Zululand’s Scenic Ithala Game Reserve

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Ithala Game Reserve is a 29 653-hectare scenic destination and is considered a game viewer’s paradise. It is situated within the rugged and mountainous thornveld about 400 km north of Durban, in northern KwaZulu-Natal.  Being proclaimed as a nature reserve in 1973, it is one of the youngest game reserves in South Africa. Ithala Game Reserve’s most admirable characteristic is its astonishing geological diversity which has resulted in the production of a variety of soils and a rich diversity of vegetation. The reserve encompasses densely vegetated river valleys, high-lying grassland plateaus, mountain ridges and cliff faces. The altitude varies from 400 m along the Phongolo River to 1,450 m along the Ngotshe Mountain escarpment.

This game reserve was the setting of many historic events in South Africa, including the reign of Shaka and his successive Zulu kings. Evidence of earlier occupation by middle stone age and iron age people can be seen. Ithala also features some rock formations dating back 3 000 million years and some historic sites wherein stone age spear and ax heads dating back some 20,000 years are found.

Wildlife in Ithala

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Ithala Game Reserve is also home to a wide array of wildlife species including giraffe, rhino, elephant, buffalo, zebra, blue wildebeest, impala and a wide variety of antelope including tsessebe, eland, red hartebeest and mountain reedbuck. Visitors will surely enjoy observing all the animals and plants and listening to the sound of chirping birds in the wild.

Things to do in Ithala Game Reserve

Ithala Game Reserve does not only offer a fascinating variety of terrain, history and rich wildlife, it also offers a wide selection of tourist facilities and a variety of game activities such as ranger-guided walks, game drives, swimming, and picnics. It also offers an excellent auto trail. Visitors are welcome to try out the mountain bike trails.

Ithala Game Reserve Auto Trails

Ithala has a number of well laid out auto trails with markers at points of interest. The Ithala Game Reserve Auto Trail is a self-drive rocky mountain track with river crossings. Auto Trails consist of a 30 km circular drive that should take about three hours to complete. These Auto Trails gives the guests the opportunity to experience the African wildlife and fauna of Ithala Game Reserve from the comfort of their own vehicle. Booking beforehand is essential because only three vehicles are allowed at one time.

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Walking Trails

Ithala has a number of routes for walking trails. These walking trails provide a great way to get close to the magnificent flora, fauna, and avifauna of the reserve. Guided trails depart in the early morning and mid to late afternoon depending on the season. Guests can also enjoy the independence of self-guided walking trails.

Day and Night Drives

Day and night drives are conducted in open viewing vehicles and are a popular tourist attraction in the reserve. No safari is ever complete without an exciting day game drive. A night game drive is a great way to experience the romance of an African sunset as well as to see nocturnal animals with the help of a spotlight. These game drives are the perfect way to discover the flourishing wildlife of Ithala Game Reserve. Game drives are conducted in state of the art safari vehicles in the presence of an expertly trained ranger and tracker.

Picnic Sites

Picnic sites are situated in several scenic spots of Ithala Game Reserve which offer spectacular views and are ideal for game watching. These picnic spots also have barbecue facilities and ablutions.

The interesting history, fascinating geological formations, the astonishing range of landscapes, wide array of wildlife, various activities, scenic beauty, and remoteness makes Ithala Games Reserve one of South Africa’s most sought-after safari destinations.

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The DumaZulu Traditional Village

The DumaZulu Traditional Village which is located in Hluhluwe, Zululand, KwaZulu Natal offers a different kind of experience for its vacationers. Situated in the heart of rich cultures of Africa, lies a beautiful village that will give you an insight on how they thrive as a village.

The Village

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The DumaZulu Traditional Village prides itself as a place not only to stay and dine but also of a place full of unforgettable experiences. DumaZulu directly translates to “Thundering Zulu” which is a perfect description for this place offers such scenic view and exciting events. It has 21 rounded ethnic huts arranged in a circle around a central cattle traditional African village to resemble the traditional Zulu Village. Experience the traditional KwaZulu Natal culture and hospitality in each hut housing twin rooms and double rooms which includes en-suite bathroom, air conditioning, telephone and tea/coffee making facilities. The exteriors of each living space represent the variety of vast South African tribes such as the Zulu, Swazi, North Sotho, Xhosa, Venda, Tsonga, and Ndebele. The extravagant exteriors represent the warm and intimate colors of Africa.

