Eshowe KwaZulu-Natal History and information

KZN North Happenings




Shakaland Cultural Village


Eshowe, "A City Set on a Hill".

The sound of the breeze rustling through the Dlinza Forest in the heart of the town is the romantic explanation for the town's name. The more scientific is that it is a corruption of the isiZulu word ishongwe, meaning 'milkbush shrubs', also prominent in the area.


Eshowe is situated close to the Capitals of the old Zulu kingdoms. Eshowe was the colonial capital of Zululand, and it is steeped in Zulu and colonial history. With a rich cultural and royal history, Eshowe has been home to Zulu Kings Shaka, Mpande, Cetshwayo and Dinuzulu, as well as the British military headquarters.


Eshowe was the first British Capital of Zululand during its time as a separate British colony (1887 - 1897). King Mpande invited rev. Ommund Oftebro in 1853 to settle his mission station in Eshowe, thereby forever changing the face of Eshowe. The town was proclaimed a magistracy in 1887 upon Zululand's annexation by Britain and became the capital of Zululand. It has since lost this status but has grown to support a 1 800km agricultural district.


Eshowe has many places of cultural and ethic appeal - Shakaland being one of the most well known cultural villages in KwaZulu-Natal.

The Museum offers a rare look at John Dunn who was South Africa's only official white Zulu Chief and had 48 Zulu wives. Another special attraction to the town is the Vukani Museum, which has the world's largest collection of traditional Zulu Arts and Crafts. Eshowe has a wealth of fauna, flora and bird life beyond compare in southern Africa (in excess of 400 bird species are to be found) and is centrally positioned in an area surrounded by scarp forest and linked to other neighbouring forests by pockets of indigenous bush and grassland, which make it an excellent base for birding the Zululand forests.


This is a bird watchers delight! Dlinza Forest, which is in the heart of Eshowe, hosts birds like the elusive Spotted Ground- Thrush , while above Delegorgue's Pigeons can be heard throughout the summer months making their loud ascending then descending call. To the west of Eshowe is the Entumeni Nature Reserve, which has a forest superficially similar to Dlinza forest but hosting different birds like Yellow-streaked Bulbuls and African Broadbill which do not occur in Dlinza.

A trail wanders through farms and links the two reserves. This is the Prince Dabulamanzi Trail, named after one of the Zulu King Cetshwayo's great generals.


Eshowe is surrounded by natural forests, sugar plantations and orchards. About 15 km north of Eshowe is Lake Phobane, nestled in a valley, which was once the heart of King Shaka's Kingdom. This is a spectacular birding area and because of the wide range of different habitats in close proximity, a great variety of bird species can found here.

Eshowe's winters are warm, with temperatures during the day up to 23 degrees centigrade and nights just slightly chilly. At this time of year, the town has the best climate in South Africa. Summers are cooler than the coast, as there is an offshore breeze.


Eshowe is a mere 25 kilometres from the beach, lagoons and wetlands. Lying on a plateau Eshowe is protected from the subtropical humidity of surrouding areas


P O Box 8073
Nelspruit 1206


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