A brief introduction to the history of KwaZulu-Natal
A Past in Glowing Colours of Today
As far from the dry chronicling of distant, long-forgotten events as any well-travelled voyager could hope to encounter, the history of our Kingdom offers a panorama of unforgettable experiences - a living Buzz that permeates every quarter of this spectacularly beautiful terrain where the mighty Zulu nation was forged.
Preserved for future generations within our youngest World Heritage Site, vivid rock-paintings highlight the Drakensberg Mountain fastness of our western boundary, bringing to life the fascinating inner and outer worlds of the truly ancient San people who first enjoyed the bounties of this subtropical paradise. The endless golden beaches of our eastern shoreline, landmark of historic explorer Vasco da Gama and the pirates who once traversed the warm Indian Ocean currents with impunity, offers shipwrecks and million-year-old fossil beds to explore, plus the opportunity to re- trace the footprints of marooned mariners who sought refuge here. Our coastal World Heritage Site in Zululand, the iSimangaliso Wetland Park, further presents the extraordinarily rare chance to encounter living fossils of the deep, the coelacanth. Admittedly, the odds in favour of such a sighting might not be great, but videotaped documentary evidence of such close-ups with pre-dawn history proves they do in fact exist!
To the north lie our memory-filled and intensely atmospheric Battlefields, scenes of valour and supreme sacrifice, where one can stand and reflect at the exact spots where Zulu warrior, Boer guerilla and British redcoat fell during the epic three-way struggle of our formative epoch. The annals of our Kingdom refer to its southernmost reaches as No-man's Land - today an exquisite wilderness of former frontier territory, where the visitor can recall, with great ease, days of clandestine gun-running and contraband smuggling.
Linking these compass points is the inimitable Bush, where history was made in wildlife conservation on the African continent - leading to our unsurpassable collection of game parks and reserves, and where the proud Zulu people rose in unity following migration of clans from the Great Lakes. Relive the campaigns of Africa's Black Napoleon - King Shaka - and trace the lineage of monarchs from Colonial subjugation through the Apartheid years to present-day democracy.
Our multicultural society bears witness to the successful Liberation Struggle that captured world headlines for decades, and one can walk in the footsteps of towering figures from Nelson Mandela to Mohandas Gandhi. The Mahatma-to-be left an indelible imprint on our Indian population, who arrived from the subcontinent with an epic history of their own, sustained and nurtured to a maturity that today offers the visitor a vast array of fascinating, insightful experiences. Welcome, then, to our Kingdom where East meets West in the palm of the proud Zulu people, and history speaks out at every turn, not in prosaic monotones, but in poetic and rainbow-hued language that beckons with the promise of a lifetime's memories of unique adventures amid natural splendour bar none.