The Heart of Zululand
Zululand, and Ulundi is steeped in the fascinating culture of the people who call it home. Once the capital of Zululand and from 1994 to 2004 it alternated with Pietermaritzburg as the capital of the entire province of KwaZulu-Natal. It is recognized as representing the core of the Zulu culture as it has a long history going back to Cetshwaya who became king of the Zulus in 1874.
Today it is a multi-cultural town nearby the mythological 'Valley of the Kings' – eMakhosini – which was home to several Zulu clans and visiting Ulundi means visiting many historical sites! For example, King Cetshwayo’s original royal kraal has been partially restored and can be seen at the Emakhosini Ophathe Heritage Park which, as well as being a game reserve is the burial site of a number of Zulu kings and is home to the Spirit of eMakhosini Memorial.
The Prince Mangoshutu Buthelezi Airport, also known as the Ulundi Airport is an attraction on its own but, is also a working airport where Federal Airlines operates a chartered schedule service from Johannesburg, Pietermaritzburg and ‘Virginia (Durban North) to Ulundi , 5 days a week.
The surrounding area offers accommodation which includes self-catering units, guesthouses and B&B’s as well as a few private Game Lodges.
Things to do and see
- Mgungunlovu Battlefield
- Battle of Ulundi Monument
- Emakhosini Ophathe Heritage Park
- Thangami 4X4 Trail
- Ondini Historical Reserve
- Prince Mangosuthu Buthelezi Airport (Ulundi Airport)
- Mtonjaneni Zulu Cultural Museum, Melmoth
- Battlefields Route
- Route 66 / Zululand Heritage Route
- Rainbow Route
Ulundi receives approximately 844 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 29˚C.
Winter months, May to August will have average temperatures of between 9˚C and 24˚C.
There are daily local flights into Richards Bay Airport, approximately 140 Km’s away via the R66 and R34, and into King Shaka Airport in Durban, approximately 207 Km’s away also via the R66 and the N2. Car hire facilities are available at the Airport.
When Cetshwayo became king of the Zulus on 1 September 1873 he created, as was customary, a new capital for the nation. This place was named uLuNdi ('the high place'), usually called Ulundi by Europeans.
On 4 July 1879 the British army captured Ulundi and burnt it down. This was the final battle of the Anglo-Zulu War and the plain on which it was fought is still littered with cartridge cases, spent bullets, and other relics.
A memorial has been erected on the site.
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