- eMakhosini Ophathe Heritage Park
It was created through the consolidation of the 8 000 hectare KZN Wildlife Ophathe game reserve with another 20 000 hectares of land bought for the purpose by the heritage authority, AMAFA.
This rugged and beautiful park provides visitors with an incomparable opportunity to enjoy the area's diverse natural, historical and cultural heritage simultaneously.
The park displays a variety of habitats which include valley bush veld, mist belt grasslands, wetland, woodland, ngongoni grassland and riparian.
Endangered black rhino
Established in 1991 as the Ophathe Game Reseve the initial purpose for proclamation of Ophathe was "to serve as a sanctuary for the endangered Black Rhino and possibly other endangered species as well." The park was extended to include the EMakhosini valley which is steeped in history and where Archaeologists discovered tools which date back to the Stone-Age as well as evidence of the interaction between bushmen and settlers dating back about one thousand five hundred years.
Visitors to the park also have an excellent opportunity for game viewing and can expect to see animals such as leopard, impala, black rhino, white rhino, giraffe, nyala, blue wildebeest, buffalo, waterbuck, zebra, hyena and a variety of others.
For the bird lovers the reserve has an abundant variety of bird species which include secretary bird, blue crane, black eagle, vultures, Crested Francolin, ground hornbills, Puffback and Emerald-spotted Dove.
The eMakhosini valley is also steeped in history with Archaeologists discovering tools which date back to the Stone-Age as well as evidence of the interaction between bushmen and settlers dating back about one thousand five hundred years.
eMakhosini Valley has also served as the backdrop for much of Zulu history and is widely considered as a sacred place with various historical sites and museums throughout the area.
The great Zulu warrior king Shaka was born in the valley of eMakhosini in the late 1700's, and it is also there that many of the Zulu Kings who followed him were laid to rest.
Zulu king Dingane’s homestead was where Voortrekkerr leader Piet Retief and his men were slaughtered and their bodies were buried in the valley at Kwa Matiwane. Lord Chelmsford defeated King Cetshwayo during the final battle of the Anglo-Zulu War at the Battle of Ulundi.
A number of conflicts took place in the eMakhosini valley between the Zulu people and the Voortrekkers, who sought land to settle in.
Spirit of eMakhosini
‘The Spirit of the eMakhosini’ Memorial was unveiled in 2003 by Zulu king Zwelithini. Encircled by seven horns to represent the Zulu kings which are buried in the area: Unkosinkulu, Phunga, Ndaba, Senzangakhona, Zulu, Mageba and Jama eMakhosini. This impressive memorial offers visitors a rare and unique opportunity to experience Zulu history.
eMakhosini Ophathe Heritage Park is a 'not to be missed' experience if you are at all interested in the history and culture of old Zululand.
- Weekdays, 08h00 - 16h00
- Weekends, 09h00 - 16h00
- Christmas Day and Good Friday
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