Things to do in Eshowe

Eshowe - " A City set on a Hill " Choose from a list of Activities Below.

About Eshowe

Steeped in cultural history, Eshowe is the oldest European settlement in Zululand. It all started in 1860 when Zulu King Cetswayo, at the time only a prince, built a kraal and named the place Eziqwaqweni (the abode of robbers). The very next year a Norwegian missionary, the Reverend Ommund Oftebru, got permission from King Cetswayo to build a mission station called KwaMondi Mission Station (place of Mondi) after the Zulu name given to Oftebro.

It is said that Eshowe’s name was inspired by the sound of wind blowing through the landmark indigenous Dlinza forest although it is most likely derived from the Zulu word for the Xysmalobium shrubs, showe or shongwe.

 

During the 1879 Anglo-Zulu War, Colonel Charles Pearson led the coastal column to Eshowe. Before reaching the KwaMondi Mission they encountered part of the Zulu army at the Nyezane River where they engaged in a short battle before pushing on. By that time the KwaMonsi Mission had been fortified and renamed Fort Ekowe. Under Colonel Pearson the British forces were besieged for ten weeks until relieved by Lord Chelmsford after the Battle of Gingindlovu.

In 1887 Eshowe became the capital of Zululand and was the very next year officially declared a township. However, the Zulus burnt down Eshowe after the British had left.

 

With a grand history of being home to no less than four Zulu Kings (Shaka, Mpande, Cetswayo and Dinuzulu) and having been visited by the British Royal family members King George VI, Queen Elizabeth, Princess Elizabeth and Princess Margaret in 1947, Eshowe is a cross-cultural delight for inquisitive travelers.

This fascinating history is told at the Zululand Historical Museum at Fort Nongqayi, a striking white mudbrick, three-turreted fort established in 1883 as the base for the Nongqayi (a Zulu peace keeping force). A popular attraction at the museum is the John Dunn display. With 48 Zulu wives, Dunn was Africa’s only official white Zulu iNkosi. Tourists also fall in love with the Vukani Museum which houses the world’s largest collection of traditional Zulu Arts and Crafts.

 

Eshowe served as the seat of the first Black Diocesan Bishops in South Africa of the Anglican and Roman Catholic Church and remains the seat of the current Bishop of the Anglican Diocese of Zululand.

Today Eshowe is a market town with a 100 kilometre catchment area, two shopping centres and a main bus station serving the hinterland, a major hospital and several schools. The town also offers visitors a variety of unusual attractions like the Dlinza Forest itself with hiking trails, picnic spots and the magnificent Dlinza Forest Aerial Boardwalk.

The Boardwalk is the first of its kind in Southern Africa and exclusive to Eshowe. It consists of a 150 metre walkway built above the forest floor which allows visitors to view the flora, fauna and avifauna. It ends with a 20 metre high tower, offering dramatic views of both the forest canopy and surrounding countryside.

The Boardwalk employs a number of trained birding guides who are available to show visitors some of the delights of the forest. Here one can spot the shy Narina Trogon or see Long-Crested Eagles as well as the rare Spotted Thrush and many other forest dwellers. The Ironwoods, Wild Plums and other forest giants give shelter to orchids, clivias, bushbuck, duiker, narina trogons, Delegorgue’s pigeon and wood owls.  One hundred and eighty different wildflower species blossom in the grasslands, and Eshowe is one of very few towns in the country which has trees in flower every day of the year!

Dlinza Forest Arial Boardwalk

The Boardwalk is the first of its kind in Southern Africa and exclusive to Eshowe. It consists of a 150 metre walkway built above the forest floor which allows visitors to view the flora, fauna and avifauna. It ends with a 20 metre high tower, offering dramatic views of both the forest canopy and surrounding countryside.

The Boardwalk employs a number of trained birding guides who are available to show visitors some of the delights of the forest. Here one can spot the shy Narina Trogon or see Long-Crested Eagles as well as the rare Spotted Thrush and many other forest dwellers. The Ironwoods, Wild Plums and other forest giants give shelter to orchids, clivias, bushbuck, duiker, narina trogons, Delegorgue’s pigeon and wood owls.  One hundred and eighty different wildflower species blossom in the grasslands, and Eshowe is one of very few towns in the country which has trees in flower every day of the year!

If you would like to go for a Fresh Forest Walk or go Guided Bird Watching call us and we will get you on your way on 0354744919 or [email protected] 

Eshowe Historical Museum

With a grand history of being home to no less than four Zulu Kings (Shaka, Mpande, Cetswayo and Dinuzulu) and having been visited by the British Royal family members King George VI, Queen Elizabeth, Princess Elizabeth and Princess Margaret in 1947, Eshowe is a cross-cultural delight for inquisitive travelers.

This fascinating history is told at the Zululand Historical Museum at Fort Nongqayi, a striking white mudbrick, three-turreted fort established in 1883 as the base for the Nongqayi (a Zulu peace keeping force). A popular attraction at the museum is the John Dunn display. With 48 Zulu wives, Dunn was Africa’s only official white Zulu iNkosi. Tourists also fall in love with the Vukani Museum which houses the world’s largest collection of traditional Zulu Arts and Crafts.

Go for a Walk

From the Dlinza Forest boardwalk there are a number of forest routes you can take to soak in the sites and sounds of the forest.

7km out of town is Brocklee Dam and Brocklee Lapa. Here you can also do walking trails. There are also Trail Running and Moutnain Biking Routes as well.