"To Cetshwayo from Queen Victoria". This is the inscription on a replica of a large three handled mug in the Zululand Historical Museum in Eshowe. With a section devoted entirely to The History of The Zulu, the museum is housed in the former British Fort, Nonquai, which has been declared a national monument.
The name Eshowe is said by some to be a Zulu word imitating the sound of the cool breezes blowing through the trees of this forested area, by others to be the Zulu word for the milk bush shrubs growing here, the sap of which was traditionally used to tan hides.
The main road to Ulundi passes through Eshowe which was proclaimed a town in 1915 and serves a large area where the cultivating of sugar cane is the main commercial farming activity.
Catering to the tourist trade has been turned into an art form in Eshowe, where the natural Zululand terrain lends itself to interesting and novel pursuits. From enjoying a traditional Zulu experience, to browsing Zulu craft and curio shops, to fishing, canoeing, hiking, cliff jumping and rock sliding - there are 101 things to do in 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
No other town in South Africa has blended so organically into its environment as Eshowe.
The core of the 250-hectare coastal scarp 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 it 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 peacekeeping 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
Today, Eshowe continues to charm visitors and was recently voted amongst the top 10 towns of South
Africa by a popular travel magazine.
Courtesy of Umlalazi, Mtunzini Tourism