King Shaka Archives - Tim Brown Tours
  • 12th November 2015

    The Zulu kingdom, the Zulu nation!




    This brief write up is my understanding of the forming of the Zulu nation into a great kingdom over the years. We have to always keep in mind that almost all that is written on the Zulu nation is from word of mouth of Oral history and this could mean that it has been twisted over the years.

    The Zulu nation like any other in its early days was illiterate and it took the missionaries which came to South Africa in the 1840’s to begin with educating the Zulu people about God and Jesus as well as the other western ways.

    It always amazes me in conversation with many westerners that they seem to feel that you are uneducated or beneath them if you haven’t what is referred to as a formal education. In my opinion this is very wrong! I almost feel the opposite that learning from other family members to hunt to survive, fight and communicate with nature is quite an education. It obviously wont stand you in good stead to get a regular job but its a heck of an experience!


    The Zulu nation have a history which is incredible to learn about.

    The Zulu nation was believed to have originally formed in about 1550 by a Chief called Malandela with a small following on the Southern banks of the Umhlatuze river. He had two sons Zulu and Qwabe who as most brother do, did not get along. They were split up and Zulu was sent to the area North of the White Umfolozi river which runs through the Hluhluwe Imfolozi game reserve where I always take my clients to see the Big 5.





    Prominent rivers of KwaZulu Natal in Zululand

    Prominent rivers of KwaZulu Natal in Zululand






















    We have to make mention that the Zulu nation had it origins in central east Africa and became nomadic farmers moving down from this area into Southern Africa hugging the coastline as they moved. They brought with them the Nguni cow which you still find in Kenya and Tanzania (east Africa).

    This would have been a slow process but it is said that by the time the British colonized Durban, in 1823 the Zulu kingdom had filtered down as far as Rio De Natal or what became the Durban harbour.

    From my understanding the Zulus arrived in the area of Durban in the early 1800’s meaning they would have not arrived much before the British in the Durban harbour area. Taking into consideration that Durban harbour or Rio De Natal was discovered in 1497 by Vasco De Gama(Portuguese explorer) this means that no Black African person in South Africa is a true South African or originated in South Africa.

    The true South Africans as far as I am able to tell are the San (aka the Bushmen) who have lived off the land in South Africa for at least the past 40 000 years. Bushman paintings found in the Drakensberg mountains date back as far as 28 000  years.





    Bushman paintings that are 800 years old seen on a hike in the Northern Drakensberg.

    Bushman paintings that are 800 years old seen on a hike in the Northern Drakensberg.





















    Back to the Zulus:

    Most people only seem to think that Shaka kaSenzangakhona ( Shaka son of Senzanagakhona) was the former of the Zulu nation. He was not, he was the “bastard” child of Senzanganakhona and Nandi a maiden from the Elengeni tribe who rose above his humble beginnings to become the greatest leader the Zulu nation has ever seen.

    Shaka did invent the short stabbing spear the Iqwa or Assagai as some of us call it as well as the bulls horns formation of attack. He was a leader which grew his Zulu nation and Kingdom by force and would not let anyone stand in his way. It took the hand of his half brother Dingane to remove him from power in 1828.

    Prior to King Shaka there was 8 kings going back to Malandela in approx 1550. Shaka reigned from 1816 – 1828.





    Zulu Warfare demonstration

    Shakaland tour; Zulu Warfare demonstration

















    Again many people think king Shaka was involved in the Anglo-Zulu wars in 1879. All that Shaka had to do with these battles was to share the weapons he invented and the tactics.

    It was king Cetshwayo kaMpande (son of Shakas half brother Mpande).



    Cetshwayo meets with Queen Victoria of England on 14th August 1882

    Cetshwayo meets with Queen Victoria of England on 14th August 1882 by Alexander Bassano, contact print, 1882


















    Cetshwayo kaMpande sailed to England and probably to the Queen Victoria’s surprise presented himself as a well groomed man in a Suit!

    Cetshwayo was capture during the 1879 Anglo-Zulu battled and exiled to Cape town and requested from the Queen to return to lead his Zulu kingdom, she obliged.



    Back to King Shaka:


    Shaka never sired any children as far as we know, it is said that he never wanted to have someone stronger than him so if any of his Concubines fell pregnant he would send them away from the the Zulu nation to abort the baby or they could not return.

    To abort a child in those days before modern medicine you could use the roots of the Wild Veronia or herbs, roots etc in a ground form as a oral medication which would bring on a miscarriage.

    The great king Shaka truly was a dominant leader of the Zulus.

    Shaka lost all the respect he had earned when he began to destroy his own Zulu nation.

