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KwaZulu-Natal Culture & history

Our most recommended KwaZulu-Natal Culture & history

Drakensberg Giants Castle Cave Art & Mandela Capture Site

1. Drakensberg Giants Castle Cave Art & Mandela Capture Site

The tour starts off with a visit to Pietermaritzburg, the capital of KwaZulu-Natal. Stop at Pietermaritzburg's City Hall, which claims to be the largest brick building in the southern hemisphere. Visit the Gandhi statue also before heading towards the Drakensberg mountains and Giants Castle Reserve. Giant's Castle is situated on a grassy plateau among the deep valleys running down from the face of the High Drakensberg, offering glorious views. At Giants Castle reserve, there is a large sandstone cave containing prehistoric San rock art. The San and Khoekhoe people were hunters and gatherers who roamed South Africa for thousands of years. This cave is one of the biggest and best-preserved painted sites in southern Africa. This cave is an easy 30 minutes’ walk from the camp office and regular guided tours are taken through this unique exhibition. A visit to Giant's Castle offers the privilege of entering the world of the San as well as the opportunity to study a varied and exciting range of habitats. From there, head to the small town of Howick and visit its waterfall. Howick Falls is approximately 95m in height and lies on the Umgeni River. The Zulu people called the falls KwaNogqaza, which means "Place of the Tall One".   Then visit the Nelson Mandela Capture Site Statue and Apartheid Museum. The Nelson Mandela sculpture comprises of 50 steel column constructions, each between 6.5m and 9.5m tall, set into the Midlands landscape. The approach to the site leads you down a path towards the sculpture where, at 35 meters, a portrait of Nelson Mandela, looking west, comes into focus. The 50 linear vertical units, line up to create the illusion of a flat image. The museum is dedicated to Nelson Mandela’s life and his struggle against Apartheid. After the tour, head back to Durban by late afternoon.

From Durban: Isandlwana Rorkes Drift Battlefields Day Trip

2. From Durban: Isandlwana Rorkes Drift Battlefields Day Trip

This tour takes you into the north of KwaZulu-Natal where you will visit famous sites of the battlefields. There you will encounter museums, memorials and fields dedicated to the Anglo Zulu wars.  Your first stop will be the Isandlwana battlefield and museum. The Battle of Isandlwana on 22 January 1879 was the first major encounter in the Anglo–Zulu War between the British Empire and the Zulu Kingdom. Eleven days after the British commenced their invasion of Zululand in South Africa, a Zulu force of some 20,000 warriors attacked a portion of the British main column consisting of about 1,800 British, colonial and native troops and perhaps 400 civilians. The Zulus were equipped mainly with the traditional assegai iron spears and cow-hide shields, but also had a few muskets and old rifles though they were not formally trained in their use. Despite a vast disadvantage in weapons technology, the numerically superior Zulus ultimately overwhelmed the poorly led and badly deployed British.  The tour progresses to the Battle of Rorke's Drift, also known as the Defence of Rorke's Drift,. The defence of the mission station of Rorke's Drift immediately followed the British Army's defeat at the Battle of Isandlwana on 22 January 1879, and continued into the following day.  The last stop is Fugitives Drift and the Queens Colours memorial before we make the journey back to Durban.

Shakaland and Zulu Culture Full-Day Trip

3. Shakaland and Zulu Culture Full-Day Trip

The full-day tour begins at the King Shaka Memorial, which is the site of his royal homestead and also the place where he was killed. Visit Shakaland, where you’ll have the opportunity to experience Zulu culture first hand, learning about the customs and social norms of Zulu life. Taste authentic Zulu beer, meet with traditional doctors, and experience an educational and entertaining Zulu dance show. Head into the Dlinza Forest Reserve after lunch. Admire the spectacular surroundings from a high, raised boardwalk that winds its way through the forest. Take a walk along the peaceful land trails as well. Get up close and personal with the duiker, or small antelopes, that have become accustomed to the human visitors.

Durban: Drakensberg Rock Art & Mandela Capture Site Tour

4. Durban: Drakensberg Rock Art & Mandela Capture Site Tour

Get picked up bright and early at your hotel at 6am and start your trip toward the mountains. Make your way to Kamberg, part of the Northern Drakensberg mountain range and home to the Rosetta Stone of SAN (Bushman) rock art. Upon arrival, meet your anthropologist guide, Dr Jeremy Hollmann, a specialist in early civilisation rock art in Southern Africa, and watch an introductory video to understand the context of the people who inhabited this area. Then, follow Dr. Hollmann through the rugged terrain all the way up to Game Pass Shelter where he will delve deeper into the anthropology of the San people. There are several spots along the way which he will bring to life with historical anecdotes and anthropological theories. At Game Pass Shelter, take in the mystery of Bushman rock art, and explore theories and beliefs that underpin the art and culture of the San/Bushmen of Southern Africa. Tuck into lunch at the Nottingham Road Brewery (at your own expense), and try out the local craft beer, if you like. Thereafter, continue along the Midlands Meander and visit the internationally acclaimed Ardmore Ceramics. Watch the ceramicists at work when the studios are open, and maybe even buy a keepsake. Your penultimate stop is at the iconic Nelson Mandela Capture Site for a peek into South Africa's notorious history and a bucket list photograph. Finish your tour witnessing the water gushing or trickling down (depending on the time of year) at Howick Falls as it flows into the Umgeni River. Finally, head back to Durban with your expected time of arrival set for 7pm.

Zulu Cultural Tour: Rural Village, Tribal Markets & Food

5. Zulu Cultural Tour: Rural Village, Tribal Markets & Food

Following collection from your Durban accommodation, begin a day about context, immersion, and relevance. Your tour starts with you meeting the dancing curator of the Phansi Museum, who introduces you to a vast collection of indigenous art and crafts before you sample some pan-African cuisine. Following that, head to Isithumba - a living Zulu cultural village. There a local resident helps you to explore the village on foot, as you begin to understand a different way of life. If the ancestors are kind you may even meet the village chief or the local spiritual healer for an immersive exchange. The Markets of Warwick are your final stop. This curious quarter represents the beating heart of indigenous culture. Meet the Lime and Imphepho Gogos (female elders), and watch them create their goods before you witness Muthi Bridge, or as the locals like to call it - Sangoma Central. Unlock this mysterious place and get a feel for where the culture is heading, before your driver returns you to your accommodation.

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What people are saying about KwaZulu-Natal

Overall rating

4.4 / 5

based on 47 reviews

I cant reccomend this tour and this tour company enough! Drakensberg and the cave paintings made for such a unique and picturesque experience that was made only better by the insightful observations of our guide, Satiri. The Mandela capture site was also located in a beautiful landscape with the monument at the end of a gentle walk. Lastly our guide surprised us by taking us to the Howick falls! I would reccomend this experience to anyone who is in the area and will absolutely be booking our activities with 1st Zulu Safari!

There is a lot of travel in this trip, roughly 4 hours there, but it was worth it. The guide was excellent and very chatty even though it was such a long day. If you have the time, I'd recommend this trip

I had a really awesome day and Ndu Nene was professional &informativei

My trip was a very interesting and fun one . Ndu Nene tour guide was jolly person and he taught us many interesting things.

Beautiful landscape and hike. Driving overland with real African village life

nice day trip, lots of driving but really worth it.