Nestled just outside the charming town of Eshowe in the southern part of Zululand, lies the captivating Dlinza Forest Nature Reserve. This natural gem, along with its neighboring forest Entumeni, forms a picturesque haven for nature enthusiasts. Spanning 250 hectares, Dlinza Forest boasts breathtaking indigenous woodlands, intersected by a network of walking trails and a remarkable 10-meter high aerial boardwalk. Its popularity among bird lovers, excellent picnic facilities, and the unique urban environment it exists within make it a truly remarkable destination.
Unearth Fascinating History
Delve into the rich history of Dlinza Forest, which holds significant cultural importance. In the past, this forest served as a burial ground for fallen Zulu warriors, lending an air of reverence to its ancient trees and winding paths.
Dlinza Forest is home to a plethora of rare and remarkable species. Keep an eye out for the elusive Dlinza Forest Pinwheel, an endangered snail found exclusively in this forest. For a chance to catch a glimpse of this captivating creature, venture along the Royal Drive, which cuts through the heart of the reserve, offering a convenient alternative for those who prefer to remain in their vehicles.
An Adventure for All Ages
A day spent at Dlinza Forest is a delight for children and adults alike. Kids will relish the opportunity to explore the forest, climbing along the wooded walkways in search of playful monkeys and colorful birds. The reserve’s family-friendly atmosphere ensures that everyone can enjoy a memorable experience in nature’s playground.
A Birdwatcher’s Paradise
Eshowe is proudly located at the core of the renowned Zululand Birding Route, and Dlinza Forest is a prime birdwatching destination within this region. Ornithology enthusiasts will be enthralled by the diversity of avian species found here, including rarities like the spotted thrush and Delegorgue’s pigeon. As you traverse the forest, be prepared to be serenaded by a symphony of melodious bird calls, adding a magical soundtrack to your journey.
A Kaleidoscope of Butterflies
While birds take center stage, the butterflies of Dlinza Forest steal the show, particularly during the autumn months. Witness the mesmerizing spectacle as approximately 70 recorded butterfly species take flight, casting vibrant hues throughout the forest. Look out for the mocker swallowtail (Papilio dardanus), mother of pearl, and the gaudy commodore, among other splendid species, as they dance gracefully in the air, painting the surroundings with their ephemeral beauty.
Embark on the Forest Trail
For an immersive experience, follow the forest trail that begins from the picnic sites on the western side of Dlinza Forest. This captivating path offers a two-hour journey through the heart of the woodland, accompanied by the harmonious symphony of bird calls. If you embark on this adventure during the early morning hours, you’ll be greeted by a chorus of frogs, cicadas, and other enchanting insects, harmonizing with nature as you traverse the trail.
Popular activities, tourist attractions and points of interest at Dlinza Forest Nature Reserve
Beyond the enchanting Dlinza Forest Nature Reserve itself, there are a plethora of activities, attractions, and points of interest to explore in the surrounding area. Immerse yourself in the wonders of Zululand and make the most of your visit to this captivating region.
Located in the town of Eshowe, the Eshowe Museum is a treasure trove of Zulu culture and history. Gain insights into the fascinating heritage of the Zulu people through displays of artifacts, traditional crafts, and informative exhibits.
Delve into the colonial history of the region by visiting Fort Nonquai, a historical fort built in the late 19th century. This well-preserved structure offers a glimpse into the past and the conflicts that shaped the area.
Vukani Zulu Cultural Museum
Immerse yourself in the vibrant Zulu culture by visiting the Vukani Zulu Cultural Museum. Discover traditional Zulu arts, crafts, and artifacts, and witness captivating displays of traditional dances and music performances.
Dlinza Forest Aerial Boardwalk
Take a stroll along the awe-inspiring 10-meter high aerial boardwalk that winds its way through Dlinza Forest. This elevated walkway offers a unique perspective, allowing you to observe the forest’s flora and fauna from above and appreciate its beauty from a different vantage point.
