It is true when they say South Africa has something for everyone. Possibly the most interesting itinerary I have ever embarked on in the rainbow nation was that of the Zulu Legacy.
While the country is rich in culture and history, I was intrigued to travel deep into Zululand and learn of bloodthirsty yet courageous battle’s that the native Zulu’s endured across a number of wars.
The Zulu Legacy – Kings, Warriors & Wildlife tour offers the perfect itinerary to step back in time and re-live the brutality, strength and rise and fall of the Zulu empire and its opponents. From Johannesburg out to the battlefields, through Hluhluwe, Imfolozi Park, St Lucia and ending in Durban, the itinerary takes you in the footsteps of the famous King Shaka to gain a deeper insight into Zulu culture, while still enjoying the majestic “Big 5” on Shaka’s original royal hunting grounds.
First stop was Spioenkop, where a well-informed guide transported me back to January 1900 and the tragic battle between the Boer and Brits. Acting out the events and visiting the sites where it all took place sent an eerie shiver down my spine. To further soak up the atmosphere, we stayed the night at Rorke’s Drift Hotel, situated on the Buffalo River at Rorke’s Drift and overlooking the historic crossing that gives the area its name.
The following days took in a visit around the eerie landscape of Isandlwana where 20,000 mighty Zulu warriors took on the firepower of the British troops. The area is scattered with grave sites from the fallen, a constant reminder of the past. It is here that I found a greater appreciation for history, and how it has molded the present day.
Probably my favourite part of the itinerary was eMakhosini – Valley of the Zulu Kings. A visit to the Umgungundlovu Interpretive Centre and the Kwazulu Cultural Museum at Ondini explained more in depth the Zulu culture, battle tactics and the legends of Zulu Kings. Following on from here, I journeyed further through Kwazulu-Natal’s to the Hluhluwe-Imfolozi Game Reserve, with an overnight stay at Emdoneni Lodge.
After a day of game driving through Hluhluwe-Imfolozi Game Park, I was further in awe of probably one of the best experiences you can have in South Africa. The Emdoneni Lodge Wild Cat Experience allows the opportunity to interact with some of Africa’s wild cats at the rehabilitation program.
The last day of this unique itinerary took me through St Lucia Estuary before heading on to Durban. An early morning departure by boat from the St Lucia Estuary took me cruising past wildlife in a different scenery. Hippos gathered in pods, their beady eyes breaking the water’s surface as ears twitched. Crocodiles could be spotted sunning themselves on the river banks and the trees were full of exotic birdlife. It was the perfect way to finish an adventure packed yet eye opening journey into the lives of Zulu warriors, courageous battles and legends that will long remain in my mind.