Go on a Heritage Day road trip and explore the beauty and culture of Zululand where this holiday was first celebrated when it was still known as ‘Shaka Day’.
With endless rolling hills, historic battlefields, beautiful lakes and wildlife-rich game
reserves, Zululand ties in perfectly with the slow tourism movement according to director of Dream Hotels & Resorts, Brent Dickson.
“This movement is about travelling with patience, taking the time to explore and engage in one’s surroundings fully,” says Dickson.
Explore Route 66
The Zululand Heritage Route 66 traces the oldest trade route traveled by early
transport riders, missionaries, soldiers, and settlers. It starts at the Dokodweni toll
plaza on the N2 north of Durban and climbs inland, linking the towns of Gingindlovu,
Eshowe (Zululand’s oldest town and one-time capital), Melmoth, Ulundi, Nongoma
(seat of the current Zulu monarch) and Pongola.
Learn more about the isiZulu culture, visit a sangoma, taste home-brewed umqombothi, or to watch traditional dancing at any one of these traditional villages: Shakaland, Veyane Cultural Village, and Dumazulu.
Elephants, turtles and everything in between
At Tembe Elephant Park, visitors can witness some of Africa’s large tuskers and
embark on day trips to Kosi Bay. The beach is one of the few places in the country
to track Leatherback and Loggerhead turtles when they come ashore to lay their eggs
from October to February.
Jozini Dam on the Pongola River also provides a rather dramatic doorway into
Mozambique. Together with Lake Sibaya and Lake St Lucia, it forms part of the three
main lake destinations to visit within the region.
“The surrounding reserves of Jozini forms a protected area of more than 30,000
hectares. It’s a game-viewing by boat and tiger-fishing mecca that flies very much
under the radar from tourists,” adds Dickson.
Visitors can also self-drive along the N2 through the iSimangaliso Wetland Park – a World Heritage Site home to crocodiles, hippos and flamingos, as well as the rare Pel’s fishing owl, and South Africa’s only breeding population of pink-backed pelicans.
Want to stay a night or two? Try out one of the Dream Hotels & Resorts properties: Nibela Lake Lodge in St Lucia (Isimangaliso Wetland Park), Jozini Tiger Lodge & Spa overlooking
Lake Jozini (Pongolapoort Dam) or Royal Thonga Safari Lodge in Tembe Elephant Park.