Entumeni Nature Reserve
Adjacent to Dlinza Forest, Entumeni Nature Reserve offers another opportunity to explore indigenous forests and enjoy scenic walks. Discover its tranquil atmosphere and uncover hidden gems amidst the lush vegetation.
Zululand Birding Route
Dlinza Forest is a key highlight along the renowned Zululand Birding Route. Embark on birdwatching adventures and explore other prime birdwatching spots in the region. Keep an eye out for rare and endemic bird species that inhabit the area.
Shakaland Cultural Village
For a comprehensive cultural experience, visit the Shakaland Cultural Village, situated a short distance from Dlinza Forest. This living museum provides an immersive journey into Zulu traditions, including interactive activities, traditional meals, and traditional dances.
Zululand Historical Route
Take a step back in time by following the Zululand Historical Route. This self-guided tour showcases significant historical sites, battlefields, and cultural landmarks, shedding light on the region’s fascinating past.
Pay homage to one of the most influential Zulu leaders, King Shaka, by visiting his final resting place. Located in the vicinity of Dlinza Forest, Shaka’s Grave is a sacred site that holds great historical and cultural significance.
Zululand Heritage Route
Explore the diverse heritage of Zululand by following the Zululand Heritage Route. This scenic route leads you through picturesque landscapes, traditional Zulu villages, and historical sites, providing a comprehensive overview of the region’s rich cultural tapestry.
Amatikulu Nature Reserve
Venture further afield to Amatikulu Nature Reserve, situated along the picturesque KwaZulu-Natal coastline. This coastal reserve offers opportunities for beach walks, birdwatching, and picnicking, allowing you to unwind and appreciate the natural beauty of the area.
From cultural immersion to historical exploration, nature appreciation, and outdoor adventures, the attractions and activities near Dlinza Forest Nature Reserve cater to a wide range of interests. Embrace the diversity of Zululand and create lasting memories as you explore this captivating region.
If you’re already a fan of the acclaimed Zulu Blonde Beer, a popular brew available in the United Kingdom, then you may already be familiar with the esteemed Zululand Brewery. However, if you’re new to their offerings, allow us to introduce you to this remarkable brewery and the story behind their success.
In 1997, the visionary Chennells family embarked on a journey to establish their own beer company in the picturesque town of Eshowe, nestled in the heart of Zululand. From humble beginnings, their beers quickly gained recognition and popularity, capturing the hearts and palates of beer enthusiasts. Among their portfolio of exceptional brews, the Zulu Blonde emerged as the flagship beer, renowned for its distinctive flavor and quality.
The Zulu Blonde’s rise to fame was nothing short of impressive. In 2010, this remarkable brew made its debut on the international stage, captivating beer aficionados far and wide. Today, it can be found in over 800 pubs across the United Kingdom, delighting patrons with its unique character and smooth taste.
However, the Chennells family’s contributions extend beyond brewing exceptional beers. With deep roots in the Eshowe community, Mark and Richard Chennells have been actively involved in local affairs for many years, and Graham Chennells once held the esteemed position of mayor in the town. Their dedication to their craft and their community shines through in every sip of their meticulously crafted beers.
To truly immerse yourself in the world of the Zululand Brewery, we invite you to book a captivating tour of their facilities. Step inside the brewery and witness the artistry and passion that go into creating their renowned beers. Learn about the brewing process, from the careful selection of ingredients to the expert techniques employed to achieve the perfect balance of flavors. Gain insights into the history of the brewery and the Chennells family’s unwavering commitment to excellence.
During your visit, you’ll have the opportunity to sample a variety of their exceptional beers, allowing your taste buds to savor the complexity and craftsmanship that defines each brew. From the refreshing Zulu Blonde to other delightful offerings in their range, you’ll discover a true appreciation for the art of brewing.
The Zululand Brewery stands as a testament to the spirit of innovation, community, and dedication to craft. With their exceptional beers gaining international acclaim, they have firmly placed Eshowe and Zululand on the global beer map. So, whether you’re a long-time enthusiast or a curious newcomer, make your way to the Zululand Brewery and unlock the secrets behind their acclaimed brews in the heart of Zululand.
