Zulus form the largest ethnic group in the Rainbow Nation of South Africa, and the province of KwaZulu-Natal (formerly Zululand) is their heartland. Shakaland is an open-air museum, or “cultural village” providing a first class introduction to Zulu culture. It tells the tale of its namesake, the famous warrior king Shaka, who fought both tribal rivals to finally become the area’s uncontested ruler, as well as later Zulus who fought colonial aggressors.
But it’s not all spears and battles. Shakaland gives an overview of all aspects of Zulu culture, including tribal social structures, music, dances and ceremonies. You’ll also see how the distinctive colorful Zulu beadwork is made, as well as traditional beer, an important component in festivities. All of this in an authentic village, in what is still very much a vibrant, living community of Zulus, supervised by the local chief.
Shakaland is around two hours’ drive north of Durban, near the town of Eshowe. The way is well signposted from there, and facilities include overnight accommodation in traditional “beehive” huts.