We have headed up the coast after doing the Routes you have to Know about in the Western Cape blog last week. This week we trace the footsteps of freedom fighters, head up the Sani Pass, drink some beer and play some golf in this Routes you have to Know about in KwaZulu Natal blog. Here are the most popular and interesting routes in KwaZulu Natal:
KwaZulu Natal is home to more significantly historical battlefields than any other province in South Africa. There are 82 battlefields, old fortifications, museums and places of remembrance along the route, all of which played a significant part in South African history. Experts urge that the route should not be visited in a haphazard manner. Visitors should pick one era, campaign or war and then visit the sites that are connected to whichever era, campaign or war they chose. The Battle of Blood River, Isandlawana and Rorkes Drift are the must visit sites on the route. Two of history’s most iconic figures, Mahatma Gandhi and Winston Churchill were involved in a war here. Churchill was a war journalist and Gandhi a stretcher bearer for the British. All South Africans should visit the Battlefields Route at least once in their lifetime, because it shaped the history of our nation in more ways than one.
The Amble Route\Route 33
The Amble, which is also known as Route 33, runs through north-eastern KwaZulu-Natal in and around the rolling green hills of the Natal Midlands, just outside of Pietermaritzburg. The Albert Falls Dam is the bug of the route. Here people from all across the province come to have some fun in the sun during their summer holidays. There are many museums in Pietermaritzburg, Greytown, Baynesfield and Hermannsburg that chronical the many historical battles that were fought between the Boers, Zulus and the British in the area. Golfers will be happy to know that there is a great little golf course in the St Cathryn Golf Estate that is open to the public. There are also many mountain biking and hiking trails scattered along the route. Adrenalin junkies can head to Weenen for some white-water rafting, or to Karkloof for a zipline canopy tour.
Over the last couple of years various KwaZulu-Natal tourism stakeholders have started to promote the Freedom Route. The route was established to promote the freedom struggle stories of some of the world’s most famous freedom fighters such as Mahatma Gandhi, Alan Paton, Albert Luthuli and Nelson Mandela. The route takes visitors on a journey through the history of South Africa’s freedom struggle heroes, whose struggles have shape South Africa into the Rainbow Nation that it is today. The highlights of the route include the Luthuli Museum, Manaye Hall, Mahatma Gandhi’s Pheonix Settlement, KwaMuhle Museum, the Old Prison in Pietermaritzburg and the Nelson Mandela Capture site near Howick. This route will give visitors insights into the freedom struggles of the past like no other route in South Africa can, it’s a must visit for history buffs.
The beer route was only recently launched but people have been making beer in Natal for over 100 years. The route offers visitors the chance to learn more about the production of beer. The Beer Route visits a total of nine breweries in the province, where visitors are taught about the art of making beer and they get to taste the finished product. The nine breweries that are visited include The Congella United National Breweries in Durban, Firkin Hophouse Micro Brewery & Pub at the Pavilion Shopping Centre in Westville, South African Breweries in Prospecton, The Nottingham Road Brewery at Rawdons Hotel in the Midlands, Wartburger Brauhaus in Wartburg, The Shongweni Brewery and the Zululand Brewing Company in Eshowe and The Ijuba-United National Breweries in Dundee.
Southern KwaZulu Natal Birding Route
The lush forests and golden beaches of sub-tropical KwaZulu Natal is home to around 550 different bird species. The variety of habitat makes it possible for many rare and endemic species like the Blue Swallow, Cape Parrot, Eurasian Bittern, Drakensberg Rock-jumper and all three Southern African Crane Species to survive and flourish in the area. What make the route even more unique is the altitude that it reaches at the Sani Pass. The altitude ranges from 1600 to 3480 meters above sea level. Here the likes of the ground woodpecker, Bush Blackcap and Cape Rock thrust can be seen. There has been an increasingly high demand for bird tourism around the world, which is why the KZN tourism board has been promoting the birding route in the province. This means that tourists will almost certainly start flocking to the area in their numbers over the next couple of years. So if you want to experience the route without too many tourist around, then you’d better hurry up and get down to KZN sooner rather than later!