Eshowe

Proclaimed in 1915, named after the sound of the wind through the trees or after ishowe, a particularly cold wind prevalent during the winter.

Eshowe is the oldest town in Zululand. It set on a hill and has uniquely developed around a 350ha park of stately indigenous coastal scarp forest that is called Dlinza. The town, rich in cross-cultural and royal history, has been home to Shaka, Mpande, Cetshwayo and Dinizulu, as well as to British conquerors. It was the first British capital of Zululand when Natal was declared a separate British colony (1887 – 1897). The town fell in John Dunn’s domain. This famous white chief of the Zulu was first appointed by king Cetshwayo and then again later by Lord Wolseley.

The Zululand Historical Museum is housed in Fort Nongqai. This picturesque building, commanding a splendid view, was built in 1883 and is an exhibit in itself. It was declared a national monument in 1939. The museum was established in the fort during 1961. It was built as the residence of the Natal Native Police who were the bodyguards of Sir Melmoth Osborn, the British Resident Governor of Zululand. The large grounds offer picnic areas and a self-guided tour through the indigenous forest. Prior arrangements should be made for guided tours of the museum.

In the centre of Eshowe is a substantial indigenous forest, known as Dlinza forest. Here there is a spectacular walkway through the canopy of the forest, to a platform high above the trees, where one can see many of the numerous birds, butterflies, monkeys and other creatures that inhabit this diverse forest. There are also walks on foot through the forest. Qualified birding guides are available at the forest for those who wish to learn more about this exciting place.

The Residency was built in 1894 to house the Magistrate and was declared a· national monument in 1986. The present Magistrate and his family live there, along with a ghost named Josephine but the home is not open to the public.

King Cetshwayo’s Memorial commemorates the spot where he passed away on 8 February 1884 and is presumably the site of the Gqikazi Kraal.

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