    Upon the death of his mother Nandi in 1827, Shaka was out hunting Elephants with the British who had taught him how to use a single shot rifle and showed him the value of trade. When Shaka heard about his mothers death he legged it back from the Umhlatuze river to Eshowe for her burial.

    He loved his mother so much due to the fact that he was a bastard child and not accepted by many other Zulus as being born out of wedlock was frond upon in those days. King Shaka was abused as a child due to his illegitimate arrival into this world and after other Zulu women burned the home on Nandi they both fled to here original tribe the Elangeni people.

    It was through this that Shaka loved his mother so much for protecting him. Shaka began to destroy his Zulu nation, he entered into a year of mourning which is still practiced today amongst Zulus.

    He destroyed food storage, Slaughtered men and women who were found having intercourse. No woman was allowed to bare a child during this time, if discovered Shaka would removed the child and kill the mother!

    No one was allowed to drink alcohol, sing or dance it was a year that all Zulus would mourn Shakas lose and it became to much.

    In 1828 Dingane; Shakas half brother stabbed him in the back with his own invention the Iqwa or Assagai, Shakas body was thrown into an old maize storage pit believed to be near where the present day King Shaka international airport is situated.

    Dingane became King of the Zulus from 1828 -1840 when he met his death in the Lebombo mountains by the Swazi, Nyawo who was an old enemy. He was chased there by the Dutch who were out to seek revenge over the death of their people and leader Piet Retief.


    Mpande kaSenzanagakona ( Mpande son of Senzangakona) then took over as King of the Zulu nation from 1840 – 1872. He became a well educated man due to the Norwegian missionaries and became morbidly obese.

    Mpande was so obese that the Norwegian missionaries based at Fort Nongqayi, Eshowe built him a wheel chair which is still on display in the museum there.







    Mpandes wheel chair




    Durban safari tour in KwaZulu Natal; Mpandes wheel chair





















    After Mpande passed away mostly due to illnesses related to his lifestyle his son Cetshwayo kaMpande became the Zulu king from 1872 -1884. It was this famous Zulu leader as mentioned above that lead the Zulus into battle against the British at Rorkes drift and Isandlwana on the 22nd of January 1879.

    After Rorkes drift was Queen Victoria handed out 12 Victorian crosses and one of the men decided he would rather become a commanding officer than accept it so the Queen obliged. In the end 11 Victorian crosses were handed out the most in the history of the British vs a Native force.

    The battle of Isandlwana was the worst defeat the British have ever suffered at the hands of a Native force even to today!


    The history of the Zulus goes on and even today we have a Zulu King by the name King Goodwill Zwelithini he has been King of the Zulus since 1971 and still going strong. Today his position is a reminder of our history and he has no power in politics but does still hold annual festivities like the Festival of the first fruits and the Reed dance.



    The traditional Zulu first fruit ritual is an annual harvest celebration known as the Umkhosi Wokweshwama ceremony.

    During the ceremony, the Zulu monarch, King Goodwill Zwelithini, is the first person in the nation to sample the new season’s crop. A person who eats the new crop before the king is considered to have violated the dignity and respect owed to the monarch and the tribal ancestors.

    The Zulu first fruit ceremony is held when the new season’s crops ripen in December or early January. The ceremony takes place at Enyokeni Royal Palace, Nongoma, Zululand, and the exact date is subject to the Zulu king’s discretion.

    The royal tasting happens in a ritualised manner, involving the use of special medicines created by the King’s herbalists and is intended to impart the blessings of the ancestors to the harvest and the farmers.

    During this event, young men participate in a series of rituals aimed at providing the Zulu nation with good fortune in the year ahead. Praise singers perform, and the Zulu monarch uses the occasion to talk to his people about pressing social issues such as HIV/Aids and poverty alleviation.




    First Fruits Festival 



    Zulus, Festival of First Fruits





















    In a desperate attempt to halt the tide of poverty, starvation and joblessness, King Zwelithini has repeatedly exhorted his subjects to develop new skills for tilling their lands and producing food.  The king says that over the past thirty years he has been “deeply pained” to see vast numbers of his subjects languishing in a cesspool of indigence and squalor.

    His Majesty sees the lands that his rural subjects inhabit as being their chief meal-ticket.  Determined to jumpstart an agrarian revolution, the king has, over the last decade, revived the “Ukweshwama” or “First Fruits Festival” pioneered by his ancestors.

    According to tradition, in a by-gone era, subjects were not permitted to partake of their first fruit yields without first offering them to their king.  The festival also served as a thanksgiving to God for providing food for the nation.  As the leader of his nation, the king had to firstly accept the early harvest from God on behalf of his kingdom.

