Friday, June 14, 2013

Zululand in KwaZulu Natal

Just north of the Dolphin coast, in a malaria-free area, is Zululand; extending up to Richard’s Bay, along the northern coast of Kwazulu Natal and inland into the rural heart of KwaZulu Natal, stretching north to Pongola, and including the little towns of Ulundi and Vryheid, which lie on the border of the Battlefields Route.

Lying beneath the energising beams of a sub-tropical sun is proudly nestled Zululand, characterised by peace and harmony, green hills, waving grasslands, abundant forests, laid-back lifestyle, and a soil imbued with the strength and bravery of the Zulu nation, which defended this land. It is thus an area rich in symbolism and tradition; and the age-old Zulu culture is still very much alive, as visitors are invited into the heart of Zulu villages like Shakaland and Dumazulu, where one can visit a sangoma, watch a rural wedding ceremony and experience unique Zulu hospitality. One can also capture the awe of life in King Dingane’s capital, uMgungundlovu.
Zululand lies on the verge of both the Battlefields Route and the stunning Drakensberg Mountain Range. The land is home to tea plantations, gorgeous small inland towns and abundance of wildlife. In Zululand prevails numerous parks, farms and nature reserves, including the Siyaya Coastal Park, the Umlalazi Nature Reserve, and the Amatikulu Nature Reserve.

The Zululand Birding Route, with over 650 species of birds, offers a bewildering diversity of bird species, with over 30 local guides and a series of useful brochures and information packs, linking the top 70 birding spots in the area on 14 local routes. Dlinza, one of the most beautiful forests of Zululand, lies in the Dlinza Nature Reserve close to Eshowe, one of the finest places to spot birds, hike and sight wild fig and African plum trees.

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