultimatum Tree and Fort Pearson (also known as Ndondakusuka) as well as a few war graves.
This is also the start of the King Shaka Cultural Heritage Route, in honour of the heritage that King Shaka left behind. Be sure to visit the King Shaka Gravesite and Memorial in the town of KwaDukuza – this is where you’ll find the Indaba Tree where King Shaka held council, as well as the Assassination Tree where it is said that he was assassinated in 1828 by his brothers Mhlangana and Dingaan. These trees are almost 200 years old! KwaDukuza also boasts at being the home of the first African to win the Nobel Peace Prize, Chief Albert John Mvumbi Luthuli – his home, now the Luthuli Museum, has been declared a National Monument. Set in his former home, the museum features numerous photographic records, many significant belongings and a life-sized bust of the man himself. A short drive takes you to Chief Luthuli’s Grave as well as the Church in which Chief Albert Luthuli’s body laid in state.
Also, in KwaDukuza is the Morewood Memorial which commemorates the life and work of Sir Edmund Morewood, who grew the first commercial cane in South Africa and was the founder of the South African sugar industry. When his first crop of sugar cane reached maturity in1851, he made the first sugar ever produced in this country, in a primitive factory which once stood where the garden now lies. The town of Tongaat is one of the largest sugar-producing districts in South Africa, and Hindu temples Vishwaroop and Juggernath Puri are testament to the Indian community having made Tongaat their home. Sample some of their culinary delights, including pineapple-on-a-stick covered with tangy spices.
whats on in north coast
did you know?
The farming village of Umhlali was established by English and Scottish settlers in 1850 and was the site of a fort which led to it originally being called Fort William. The name means ‘place of waiting’, because settlers and locals would have to wait on the riverbank before crossing the water.