    There was also a heavy emphasis on the need for Zulu men to grow up to be big and strong so that they could help defend the might and power of the Zulu kingdom.

    It was believed that if they helped themselves to the “first fruits” before the king could eat them, then those men would be weak – that they would not grow up to be real men.

    In a nutshell, the festival ordained that when the new harvest season arrived, the king had to eat first before the nation could eat.  At a microscopic level, the same principle traditionally applies to individual households where the elders eat first.

    The unbridled merriment and cultural song and dance routines that characterise the Ukweshwama festival are symptomatic of the Zulu nation celebrating the fact that they could look forward to bountiful supplies of food in the kingdom.

    A major highlight of the festival is the ritual killing of a bull by members of the amabutho with their bare hands.  This was a test of their courage and bravery and represented an opportunity for the warriors to prove themselves to be worthy of being in the regiment. – King Senzangakona did this at his wedding!

    Legend has it that the warriors inherited the power of the bull when the animal was killed.  Through their salutations to the king, this power is transferred to their leader who then uses it to protect and defend the kingdom.





    The Reed dance:

    (below write up courtesy of




    Zulu reed dance ceremony

    Zulu reed dance ceremony




















    Once a year, in the heart of South Africa’s Kingdom of the Zulu, thousands of people make the long journey to one of His Majesty’s, the King of the Zulu nation’s royal residence at KwaNyokeni Palace. Here, in Nongoma, early every September month, young Zulu maidens will take part in a colourful cultural festival, the Royal Reed Dance festival – or Umkhosi woMhlanga in the Zulu language.
    For visitors to KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa’s most popular tourist destination, the Reed Dance festival offers the unique opportunity to experience the natural beauty and majesty of the Kingdom of the Zulu, combined with the vibrant spectacle of Zulu cultural life. The road to the Reed Dance festival runs north from the city of Durban, and winds through the green lushness of the North Coast sugar-belt, skirting through the Kingdom’s world-renowed wildlife reserves of Zululand and Maputaland.

    Finally, it leads into the gently rolling hills and valleys of Zululand, a landscape rich with the silent memories of the heroic clashes of the Anglo-Zulu War, which took place more than 100 years ago.

    Steeped in the history of the rise of the Zulu kingdom under the great King Shaka, the Reed Dance festival has been tirelessly celebrated by countless generations, and attracts thousands of visitors from throughout the country and from across the world. A dignified traditional ceremony, the Reed Dance festival is at same time a vibrant, festive occasion, which depicts the rich cultural heritage of the Kingdom of the Zulu and celebrates the proud origin of the Zulu people.






    The Reed Dance is also a celebration of the Zulu nation and performs the essential role of unifying nation and the king, who presides over the ceremony.

    The festival takes its name from the riverbed reeds, which are the central focus of this four-day event. The reed-sticks are carried in a procession by thousands of young maidens who are invited to the King’s palace each year. More than 10 000 maidens, from various communities throughout the province of KwaZulu- Natal, take part in the Reed Dance ceremony, with the rest of the Zulu nation helping them to celebrate their preparation for womanhood.

    It is a great honour for the young women to be invited to take part in the Reed Dance ceremony, and its also a source of great dignity and pride for their families and communities.

    According to Zulu traditon, only virgins are permitted to take part in the festival to ensure that they are ritually ‘pure’.






    The Reed Dance festival is a solemn occasion for the young women, but also an opportunity to show off their singing, dancing and beadwork, the fruits of many months of excitement and preparation.

    The women of KwaZulu-Natal make some of the finest beadwork in Africa, and the Reed Dance is an especially vibrant and colourful occasion on account of the rich beadwork on display. For visitors to the Reed Dance, this exquisite handiwork can provide a unique souvenir or gift to take home.



    From each region in the Kingdom comes a distinctive craft tradition, and the colours, patterns and styles of the beadwork luxuriantly displayed by the young women, as both ornaments and clothing attest to the region of origin of the craftwork.







    As the Reed Dance ceremony begins, the young women prepare to form a procession led by the chief princess. One of the daughters of the Zulu King is also the leader of the group of maidens as they go through this important rite of passage.

    Each maiden carries a reed which has been cut by the riverbed and it symbolizes the power that is vested in nature. The reeds reflect a deep mythical connection with origin of the Zulu people where, tradition tells us, the original ancestor emerged from a reed bed.

    In everyday use, these reeds are the building material for the typical domed or beehive hut, iqhugwane, which is found particularly in rural homesteads throughout KwaZulu-Natal.