Dlinza Forest Aerial Boardwalk
South Africa and its subtropical province of KwaZulu-Natal are renowned for their natural wonders, and nestled within this breathtaking region lies the Dlinza Forest Nature Reserve. This magnificent reserve boasts a remarkable attraction that allows visitors to immerse themselves in the splendor of the forest like never before—the Dlinza Forest Aerial Boardwalk.
Stretching an impressive 127 meters, this elevated boardwalk stands proudly 10 meters above the forest floor, providing an extraordinary perspective of the surrounding verdant greenery. As you traverse its path, you’ll find yourself captivated by the sheer beauty of the forest, its towering trees, and the vibrant array of flora that thrives in this part of the country. Be prepared to encounter magnificent tree orchids, whose delicate blooms paint the landscape with breathtaking bursts of color.
Ascending to even greater heights, the boardwalk culminates in a striking steel viewing platform, soaring an awe-inspiring 20 meters above the forest floor. From this vantage point, visitors are treated to a panoramic vista, allowing them to truly appreciate the diverse fauna and flora that flourishes within this enchanting forest.
Venture into the heart of the forest and explore its inviting walking trails, winding their way through the lush vegetation. Each step brings you closer to the wonders of nature, allowing you to fully immerse yourself in its sights, scents, and sensations. The trails within Dlinza Forest include the Impunzi Trail, spanning a leisurely 1/3 kilometer, the Unkonka Trail, extending 1.8 kilometers, and the delightful Bishop’s Seat, a picturesque clearing that provides a tranquil oasis in the midst of the forest. The aerial boardwalk, perched just above these trails, offers an alternative perspective, granting panoramic views that showcase the forest’s beauty from a unique angle.
While traversing the boardwalk and trails, keep your eyes peeled for the extraordinary array of bird species that call Dlinza Forest home. With a staggering 65 different species recorded in the area, birdwatching enthusiasts are in for a treat. Look out for magnificent creatures such as the crowned eagle and the elusive spotted ground thrush, among others. But the avian wonders are not the only inhabitants of the forest. Keep an eye out for lynx, duikers, bush babies, porcupines, mongoose, and the captivating presence of 80 different butterfly species. The richness and diversity of wildlife within Dlinza Forest make the Aerial Boardwalk a perfect attraction for families, friends, and nature enthusiasts of all ages.
The Dlinza Forest Aerial Boardwalk is an unparalleled opportunity to appreciate the splendor of this natural wonderland from elevated heights. Traverse its path, soak in the breathtaking views, and allow the wonders of the forest to captivate your senses. Whether you’re a seasoned nature lover or a curious explorer, this attraction promises an unforgettable experience, transporting you to a world where tranquility and natural beauty reign supreme.
The Rainbow Route
For travelers seeking to combine stunning scenery, two provinces, and a captivating blend of history, the Rainbow Route presents an irresistible adventure. This enchanting route links the provinces of Mpumalanga and KwaZulu-Natal, starting at the town of Carolina and weaving its way through a series of hidden gems, including Kriel, Bethal, Ermelo, Chrissiesmeer, Amsterdam, Piet Retief, Paulpietersburg, Vryheid, Melmoth, Ulundi, Eshowe, and Mtunzini.
As you traverse the Rainbow Route, you’ll not only be treated to breathtaking landscapes but also discover a multitude of lesser-known towns, each boasting its own historical, scenic, or cultural treasures.
The journey commences in Carolina, a town that once played a crucial role as a wagon route from Johannesburg to the gold fields of the Kaap Valley. Here, marvel at the exquisite original sandstone architecture, explore the natural wonders of the Komati Gorge, and immerse yourself in the tranquility of the Nooitgedacht Nature Reserve.
Continuing along the route, Kriel takes center stage as the heart of South Africa’s largest coalfields and power production. Delve into the intriguing world of Rietspruit Colliery and Matla Coal, where the sheer scale of the power stations and their production capacity is sure to fascinate.
