The Wildebeest's guide to South Africa

King Shaka Visitor Centre

Afrikaans name: King Shaka besoekersentrum

King Shaka Visitor Centre

King Shaka Visitor Centre

Photo © Steven Herbert


The town of KwaDukuza, on the KwaZulu-Natal north coast, was originally the site of King Shaka's kraal and so the history of the town has strong links to the Zulu king.

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In the middle of town is the King Shaka Visitor Centre which houses two important items related to Shaka. The first is the rock that he was sitting on when he was assassinated and a memorial to him. Entrance to the King Shaka Visitors Centre is free but they do ask for donations.

On, or around, 24 September 1828 Shaka was sitting on a rock when he was attacked from behind by his half-brothers Dingane and Mhlangana. The mortally wounded king managed to make his way about 50 metres to the site of the current day Visitors Centre where he died and was buried. The rock has been relocated and lies at the foot of the memorial which was built on his grave. Every year, on the 24th September, there is a colourful ceremony held in KwaDukuza to remember the importance of the Zulu nation.

The King Shaka visitor centre also has two traditional huts on display. One was used for sleeping and the other for storing food.

Along the side of the property are some banana trees. King Shaka loved the small "gentleman's thumb" bananas, known as uKhova, and would send men to go and fetch them from the area that they were grown near Richards Bay. These bananas were only for the king and the carriers of the 'royal bananas' were not allowed to talk to anyone while they were on their banana collecting assignment.

A guide is present at the Visitor Centre and he will first usher you into a room to watch short, but fascinationg, video of King Shakas life before showing you around the grounds and explaining the significance of each item. The mini tour ends up at the small gift shop.

An interesting point is that ladies need to wear a dress or skirt when approaching the grave site. If you are in pants then the guide will lend you an apron to put over them.

Been there? Did you enjoy your visit?

King Shaka memorial

Memorial to King Shaka

Photo © Steven Herbert

Assassination rock at King Shaka Visitor Centre

The rock that King Shaka was sitting on when he was assassinated

Photo © Steven Herbert

Traditional huts

Traditional huts

Photo © Steven Herbert

The royal bananas

King Shakas favourite bananas

Photo © Steven Herbert

References and further reading


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