    Zulu mythology has it that if a young woman who is not a virgin takes part in the Reed Dance ceremony, her reed will break and embarrass her in full public view!

    And still, today an expectant hush falls on the crowd as the chief princess is the first to choose a reed. Shouts of joy and celebration greet her as the reed remains intact and, with bated breath, each of the young women takes it in turn to choose a reed.

    Accompanied by jubilant singing and dancing, the stately procession winds its way up the hill to the palace entrance where the king awaits, flanked by his royal regiment.

    As leader of the group of young women, the chief Princess kneels down before the king and presents him with a reed to mark the occasion, before joining the young women in a joyful dance of tribute to the king.



  • 5th September 2015

    Shakaland tour from Durban



    We began our Shakaland tour in Durban where I collected my clients and we covered more of the in depth history of the Zulus and the area we would be travelling into Eshowe.


    Once we arrived at Shakaland for the tour we enjoyed the shop and the amazing African crafts as well as music before the tour of the Umuzi(homestead) began!


    We learned the structure of the Zulu Umuzi and then watched a 15 minuted video clip on the movie Shaka Zulu all of this helps when you do a cultural tour from Durban of this nature.


    We then got permission to enter the Zulu village.






    Shakaland tour; Welcome into the village

    Shakaland tour; Welcome into the village






    We then made our way to watch the lady who weaved the sleeping mats and then watched as Zulu beer was made(Umqomboti). This is always interesting and great to sample later in the day.







    Shakaland tour; Making of Zulu Beer, Umqomboti

    Shakaland tour; Making of Zulu Beer, Umqomboti






    Next was the balancing of the water pots on the head of the ladies. This is the traditional way of carrying water and is still done today with everything and anything. The pots are made with clay soil found down near the river.






    Shakaland tour; Zulus carry pots on head

    Shakaland tour; Zulus carry pots on head






    We then made our way up to the Chief of the village who also showed us King Shaka’s Short stabbing spear and the Bulls horns formation of attack! He also demonstrated how to throw the Isiphapha the long throwing spear King Senzangakhona invented(Shaka’s father).






    Shakaland tour; Zulu Warfare demonstration

    Shakaland tour; Zulu Warfare demonstration






    It was time to shift further into the Zulu cultural village and we went into the Sangoma and Nyanga’s hut. A Sangoma is a fortune teller and an Nyanga is a traditional healer.






    Shakaland tour; Nyanga and Sangoma

    Shakaland tour; Nyanga and Sangoma







    We now sampled the Zulu beer and learned more about Zulu love letters, clothing and bead work. Once this was done we did some more shopping before the Zulu dancing which was amazing!






    Shakaland tour; Sampling of the Zulu Beer

    Shakaland tour; Sampling of the Zulu Beer







    At Shakaland you will also watch dancing from some of the neighboring tribes like the tribe Nelson Mandela came from the AmaXhosa!





    Video: Xhosa dancing during our Shakaland day tour from Durban





    One of the other dances was from our northern neighbors the amaTonga and of course the amazing and powerful Zulu dancing and singing!




    Video: Zulu dancing during our Shakaland Zulu Cultural day tour 








    The above video shows how the Zulus fort off the British at the battle of Isandlwana. This battle was the worsted defeat the British have ever suffered at the hands of a native army!


    We then said farewell to the dancers as we made our way down for some lunch. A traditional Zulu lunch with some things to help if the Westerners could not stomach the Zulu food.






    Shakaland tour; The farewell after the Zulu dancing

    Shakaland tour; The farewell after the Zulu dancing






    Lunch was lovely and the food both traditional and western was lovely. We all enjoyed it and after desert and coffee we made our way back to the shop. This was mostly my idea as I wanted to buy this one CD of Zulu music I heard earlier in the shop. It was lovely so why not.


    It was now time to depart Shakaland after a great Durban day tour and an amazing Zulu cultural experience.


    We covered just a couple things on the way back and left the floor open to questions.

    After arriving safely I turned back and went home after 3 amazing day of tours. I actually had been on the road a week with 4 different groups of clients. Amazing times!


    If you wish to do this same tour please click the link below:



    Shakaland day tour.

  • 31st December 2014

    Shakaland day tour from Richards Bay 27th December 2014


    We began in Richards Bay were I my clients off the Ocean Nautica cruise ship and we headed up to Shakaland for a Day tour.

    It was to be a great day tour and we enjoyed the whole experience of Zulu culture, dancing, singing and tribal dress.


    Shakaland Day Tour entrance

    Shakaland Day Tour entrance



















    After entering this Zulu cultural village where the movie Shaka Zulu was filmed in the 1980’s we had a quick look around the curio craft shops before the tour began at 11am.

