cool, elevated position on a hilltop overlooking
the hot and humid coastal plain gives Eshowe its
serenity but the Dlinza Forest around which the
town wraps itself, gives Eshowe its spirit.
No other town in South Africa has blended so organically
into its environment as Eshowe.
The core of the 250-hectare coastal scarp Dlinza
Forest is a declared nature reserve but tracts
of the beautiful, high forest as well as patches
of wild flowers and grassland are dispersed throughout
the leafy avenues of the town.
Blessed with this abundant natural diversity,
Eshowe residents boast that that there is a tree
in flower every day of the year in their town.
This lush environment and refreshing climate has
always attracted human habitation and no less
than four Zulu kings have at some stage lived
here, though Eshowe probably owes its modern beginnings
to the Norwegian missionaries who established
a station here in the mid-19th century.
During the Anglo-Zulu War of 1879 British soldiers
used the mission as a fort and were besieged by
the Zulu army for 10 weeks.
During the Zulu Civil War a few years later, Eshowe
became the British military headquarters and a
large peace-keeping force of 3 000 British troops
was encamped in tents at Fort Curtis for about
There was a rush of trading ventures to cater
to the needs of such a large garrison and during
this period it was made the capital of the colony
No evidence of Fort Curtis remains - it occupied
a large area in the vicinity of the present Eshowe
Sports Club - but the town remains a busy commercial
hub long after the departure of the last British
Today it continues to charm visitors and Eshowe
was recently voted amongst the top 10 towns of
South Africa by a popular travel magazine.
High on the list of things to do is experience
the high-energy of traditional Zulu dancing.
Visitors wishing to experience Zulu culture
at first hand have several options, they can
go on one of several tours into the surrounding
rural areas or they can visit Shakaland in the
Nkwaleni Valley just north of Eshowe.
This world-famous cultural village offers daily
tours and visitors can learn about Zulu customs,
taste traditional Zulu beer and cuisine as well
as enjoy a splendid display of Zulu dancing.
Visitors wishing to stay over are accommodated
in traditional Zulu grass huts.
Eco Estate & Home
of Zululand Golf
18-Hole Golf Course
• 6 Tennis Courts
• 2 Squash Courts
Hulett Drive, Eshowe
Cards • Gifts
• Art workshops
072 673 8710
Zululand's winning beer brewed by
The George Hotel
NONGQAYI MUSEUM VILLAGE
hills are filled with history, and the best starting
point to get acquainted with it is at the Fort Nongqayi
Museum Village which houses the Zululand Historical
Museum in the exotic-looking Fort Nongqayi. Another
major attraction at the Village is the Vukani Musem
of Zulu Art and Culture which houses an exceptional
collection of art based on traditional Zulu culture
OF ACCOMMODATION IN ESHOWE
A NEW LOOK AT THE FOREST
Eshowe's modern history begins with the arrival
of Norwegian missionaries in the mid-19th
Rev Hans Schreuder of the Norwegian Mission
Society was granted permission by King Mpande
to start a mission station at Ntumeni. Seven
years later, a second Norwegian, Rev Ommund
Oftebro, established a mission station at
KwaMondi (situated in the present King Dinuzulu
Suburb). During the Anglo-Zulu War in 1879
the British forces occupied the mission to
use as a base for their onslaught on Ulundi
but the fort was surrounded by Zulu warriors
for 10 weeks and burned down after the relief
of the fort.
The Mission Museum in the Fort Nongqayi Museum
Village pays tribute to the early Norwegian
offers a variety of unusual attractions. Beside
the forest itself with its hiking trails, fern-covered
glades and rich diversity, visitors can now get
a new perspective on the forest - a bird's eyeview
- from the recently-built Dlinza Forest Aerial
The boardwalk - the first in South Africa - is
a 125m-walkway which takes visitors from the forest
understorey into its leafy canopy giving a close
glimpse of life high above the forest floor -
birds nesting and feeding, epiphytic orchids flowering
in dappled light and giant trees competing for
light and space.
At the end of the walkway, visitors can climb
the 20m-high viewing tower which emerges above
the canopy of the trees and has magnificent views
over the forest and of the countryside leading
down to the coast.
get a new perspective from the Dlinza Forest aerial
'parachute' seeds of the ishongwe
. . .
Where does Eshowe get its name?
Uncertainty surrounds the origins of the town's
name, many believing that its name is an onomatopoeic
Zulu derivation of the sound of cool breezes
sighing through the forest.
Oral history suggests that it was the name of
a chief's homestead located near present-day
Eshowe. This may be, although it is more likely
that the name is drived from the vast number
of Xysmalobium (milkwort) shrubs growing in
the grasslands around Eshowe.
In pre-Shaka days they were called iShowe
or iTshowe by the Nguni clans living
in this area. In present-day Zulu the plant
is known as ishongwe.
It is used in traditional medicine to treat
dysentery and headaches but is also used as
a charm to divert storms.