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Eshowe, ‘the place of cool breezes’, lies on a plateau, protected from the subtropical humidity of surrounding areas. It was proclaimed a magistracy in 1887 on Zululand’s annexation by Britain, and became the capital of Zululand. It is the birthplace of Cetshwayo, King of the Zulu nation during the Anglo-Zulu War of 1879.

Mtunzini’s distinctive name, which means ‘a place in the shade’, was given to the village by the Zulu people, close to the turn of the century.

The uMlalazi municipal area is anchored by three urban centres. Eshowe in KwaZulu Natal is the sub-regional centre and has the most diversified economy. Gingindlovu is a small urban area which acts as a service centre for its surrounding area. Mtunzini is basically a dormitory town to the University of Zululand and to a certain extent also to Empangeni and Richards Bay.

Eshowe in KwaZulu Natal offers a unique window on history as the oldest town in Zululand. It is also unique in having the 250 ha Dlinza indigenous forest within the town, with abundant facilities for walking, picnics and bird-watching. Mtunzini is a superb eco-tourism destination, boasting one of only two natural groves of Raphia australis palms in South Africa and the breeding place of the rare Palmnut Vulture. It is believed that there are only 7 or 8 breeding pairs of Palmnut Vultures in South Africa, and four of these are recorded in Mtunzini.

Historical and other places of interest in uMlalazi Eshowe in KwaZulu Natal

  • Coward’s Bush – a memorial near KwaBulawayo marks the spot where Shaka had defeated soldiers executed and those suspected of cowardice tested

  • Dlinza Forest – an indigenous forest in the town, with the only aerial boardwalk in the Southern Hemisphere

  • Entumi Nature Reserve – a magnificent indigenous forest, home to many bird and animal species

  • Goedetrouw Public Resort – fishing and picnicking at this tranquil resort 13 km north of the town

  • KwaBulawayo – isiZulu for ‘place of the persecuted one’; this kraal, big enough for 12 000 warriors, is on the crest of a hill and marked by a monument

  • Ocean View Game Park – scenic park containing two memorials to warrior-king Shaka

  • The world-famous battle-sites of Isandlwana, Rorke’s Drift and Ulundi, as well as the mighty untamed Thukela River,with South Africa’s finest white water, are within easy driving distance from Eshowe.


  • Moyeni – one of several settlements established by John Dunn, it became his headquarters and means ‘The Windy Place’; his grave is on the property

  • Raffia Palms – the grove was planted by Mr C C Foxon when magistrate of the District, possibly in 1903. The original seeds came from Maputaland, and the grove is a national monument

  • Indaba Tree – in the uMlalazi Nature Reserve, the site is marked with a plaque. It was here that John Dunn held court sittings and celebratory gatherings. He built a pole fence around the tree about 3 m from it and filled the enclosure with anthill sand

  • John Dunn’s Pool – the remains can still be seen if one follows the Mangrove Trail, and was dug to provide a safe swimming area for his wives, as there were many crocodile and hippo in the vicinity

  • Port Durnford – the ‘port’ was established during the South African War of 1879 by the men of H M S Forester, and used when disembarking troops and supplies; Cetshwayo was brought through here and banished to the Cape after his capture in 1879

Museums and art galleries


  • Fort Nonqayi – a three-turreted fort established in 1883, and scene of a siege 20 years before those at Ladysmith, Kimberley and Mafikeng, it is home to the Zululand Historical

  • Museum, in which the area’s fascinating cross-cultural history is told.

  • Vukani Museum – a small museum in the town centre housing examples of Zulu handiwork, including pottery, basketry, beadwork and tapestries. The site of the first Zulu martyr is found here.