The North Coast is not only a jewel of a holiday destination; it is a place with a hidden treasure of history and culture, enriched by Zulu, European (mainly of English and Dutch descent), French Mauritian and Indian influences. Relive the region’s embattled past by following the paths of bygone chiefs, political leaders and soldiers, and experience the cultural diversity by mingling with their myriad descendants...
Shaka, King of the Zulus
Shaka Zulu is considered by many to be the chief architect of the Zulu nation. The King Shaka Heritage Route follows in the footsteps of this Zulu hero. Before taking the route, check at the Sangweni Tourism Centre in Ballito on the route’s rehabilitation status and the best access routes. This Centre will also advise of other cultural heritage attractions in the region.
The King Shaka Heritage Route is a community-based cultural tourism initiative aimed at generating and developing economic activity inland from the renowned beach resorts. It includes a self-drive tourism experience that will, when complete, meander through the local municipalities of KwaDukuza, eNdondakusuka, Ndwedwe and Maphumulo, providing a fascinating cultural experience.
It celebrates the cultural heritage of the people of the Zulu Kingdom and aims to revitalise economic activity, contribute towards keeping alive the rich historical and cultural heritage and ensure that members of surrounding communities benefit from the tourism explosion around KwaDukuza, the central point of the route.
Through military conquest and leadership, Shaka Zulu (c1787-1828) moulded dozens of scattered clans into a powerful, unified force that dominated the territory between the Lebombo Mountains on the Swazi border to the edge of what is today the Eastern Cape. Born of King Senzangakhona, a Zulu, and Nandi, an Elangeni princess, he grew up among the Mthethwa clan, under Dingiswayo, after Nandi was banished from Senzangakhona’s home.
Shaka moved to KwaDukuza after the death of his mother. In September 1828, he was assassinated at KwaDukuza by his half brothers Dingane and Mhlangana, and his servant, Mbopha. He was buried a day later, in a grain-pit, roughly where the memorial now stands.