Eshowe, a city set on a Hill,t is situated around a 250 hectare indigenous coastal scarp forest, Eshowe offers the visitor a variety of unusual attractions, the most striking being the majestic Dlinza Forest itself, with hiking trails and picnic spots and the magnificent new Dlinza Forest Aerial Boardwalk. The boardwalk, the first in Southern Africa and exclusive to Eshowe, is a 150 metre walkway build above the forest floor, which allows visitors to view flora, fauna and avifauna at a comfortable level. It ends with a 20 metre steel tower, offering dramatic views of both the forest canopy and surrounding countryside.
The Boardwalk employs a number of trained birding guides who are available to show visitors some of the delight of the forest, Here one can call up the Green Coucal or see Crowned Eagles which nest in the forest as well as the rare Spotted Thrush and many other forest dwellers. The ironwood, Wild Plums and other forest giants give shelter to Orchids, Clivias, Bushbuck, Duiker, Narina Trogons, Delegorgue’s Pigeon and Wood Owls. 180 different wildflower species blossom in the grasslands, and Eshowe is one of the few towns in this country which has some trees in flower every day of the year. Another attraction to challenge the more energetic can be experienced at Mpushini Falls.Sport lovers are well catered for with clubs available bowls, cricket, golf, hockey, rugby, soccer, squash and tennis. Visitors may contact the Publicity Office for details of each of these. There has always been controversy over the real meaning of the name ‘Eshowe’ but oral history has it that Eshowe was the name of Khondlo’s homestead which was located near the iNwaku stream, which flows into the Amatigulu river about 6 kilometres away from the town towards Entumeni. Khondlo was the sun of Qwabe the brother to Nkosinkulu Zulu after whom the Zulu nation was named. Eshowe offers a window on history as it is the oldest town in Zululand.
King Cetswayo was born and died here and it was king Mpande who first invited the Norwegian missionary, the Reverend Ommund Oftebro to settle his mission station here in1861, thereby forever changing tha face of Eshowe. With a rich history, Eshowe has been home to four Zulu kings, Shaka, Mpande, Cetshwayo and Ninuzulu. It was the British military headquaters after the Anglo-Zulu war of 1879. During this war, a force of troops under colonel Pearson was besieged by the Zulu forces for 10 weeks in the immediate area of KwaMondi Mission Station around which they build the earthworks of Fort Eshowe, still to be seen today. Shortly thereafter, Eshowe was officially selected by the British as the post-war Capital of Zululand. The fascinating cross-cultural history of the area is told at the Zululand Historical Museum which is housed at Fort Nongayi, the striking white, mud brick and three-turreted fort established in 1883 as the base of the most unusual peace-keeping Zulu force, called the Nonqayi. Amongst its many displays, the Museum offers a rare look at John Dunn, South Africa’s only official white Zulu iNkosi and husband to 48 Zulu wife’s.
Another unique attraction at the Museum Village is the Vukani Museum, housing the world’s largest collection of traditional Zulu Arts and Crafts. The Missionary Museum has recently being opened. Just north of Eshowe is the Nkwalini Valley, steeped in history. Atop hills overlooking the valley, are the sites of three great military headquarters belonging to the three powerful kings , King Shaka’s kwaBulawayo,King Dingane’s uMungundlovu and King Cetshwayo’s oNdini. This valley is also known as the ‘ Valley of the Virgin Warrior ‘. This name reflects the strict discipline imposed by King Shaka upon his regiments. Soldiers were quartered close by the King’s seraglios, but the young men were strictly forbidden contact with the maidens, under penalty of instant death. In the 1860’s white traders passed through the valley but did not settle. The Zulu people abandoned the area search for better and safer grazing for their cattle. They were fleeing nearby Ntambanana’s tsetse fly scourge. In the 1920’s when white farmers settled, dense jungle had overtaken the valley. They cleared it and drained the swamps, turning the valley into the prosperous sugar cane and citrus area it is today. The valley also has several tourists attractions, Shakaland, Kwabhekithungu at Stewards farm, as well as Iphiva, the only resort in this country with accommodation in floating chalets on Phobane lake.