Next, the charming farming community of Bethal reveals itself, nestled amidst potato and coal country. Visit the Bethal Museum housed within the old magistrate’s office, explore Memorial Square, and revel in the beauty of Bethal Dam.
The journey then leads to Ermelo, where you can explore the stone huts near Tafelkop, built by the Leghoya Tloka tribe, and discover the ancient San paintings adorning Welgelegen farm.
The picturesque town of Chrissiesmeer awaits, nestled in the Mpumalanga highlands. This hidden gem is renowned for its shimmering lakes, pans, wetlands, and grasslands, which serve as a haven for birdlife. Additionally, Chrissiesmeer boasts a rich Anglo-Boer War history, adding another layer of intrigue to its natural splendor.
Amsterdam beckons with its numerous hiking trails and three enchanting dams, earning it the nickname “New Scotland” in the past. A visit to this area promises outdoor adventure and breathtaking vistas.
Piet Retief, a quaint town perched high in the mistbelt on the escarpment and surrounded by lush forests, offers a charming respite. Consider spending a weekend here, immersing yourself in its tranquility, or using it as a delightful overnight stop along your journey.
Crossing into KwaZulu-Natal, the Rainbow Route continues to captivate, hugging the eastern edge of the renowned Battlefields Route. Scenic Paulpietersburg greets travelers with its historical significance, tracing back to both the Anglo-Zulu and Anglo-Boer Wars.
Vryheid, once the capital of the Nieuwe Republiek, invites exploration with its trio of museums and nearby battlefields. Delve into Zulu curios, beadwork, sculpture, and pottery as you uncover the rich cultural heritage of the region.
Melmoth, nestled amidst misty forests and timber plantations, was once a bustling gold rush town. Explore its bird sanctuary, the Nkandla forest, and the stunning Nkwaleni Valley, where nature’s wonders await at every turn.
Ulundi presents an enticing detour, offering a glimpse into the former heart of Zululand. Visit the mystical Valley of the Kings, the kraal of Cetshwayo, and pay homage at the grave of Piet Retief, a prominent historical figure.
Eshowe, the birthplace of Cetshwayo, invites exploration of its cultural treasures. Discover the fascinating Nonquayi, explore the Dlinza Forest with its awe-inspiring aerial boardwalk, immerse yourself in the wonders of the Entumi Nature Reserve, marvel at the Mpushini Falls, and visit the enlightening Vukani Museum.
Finally, the journey concludes in Mtunzini, renowned for its Raphia palm and the elusive palmnut vulture, a rare bird of prey. Bask in the coastal charm of this town as you unwind and reflect on the incredible journey along the Rainbow Route.
To embark on this remarkable adventure, follow Route 38 until just after crossing the N11, where you’ll take the R542, R544, and then R545 in quick succession, passing through Kriel to reach Bethal. From Bethal, the N17 will guide you to Ermelo and Chrissiesmeer. Embark on the R33, which leads you into KwaZulu-Natal, until you reach Vryheid. From there, take the R34, eventually joining the R66 via Eshowe to KwaGingindlovu, and finally, follow the R102 to Mtunzini.
Plan your journey wisely and consider breaking it up into multiple segments to fully savor the experience. We recommend staying in Chrissiesmeer, Piet Retief, Melmoth, and Mtunzini, allowing ample time to explore the attractions along the Rainbow Route.
Don’t forget to grab a brochure and map at tourist information centers in KwaZulu-Natal and Mpumalanga to enhance your journey and ensure you don’t miss any hidden treasures. The Rainbow Route promises a memorable expedition, unveiling the beauty, history, and diversity of South Africa’s incredible landscapes and cultures.
Dlinza Forest Nature Reserve is a sanctuary of natural beauty, history, and biodiversity. Whether you’re an avid birdwatcher, a lover of butterflies, or simply seeking tranquility in nature, this reserve promises an unforgettable experience. Visit Dlinza Forest and allow its serene ambiance and captivating wonders to leave an indelible mark on your soul.