    We started by entering the village and came back to the briefing and video clip which is usually show first but due to the ships being in this meant we had to beat the crowds so to speak!

    We began with learning how how King Shaka changed the face of the Zulu nation tactically and practically. We were shown by a Zulu Impi(soldier) how the spears were thrown and the structure of attack.


    Shakaland day tour, Zulu man with one of my clients

    Shakaland day tour, Zulu man with one of my clients




















    As we continued we got to watch the display of this Zulu warrior showing us how the Zulus killed the British at the battle of Isandlwana fought on the 22nd of January 1879.


    Zulu man demonstrates how the Zulus killed the British

    Zulu man demonstrates how the Zulus killed the British



















    We then moved on to the cooking hut which is only for the ladies as the men do not cook in Zulu culture. We watched outside the hut as a Zulu lady strained the Zulu beer in a grass strainer before throwing the remains to the chicken to feed off. The beer itself we would sample later with the chief at a gathering.


    Zulu woman strains the Zulu beer

    Zulu woman strains the Zulu beer




















    At this point we were invited into the Inyanga and Sangomas hut this is the Medicine man and the fortune teller. We entered in learned more about what they do for their people. A common misinterpretation is that a Sangoma is a witch doctor which is false as they are fortune tellers.

    We always greet them by saying “Makhosi”


    Zulu Inyanga and Zulu Sangoma

    Zulu Inyanga and Zulu Sangoma




















    At this point we headed out to meet with the chief for the tasting of Zulu beer which is only about 2 percent alcohol and brewed in 2-3 days. The beer is always a special touch to be able to taste it and be able to have western people learn more about this amazing Zulu Culture. It was amazing to see all those people there all to learn about the Zulu Culture at Shakaland.


    Zulu Chief samples the Zulu beer

    Zulu Chief samples the Zulu beer



















    It was at this point we made our way down to do a spot of shopping before visiting the hut where we watch a 15min video clip from the moving Shaka Zulu which gives a basic run down as to how Shaka grew to be the King of the Zulu nation.

    We them moved on to the Umuzi structural model so that we could view from the top the structure of the traditional Zulu village. This is always amazing and very interesting as Zulus can have any number of wived they want!

    This was great to see and then we moved on to enjoy some Zulu dancing with was hard to photograph as they move so fast!


    Traditional Zulu dancing

    Traditional Zulu dancing



















    Zulu dancing Video:




    We then sat down to a lovely lunch of traditional Zulu foods and some western food for those who were not so keen on the traditional stuff. It was very tasty and after this we enjoyed some of the views over the dam before slowly making our way back to Richard Bay to catch the ship before it headed to Durban.

    It had been a lovely Durban day safari and tour of Shakaland.


  • 30th August 2014

    Durban Half Day Tour – Valley of 1000 Hills and Zulu Cultural experience:


    I met my clients which were a group out for a conference in Durban, at one of  the beach front hotels.

    Three of my clients had already been with me for the past 3 days on a Durban Big 5 Safari in Hluhluwe Imfolozi game reserve. It is always great to show off the different areas that KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa has to offer and today was no different!

    We took a leisurely drive up into the Valley of 1000 Hills and stopped at PheZulu Safari park where we would enjoy some of the views, the curios shop, Reptile park and then the Zulu Cultural village.

    Although some of my clients were not to keen on the reptile side of things they all agreed to give it a go! The Valley of 1000 Hills was once home to a Cannibalistic tribe which were chased buy the Zulus into the 1000 Hills. It was here the took refuge against the great Zulu King and his Impis (Soldiers). Unfortunately the lack of food caused them to turn on themselves in a cannibalistic nature.

    Anyway the Reptile Park where we looked as Snakes, Crocodiles and Tortoises was great and a new experience for some. It is always a great place to see some of the countries most venomous snakes behind glass and learn more about the complex venom’s they possess!

    I stupidly left my camera in the car for this one but did take it on the Zulu cultural Tour.

    At 11:30  it was time to go to the Zulu Cultural village and educate ourselves on the complex history behind the Zulu Nation. It was spectacular as ever and the Zulu Dancing and singing was great led by Chief Gaza the leader of this village who already has 3 wives.


    Zulu Boy celebrates after the acceptance of his marriage proposal during our Durban half Day Tour to the Valley of 1000 Hills

    Zulu Boy celebrates after the acceptance of his marriage proposal during our Durban half Day Tour to the Valley of 1000 Hills




















    In Zulu Culture you can have any number of Wives you want but you have to pay “Ilobola” a dowry out of respect to the parents of the girl and also to prove you can afford to take care of their daughter.