The Village Life

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As its interior and exterior gave you a glimpse of what is their culture, the main event here is really the village life. Discover the Zulu way of life in their cultural village which 60 Zulu residents form part of their living museums. Witness the villagers showing off their craftsman skills by making spears and shields. They also make clay pots, intricate beadwork, and basket weaving. Be also amazed by the magic of the sangoma or the witch doctor of the tribe that would show his skills and prayers. They also showcase bone-throwing and amazing Zulu dances that culminates the cultural experience of the Zulu tribe. These showcasing of tradition and culture typically performed daily at 8:15 and 15:15. After you enjoy these shows you will be treated to its famous and scrumptious lunch that you will surely come back for more.  In addition, you can also taste their Zulu beer as one of their famous attractions. At this point, you, will already experience their culture and be amazed at what these people have to offer.

Bird and Reptile Park

In addition to the village tour offered by the DumaZulu Village is another attraction which is the Bird and reptile park. This park is for the adventurous and for the curious. The park has a vast variety of snakes such as Black mamba, Green mamba, Forest Cobra, Boomslang, Python and others just to name a few. You can also observe different species of birds in their natural habitat.

And a lot more!

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The DumaZulu Lodge also offers other different activities and not just the DumaZulu cultural experience. The DumaZulu village is situated in a reserve that is perfect for a bush walk and game drives. Thus, you can also marvel on their Game Drives in open vehicles. And upon request, you can go snorkeling or scuba diving in the pristine Sodwana Bay. Or go fishing trips in the Sodwana Bay. You can also go whale watching or have an exclusive boat cruise on neighboring property all upon request.

Overall, if you are looking for a different kind of vacation, one that you can truly enjoy and learn from and lets you immerse in its culture, then go to the DumaZulu village and lodge. This place is more than just a place to stay in. It is a village of people and tradition, thriving and marveling in their awesome and authentic culture. Learning not only from their tradition and language but also their spirit and culture. You will surely fall in love with the many experiences it has to offer and might treat this as your second home.

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Tour Eshowe – See Zulu Battlefields

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Eshowe, the oldest European town in Zululand, has a hilltop spot that overlooks the coast giving the area a feeling of tranquillity. The Dlinza Forest surrounds the town and causes winds to blow with a sound that mimics the town’s name. This is one of South Africa’s most naturally diverse spots. Tour Eshowe and see all the natural bounty it offers, then journey to the battlefields to walk in the footsteps of history.

Battlefields of Zululand or KwaZulu-Natal

Visit the battlefields to walk on the very same grounds as military masters. The Battlefields route is huge and you can find various spots to check out using a map or by hiring a special guide. You can see the Big Five animals along with a myriad of birds, so the journey will take you not only through history but through nature. One nature preserve in particular to see is the Itala Game Preserve.

If you are new to Eshowe, you can get the most from your visit by hiring a guide. They have the information you need to make the most of your battlefield tours. You might also employ the use of a guidebook or maps to trek the battlefield routes yourself, but this is recommended for more experienced travellers.

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From your accommodations in Eshowe, you can drive to the various battlefield sites you wish to see most. If you hire a guide, most will be able to drive you from where you are staying to your desired sites. If you decide to stay in Durban, there are even some guides that can pick you up from there.

The battlefields require travelling on bumpy, gravelled roads, but they are all accessible by cars. You will want to avoid travelling during the rainy seasons unless you are experienced. The months of January and February can be the most difficult to traverse the sites and monuments by car or by foot due to heavy rain.

There are many other sites to see nearby of the residences of various kings. Some of these were razed during the Anglo-Zulu war in the late 1800s by the British but have been rebuilt for visitors to explore. Indulge in the best of two cultures coming together after embroiling themselves in significant battles.

Planning Your Journey

To get the most out of your adventure, you will need to do some research before booking your trip. If you are not sure of which battlefields you must see, read through some guidebooks first. There is, of course, plenty of information online about the area.

Most visitors realise quickly that there is more to do besides explore the battlefields when on them. Since there are many other experiences to have in Zululand, make sure to research them ahead of time. You can also consult with a travel agent to find out which tours appeal most to you whether you are a nature buff or a literature and history buff.

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Decide which battlefields you must see and then book your trip as well as your accommodations. If you want guided tours, these will also require some research before you depart for your trip. Select an experienced tour guide and you will ensure that you will see as much as possible on your trip to Eshowe and the surrounding area.

Seeing the battlefields in Eshowe is an experience to be treasured and savoured moment to moment. Plan your trip now and get ready to see this part of the world with your own eyes. Your expert tour guides are ready to hear from you to help you get your trip started.

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