Your best online guide to Eshowe  



It's 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 16 years.

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 of Zululand.

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 soldier.

Today it continues to charm visitors and Eshowe was recently voted amongst the top 10 towns of South Africa by a popular travel magazine.

Welcome to Zululand!
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
• Restaurant

Tel: 035 474 5000


1 Hulett Drive, Eshowe

Art Ceramics
Mosaics • Crafts
Sculpture Toys
Cards •
• Art workshops
Janine Jones
072 673 8710

Enjoy Zululand's winning beer brewed by
The George Hotel

Main St



Eshowe's 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 and craft.

The Norwegian Connection
Eshowe's modern history begins with the arrival of Norwegian missionaries in the mid-19th Century
when 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 missionaries.
Eshowe 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 Boardwalk.
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.

Visitors get a new perspective from the Dlinza Forest aerial boardwalk

The 'parachute' seeds of the ishongwe plant.
Eish! . . .
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.