    Zulu boy consults the Sangomas or fortune tellers about his new wife to be during our Durban Zulu Cultural Tour

    Zulu boy consults the Sangomas or fortune tellers about his new wife to be during our Durban Zulu Cultural Tour



















    After the acceptance of a proposal the Zulu man consults the fortune tellers of the Sangoma and requested a look into his future. It is at this point that the man can still change his mind if the Sangoma says the girl he wishes to marry is infertile etc

    In Zulu Culture it is important to have lots of children so that the kids can help around the home, work in the fields, look after the Cows, Goats and chickens etc.

    It is also good for the man to have many daughters so that one day he too can receive Cows in exchange for his daughters hand in marriage. One son will allow his name to continue…


    The celebrations begin at the Zulu Cultural village on our Durban half Day Tour

    The celebrations begin at the Zulu Cultural village on our Durban half Day Tour



















    After all the dowry is paid the celebrations of the 3 day wedding take place from Friday to Sunday and the two are wed. 

    After a great performance of singing and dancing we headed to the traditional Zulu beehive huts. The first hut was a meeting hut where the men always sit on the right and women on the left in order to protect the women from intruders entering the hut unexpectedly. 

    Boys if they start using the left hand will be taught how to use there right hand as the spears/Assagais are held in the right hand and can be thrown at the intruder who enters the hut.

    Watch some Dancing from our Zulu Cultural Tour click link: Zulu Dancing Video


    Zulu man demonstrates how to use the long throwing spear on our Valley of 1000 Hills Zulu cultural experience

    Zulu man demonstrates how to use the long throwing spear on our Valley of 1000 Hills Zulu cultural experience



















    Inside the hut the floors are polished with cow dung and the central fire sends up smoke into the Thatched roof in order to prevent the rain from penetrating the hut.


    The Assagai invented by the great King Shaka for close combat

    The Assagai invented by the great King Shaka for close combat



















    It was King Shaka who was King of the Zulus from 1816-1828 that invented this short stabbing spear for close combat with the British and the Dutch settlers. This weapon became historical as the Zulus used it to defeat the British at the 1879 Battle of Isandlwana with the then King; Cetswayo.


    After this amazing experience we moved on to Hillbillies for lunch also with a great view over the valley of 1000 hills. They also have a lot of craft markets that my clients enjoyed looking through. 

    Once we were done here I took everyone up to secret location which has brilliant views over the valley of 1000 hills and from here we started our journey back to Durban.

    It had been a very enjoyable half Day Tour in the Valley of 1000 Hills with a lovely mix of Zulu Cultural, singing and dancing!



  • 9th August 2014

    Durban Day Tour to Shakaland – Zulu Cultural village 8th August 2014

    I met my client at one of the Durban hotels and as it was a large group than my vehicle can take we rented a larger vehicle to conduct the Durban Day Tour in.

    Our destination was Shakaland 160 km from the city of Durban and a functional Zulu cultural village where the film “Shaka Zulu: was filmed in the 1980’s.

    The drive to Shakaland is very interesting with the History of the Zulus being covered by myself as the guide as well as the general history of Durban and KwaZulu Natal.

    Shakaland itself is full of interesting history and culture and of course the traditional lunch we have is always great. The clients on this Durban Day Tour were very interested in the Zulu Beer until it came to tasting it! They soon realised we share the pot and pass it around, that seems to put most of them off tasting the good stuff.

    Once we arrived at Shakaland we began with understanding how a Zulu village operates by looking at a model of a traditional Zulu Homestead or Umuzi.


    Shakaland the depiction of a Zulu Homestead or Umuzi

    Shakaland the depiction of a Zulu Homestead or Umuzi



















    As we continued on we watched a short video clip in Spanish so the clients could understand better. This Video clip shows sections of the life of the Great King Shaka kaSenzangakhona. It is a great tool to help people understand the history of Shaka and the Zulu nation.


    Asking for permission to enter the Homestead at Shakaland on our Durban Tour


    Asking for permission to enter the Homestead at Shakaland on our Durban Tour



















    It is always very important to ask permission to enter into a Zulu Umuzi to show respect and of course so the King knows who to expect… either friend or foe.


    Durban Day Tour to Shakaland. The Chiefs 1st wife weaves a grass mat for sleeping.

    Durban Day Tour to Shakaland. The Chiefs 1st wife weaves a grass mat for sleeping


















    The Chiefs 1st wife of this Zulu village weaves a grass mate for sleeping on. In traditional Zulu culture grass mats are used to separate the body from the floors polishes with cow dung.


