A Town Set on a Hill
Eshowe, the oldest town in Zululand, is situated on a hilltop overlooking the hot and humid Zululand coastal plain. The towns neighbours include Empangeni, Mtunzini, Gingindlovu, Amatikulu and Melmoth.
The Dlinza Forest, around which the town wraps itself, is considered the soul of Eshowe. The town offers visitors a variety of unusual attractions, the most striking being the Dlinza Forest itself, with hiking trails, picnic spots and the magnificent Dlinza Forest Aerial Boardwalk – the first of its kind in Southern African and exclusive to Eshowe! The forest was known to the Zulu's as Dlinza, meaning 'a grave-like place of meditation'.
A 'must visit' is the Vukani Museum, housed within the Fort Nongqayi Museum village. It boasts the largest and most valuable collection of Zulu crafts in the world which includes some of the best examples of Zulu pottery, basketry, beadwork and tapestries, done by artists who have gone on to receive international recognition.
Eshowe lies only some 30 km from the beaches, lagoons and wetlands, but its location protects it from the sub-tropical humidity that affects this region and has made it a popular holiday destination for centuries!
Eshowe accommodation includes a wonderful Country Hotel, Guest houses, B&B’s and a Backpackers lodge.
Things to do and see
- Dlinza Forest Aerial Boardwalk
- Fort Nongqayi Museum Village
- Martyr’s Cross Monument
- Fort Eshowe / Norwegian Missionary Cemetery
- Shakaland Zulu Cultural Villiage
- Zululand Brewery
- Entumeni Nature Reserve
- Ongoye Forest Nature Reserve
- Lake Phobane
- Nkandla Forest
- Eshowe Hills Golf Course
Eshowe receives approximately 1119 mm of rain annually with most of its annual rainfall during summer.
Summer months, November to March will have average temperatures of between 15˚C and 28˚C.
Winter months, May to August will have average temperatures of between 10˚C and 24˚C.
Eshowe supposedly got its name after the sound of wind singing through the trees, but the name most likely comes from the xysmalobium shrubs, called by the Zulu's 'showe' or 'shongwe' as they are prolific in the area of the town.
Eshowe is the oldest town in Zululand and has been home to four Zulu Kings - Shaka, Mpande, Cetshwayo, and Dinuzulu. It was King Mpande who first invited the Norwegian missionary, Reverend Ommund Oftebro, to set up his mission station here in 1861 and King Cetshwayo was born and died here.
Eshowe was the British Military headquarters after the Anglo-Zulu War of 1879. During this war, a force of troops under Colonel Pearson was besieged by the Zulu forces for 10 weeks in the immediate area of the KwaMondi Mission Station around which they built the earthworks of Fort Eshowe, still to be seen today. Shortly thereafter, Eshowe was officially selected by the British as the post-war Capital of Zululand.
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