A long line of Zulu Kings

1781 to 1816 Senzangakhona
1816 to 1828 Shaka
1828 to 1840 Dingane
1840 to 1872 Mpande
1872 to 1879 Cetswayo
1879 to 1916 Dinizulu
1916 to 1933 Maphumazana
1933 to 1968 Cyprian Bhekezulu
1968 to Date His Majesty King Goodwill Zwelithini kaBhekuzulu


Royal Tours

1. Mgungundlovu  
2. Grave of Nkosinkulu  
3. Grave of  Piet Retief  
4. Grave of Senzangakhona 
5. Grave of Jama
6. Grave of Queen Mtanyia
7. Grave of Ndaba
8. Grave of King Dinuzulu

9. Spirit of the Emakhosini
10. Gqokli Battlefield
11. Ophathe
12. Battlefield stop, Ophathe
13. Ophathe River Campsite
14. King Shaka Lodge
15. Mars Cottage 4x4 trails


The Emakhosini Ophathe Heritage Park

The vision for the Emakhosini Ophathe Heritage Park is to recreate, as far as possible, the centuries-old historical, cultural and natural landscape of the Emakhosini Valley into which the legendary King Shaka was born. Heritage sites in the park are administered by the provincial heritage conservation agency – Amafa AkwaZulu Natali, whilst the bio-diversity is managed by Wildlife KZN.  The Park comprises an amalgamation of the 12000 ha Ophathe Game Reserve and 13000 ha Amafa-owned land containing some of the province’s most important sites.

1. Mgungundlovu (08h00 - 16h00, R10.00 entry)

After having assassinated his brother, King Shaka, Dingane took the Zulu throne in 1828.  He establishes his capital at Mgungundlovu.  During his reign tensions between the Zulu nation and the newly arriving British and Boer settlers increased.  The eventual defeat of the Zulu army by the Boers forced King Dingane to flee, torching his capital behind him.  Toady part of the royal enclosure has been reconstructed on the basis of archaeological evidence.  Visitor facilities include a site museum, shop and toilets.  A Site guide is available.

2. The Grave of Nkosinkulu

Nkosinkulu settled in the Emakhosini Valley in the early 17th century.  He was the progenitor of the Zulu clan.  His grave is located near to the Mgungundlovu sitemuseum.  Visitors to the site should be accompanied by the site guide.

3. The Grave of Piet Retief

In 1838 the Boer leader Piet Retief and 70 followers were killed at Kwamatiwane (the hill of Execution) at the command of King Dingane, following the signing of a controversial land treaty.  The site is located near to the Mgungundlovu site museum and is marked by a monument erected in 1922.

4. The Grave of Inkosi Senzangakhona

Inkosi Senzangakhona ruled the Zulu clan until his death in 1816.  He was the father of three successive Zulu kings – King Shaka, King Dingane and  King Mpande. A memorial stone and interpretation will be erected during 2004.  Visitors wto visit the site should enquire at the Mgungundlovu site museum.

5/6/7. The graves of earlier Zulu Kings

The grave of Ndaba and Jama, who respectively preceded Inkosi Senzangakhona are located near to the main road through the valley.  The grave of Queen Mthanyia, mother of Senzangakhona is also located close to the road. The graves of Phunga and Mageba, who ruled even earlier are located some distance from the road.  Memorials and interpretation will be erected at these sites.  Visitors wishing to visit the sites should enquire at Mgungundlovu site museum.

8. The Grave of King Dinuzulu

Kind Dinuzulu, who succeeded King Cetshwayo, reigned from 1884 until 1913. He spent much of hi s reign in exile on St Helena Island and later the then Transvaal.  He is buried at KwaNobamba, just outside the park.

9. Spirit of the Emakhosini (08h00 – 16h00, entry free)

The Spirit of the Emakhosini is a monument to the Zulu people.  It comprises, on a grand scale, a bronze Zulu beer – pot, surrounded by the horn/tusks of seven animals associated with the Zulu.  The pot stands on a beaded plinth accompanied by bronze reliefs of scenes of traditional Zulu life.  The beer – pot is an item found in every household and is symbolic both as a receptacle of the heritage of the valley, and of a spirit of togetherness.  The horns symbolizes the seven Zulu kings who are buried in the valley.  Information is available at the site and there are site guides to assist visitors.  Great view of the Valley of the Zulu Kings.  Toilets and wheelchair access.

10/11. Battlefields

The Battle of Gqokli Hill was fought between the forces of King Shaka and Inkosi Zwide of the Ndwandwe in 1818.  Although he faced a numerically superior enemy, King Shaka’s military tactics won the day and he scored a huge victory.  Two other generals, who would later found nations on the sub-continent were involved in the battle. They were Soshangane who founded the Shangane nation in Mozambique and Mzilikazi, who founded the Ndebele in today’s Limpopo Province and southern Zimbabwe. A battlefield view site offers good view of the field of battle as well as interpretation.  It is located in the Ophathe area of the park.  (11) This site also offers a good view and interprets the Ophathe Battlefield, where a running battle between Zulu and Voortrekker forces was fought in late 1838.

12. Game viewing: Ophathe (08h00 - 16h00, R10 entry)

Within the Ophathe area of the park there are 28km of good roads. There are numerous watering points within the area and a covered hide is provided at one of these. The area represents a range of ecosystems, from riverine forest to mistbelt grassland.  It is stocked with black and whit rhino, giraffe,  wildebeest, zebra and the local species of antelope.  Cliff faces provide nesting sites for bald Ibis, white backed vulture and black eagle, which are just a few of the 250 recorded species in this park which is on the Zululand Bird Route. There are several picnic spots where day visitors can stop.

13. Ophathe River Camp Site

A camp site for caravans and tents will be completed in 2004.  Toilet and basic cooking facilities are provided.  Guided walks from the camp site can be undertaken with prior arrangement.  Contact the office at Ophathe for information regarding the camp site and  walks.

14. King Shaka Lodge

The King Shaka Lodge, an up market overnight facility with restaurant and chalets will be completed soon.

15. Mars Cottage, 4x4 trails

There are over 60km of 4x4 trails within the Ophathe area.  Tents can be pitched at the Mars Cottage camp, where fresh water and toilet facilities are provided.  Only 4x4 vehicles are allowed on the off-road tracks.  Visitors wishing to enter the 4x4 area should confirm at the office.