    Durban Day Tour a Zulu wife strains the traditional Zulu beer at Shakaland
    Durban Day Tour a Zulu wife strains the traditional Zulu beer at Shakaland



















    In Zulu Culture the women do all the cooking and making of the Zulu beer which the men drink! She above is straining the beer out and keeping the ingredients inside the Isivovo. The ingredients of Maize, Maize malt and Saugum(which I cant spell) is all that is used apart from the water to make the Zulu beer.


    Spear throwing demonstration at Shakaland on our Durban day Tour

    Spear throwing demonstration at Shakaland on our Durban day Tour


















    We were very lucky to witness the display of spear throwing  on our Durban Day Tour, something which was done up until King Shaka invented the Short stabbing spear.


    Zulu demonstrating how the Zulus Porned the hearts of the British at Isandwana in 1879

    Zulu demonstrating how the Zulus Porned the hearts of the British at Isandwana in 1879



















    It was during the great Anglo-Zulu wars in 1879 that King Cetswayo use the late king Shakas invention to good use and defeated the British at the Battle of Isandlwana.


    Zulu girl demostrates how to carry a clay pot on her head during our Durban Day Tour to Shakaland

    Zulu girl demostrates how to carry a clay pot on her head during our Durban Day Tour to Shakaland



















    Clay pot was a great big part of Zulu Culture and were used for may different things like carrying water, holding beer, and separating Sour milk from the fluid.


    Inyanga medicine man and the Sangoma the fortune teller at Shakaland during our Durban Day Tour
    Inyanga medicine man and the Sangoma the fortune teller at Shakaland during our Durban Day Tour



















    We entered into the Hut of the two most important people in the Umuzi excepting the Chief and his wives. This hut belongs to the Inyanga and the Sangoma. Please note the Elephant skull and these Pythons skin up the pole.


    The chief sits just before the drinking of Zulu Beer

    The chief sits just before the drinking of Zulu Beer



















    It is only the chief or royalty that are allowed to wear the skins or Leopard or Lions. These animals are considered Royal game.


    After the drinking of the Zulu beer we moved on to the craft market and the clients could buy a few curios and things to take back as gifts for family and friends.

    We then entered into the Dancing hut where for half an hours the Zulu community performed there traditional Dancing for us. I have added a short video clip of what you can expect but its not the best video ive ever taken…


    Click this link to the Video of the Zulu Dancing at Shakaland.


    After the dancing we headed down for some lunch and then a spot of shopping.

    Once the clients were happy we departed back to Durban. We returned back after a great Durban Day Tour to Shakaland and the clients were very happy.

  • 28th July 2014

    Shakaland – Zulu Cultural Day Tour from Durban.

    I met my clients in Umhlanga(Durban) for there Zulu cultural Day Tour to Shakaland. Its always nice when client show a great interest in the History of Durban, KwaZulu-Natal and the Culture which is so diverse in this province.

    I was asked plenty of great questions and spent a lot of time focusing on the Zulu Kingdom and mostly the great King Shaka! Shaka was considered by the Zulu people a the King which formed the Zulu Nation. Although the Zulu nation really began around 1550 with there first King being “Malandela”, Shaka’s name always resonates through out Zulu history as he was the great inventor and tactician!

    King Shaka’s Boyhood was very troubled having been chased away from the Zulu nation due to being the bastard son of King Senzangakhona, his father. Shaka as a young man had to fight back at bullies and by a stroke of good fortune ended up with the Mthetwa people which took him in. Shaka with the Mthetwa people grew into a strong man and worked his way up from a foot soldier to the leader of the Mthetwa army. Shaka eventually returned to the Zulu nation to claim his rightful place as the first born son of the ailing King Senzangakhona and upon his death in 1816 King Shaka took over the Zulus!

    Anyway our Durban Day Tour to Shakaland where the film “Shaka Zulu” was filmed and which is a fully functional Zulu village began at 11am. We started with a short 12 minute video clip from the moving to set the scene for the day and then looked at the structure of the “umuzi” – The homestead.

    Structure of a Zulu Home Stead – Umuzi

    Structure of a Zulu Home Stead – Umuzi


















    After we spat on a stone and threw it onto an Isivivane – Grave covered in Stones, all done out of respect! We moved on to be welcomed into the real Umuzi where we first were shown some of the traditional Zulu pots, strainers and baskets.


    Zulu girls demostrate how to balance pots on there heads

    Zulu girls demostrate how to balance pots on there heads



    Married Zulu women makes a grass mat


    Married Zulu women makes a grass mat


















    Zulu woman strains the Zulu beer


    Zulu woman strains the Zulu beer





















    Our next stop was to watch the Umqomboti  – Zulu Beer, being strained and to look at the different Zulu pots for carrying water, milk, Sour milk and beer.


