The majestic Zulu Kingdom is known for its proud history, dynamic cultures, breathtaking scenic beauty, sandy beaches and warm all-year-round climate. The Zulu Kingdom includes two World Heritage Sites, namely the iSimangaliso Wetland Park (previously known as the Greater St. Lucia Wetland Park) and the uKhahlamba-Drakensberg Park.
Durban is an economic hub built around the busiest port in Africa. It is the gateway to the natural wonders of KwaZulu-Natal and a unique cultural mix of the colonial European, Indian, and Zulu communities. Here the KwaZulu-Natal Sharks Board showcases their role in protecting the coast’s beaches from shark attack. Ilala Weavers was established some 30 years ago to revitalise and enhance the age-old Zulu tradition of handicrafts. Basket-weaving and bead work are the specialities and stunning works of art are produced.
Ilala Weavers supports these home industries, thereby helping over 2,000 people to be self-sufficient. In Pietermartizburg, at The Old Prison, the first cell block of which, has been declared a National Monument, is one of the oldest buildings in the town. The Old Prison is also part of The Freedom Route. Also in Pietermaritzburg, is the beautiful, tranquil KwaZulu-Natal National Botanical Garden.
The Battlefields in the central and northern part of KwaZulu-Natal is a region of great natural beauty that masks a turbulent history. For a 70-year period, starting in the late 1800s, this peaceful area was the scene of a series of bloody battles between British forces, Boer commandos and great Zulu armies that shaped the history of southern Africa.
This fascinating history can be rediscovered at countless battle sites, museums and historic buildings, including the Talana Museum at Dundee. A new addition to the museum, Kwakunje Cultural Village, is a traditional Zulu village portraying Zulu culture and lifestyle. The Talana Cultural Garden and Nursery has been developed showing how indigenous plants have been used for food, medicine, poison and cultural rituals.
The Luthuli Museum honours Albert Luthuli, an extraordinary leader and his life spent in the service of humanity. Albert Luthuli lived here, often holding late night meetings with other ANC leaders such as Nelson Mandela, to advance the struggle for freedom.
The museum offers exhibitions and educational programmes. The uKhahlamba-Drakensberg Park has been declared a World Heritage Site for both its outstanding natural environment and the ancient San rock paintings found in the caves and overhangs. Situated below Cathedral Peak, the Didima San Art Centre provides the visitor with an opportunity to experience the rich cultural heritage for which the Drakensberg mountains are famous.