5 places to explore on the KZN coast


What to explore

The iLembe Tourism and Heritage experience offers unforgettable ways to celebrate heritage.

Offering both locals and tourists an array of experiences and attractions fit for the whole family to enjoy, The iLembe Heritage Experience urges you to take that Sho’t left, and explore your own backyard.

These are but a mere few of the amazing places you can visit and get started with.

King Shaka

Shaka Zulu, one of the most influential monarchs of the Zulu Kingdom, founded the town of KwaDukuza almost 200 years ago. King Shaka is remembered for uniting the Zulu people and his skill in battle tactics.

He was ultimately assassinated by his half brothers Dingane and Mhlangana on September 24, 1828, aged 41.

This is commemorated every year in KwaDukuza as ‘Shaka Day’, and was the precursor to Heritage Day.

While Shaka Day is used to unite the Zulu clans, Heritage Day is about uniting South Africa as a Rainbow Nation. While the exact location of Shaka’s grave is unknown the King Shaka Visitor Centre in KwaDukuza serves as a memorial to his death, and houses the rock he is thought to have been sitting on at the moment of his death.

The Ultimatum Tree

If history is your bent on the banks of the Tugela River is the site where the famous Ultimatum Tree once stood. Today, in its place the graft taken from the original tree is growing steadily.

It was here under the famous sycamore-fig that J W Shepstone, the British secretary of native affairs, handed what was later acknowledged to be an unfairly harsh ultimatum to Zulu delegates sent by King Cetshwayo in the summer of 1878.

The ultimatum ordered the Zulus to remove themselves from the land in Northern Natal, as it was then known, or the British would invade on January 18, 1879. Cetshwayo rejected the conditions, leading to the Anglo-Zulu wars, British defeat at Isandlwana, the heroism at Rorke’s Drift and British victory at Ulundi.

A short walk from the Ultimatum Tree is the site of Fort Pearson, from where the British controlled the river crossing and on the opposite bank of the Tugela, her sister camp of Fort Tenedos. The site of Fort Pearson offers a breathtaking view of the Tugela River.

Luthuli Museum

Visit the Luthuli Museum and sit in the very spot where African National Congress’ president-general and Nobel Peace Laureate Chief Albert Luthuli sat in conversation with New York Senator Robert F. Kennedy on June 8 1966. Kennedy later referred to Luthuli as one of the most impressive men he had met on his travels around the world.

North Coast beaches

North Coast beaches are pretty as a picture and at Clarke Bay you can now take your snaps at the funky yellow photo frame. After taking your photos, follow the promenade to Willard Beach.

Then it's off the beaten track with a wonderful coastal trail from Ballito north to Salt Rock. If you like a fast pace this can be done in an hour or two, but with its tidal pools and rock platforms, you can easily make a whole day of it. There are several tidal pools en route, so don’t forget a swimming costume, mask and snorkel. Check the tides before you set off as some of the coves become inaccessible at high tide.

African art

Beads play a vital role in African culture. They are used to decorate traditional attire and make jewelry. But the most important aspect is the message – usually love messages – carried through the different colours.It is quite easy to find beadwork vendors on the North Coast, often at the main beaches.

Almost every township or rural area has talented beadwork artists, so if you need a specific type of beadwork done, you can easily place an order. Some hire out jewelry for special events.

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