    The chief of the Zulu village then showed us how the Zulus would fight with there shields and Assagais -Short stabbing spears which King Shaka invented, before the clients had an opportunity to pose with him.


    Zulu man demonstrates Zulu warfare on our Durban Cultural Tour


    Zulu man demonstrates Zulu warfare on our Durban Cultural Tour



















    We then moved up to the Sangoma (Fortune teller) and Inyangas (Traditional healer) huts to learn more about them and there role in the Zulu nation. Zulu Culture is really interesting and on these Durban Day Tours to Shakaland you will learn things you had no idea existed in the first place.


    The Inyanga – Traditional healer and his medicine


    The Inyanga – Traditional healer and his medicine



















    Polygamy is one of the interesting parts to Zulu Culture which with our short sighted western minds we judge before thinking about the reasons for it. During the many battles up to 1879 so many Zulu mens lives had been lost that King Cetswayo decided in order to ensure the security of the excess women that men needed to take more than one wife. There was a catch you had to pay for your wife, a brides price a dowry or in Zulu – Lobola! This insured that only the strong successful men could have more than one wife and ensured that women were not left on there own. If a Zulu Impi(Soldier) was killed his brother would also be instructed to take over his wives and children in order to support them! Not so silly when you think about the reason for Polygamy!

    We moved on to taste Umqombothi(Traditional Zulu beer) as well as looking at the interesting bead work the ladies had put together. There were also other items like Smoking pipes and necklaces and we also watch how Maize(cheaper version of Corn) is ground up into a powder for use in cooking!


    Zulu woman showing us how to grind Maize


    Zulu woman showing us how to grind Maize



















    After this it was time to look at curios for sale to support the family before we would watch the Traditional Zulu dancing.

    My clients we keen on weaponry much like myself and purchased a few items before we entered into the Dancing hut and had a wonderful cultural experience performed by the Zulu villagers. This you have to see when you come to South Africa.


    Traditional Zulu Dancing at Shakaland


    Traditional Zulu Dancing at Shakaland



















    When the singing and dancing was over it was time to have some lunch. At Shakaland you will have a buffet but included in the buffet are some Traditional Zulu foods like: Samp and Beans, Phutu, Chakalaka and Sheba, always worth a taste.

    After a final look around for some more weaponry we departed and chatted more about the Zulu Cultural on our drive back to Durban.



  • 14th March 2014

    Durban half day Safari Tour to the Valley of 1000 Hills – Phezulu Cultural Village 11 March 2014

    I collected my clients from Durban at 9am on the 11th March 2014 for there Valley of 1000 hills, Durban half day safari Tour to experience the Zulu Culture and the scenery of of the beautiful valley of 1000 hills originally home to the Debe people a cannibalistic Tribe.

    Since the Zulu Nation took over the area from the Debe people it became a strong hold for King Shakas People.

    The rain was a concern on the Durban half day Tour but it just seemed to hold off for us to complete the half day Tour and experience the great views of the valley of 1000 hills.

    We began at Phezulu Safari Park in the valley of 1000 hills overlooking where the Debe people used to rule. The Zulu cultural village experience was the first things we got to see after leaving Durban city. We first entered the Zulu traditional huts, learning about there customs and culture before tasting there tradition Zulu Beer Umqomboti.

    After this Zulu cultural experience we moved onto the Zulu Dancing where we were lucky to witness the Zulu nations great traditions and power in there dance as well as watching these Sangomas(Fortune Tellers) throw the bones to show how a young Zulu mans life will fair.

    Valley 1000 Hills half day Tours – phezulu safari Park – Sangoma

    We had a great time and took some pictures with the Zulu men and women before moving onto the crocodile center and reptile park. Here we Tour’d the enclosures of the crocodile which is becoming endangered and learned more about the prehistoric animals. After the crocodile tour it was time for the Snakes which was great as you have the chance to hold a non venomous species of snake like the Brown House snake or the African Rock Python. This is always a huge additive to a Durban Half day tour/safari.

    We then had some tea and coffee at Phezulu safari parks tea garden before driving to my old home area in Monteseel to look at the stunning views over the valley of 1000 hills, We also came across this crazy sign the the neighbourhood Watch put up to try and prevent hookers. I was to embarrassed to show the clients as they had children.

    Valley 1000 Hills Monteseel No Hooking Picture – Durban Tours

    The valley of 1000 hills is a stunning area to visit steeped in history and beauty. Phezulu safari park is my place of choice for a Zulu Cultural experience from Durban.

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