Amajuba takes its name from a story about the Zulu king, Shaka and one of his raiding parties who were returning from raids to the north-west. They stopped to rest at the foot of Majuba Mountain and, noticing the vast number of doves, called it ‘Kwamajuba‘, the place of the Doves. Throughout the district there are reminders of two centuries of bloody conflict and within the Amajuba district lie landmarks and battlefields that shaped South Africa’s destiny.
The route covers the area that makes up the Amajuba District in the north-western corner of KwaZulu-Natal and incorporates the towns of Dannhauser, Utrecht and Newcastle and lies in the foothills of the Drakensberg Mountains. Newcastle is a charming, country town while Dannhauser has a cosmopolitan community of Zulu, Afrikaner, English, Hindu and Muslim inhabitants and Utrecht is well-known for being a town within a game park nestled in the Balele Mountains.
Reasons to visit:
The Amajuba District has a variety of attractions, including cultural experiences, crafts, historical tours, game viewing, various outdoor activities, fly fishing, flower cultivation, adventures in various forms, all made more appealing by the charm of the local people. The region also offers activities such as 4×4 excursions, mountain biking, quad biking, horseback riding or hiking. For art lovers there are a variety of galleries displaying the work of local artists, while nature lovers can choose from a variety of wildlife and birding experiences.
This culturally diverse region offers visitors the opportunity to meet interesting people and have a range of cultural experiences, from meeting the ‘Redcoats’ who re-enact historical battles, to visiting local dance groups and choirs, hearing the storytelling of old locals, visiting shebeens and taverns, meeting artists and crafters and experiencing the vibrant township life.
There is a wealth of history in the area and a number of battlefields to explore. It is here that the battles that decided the outcome of the Transvaal War of Independence took place in 1881, when the Burgers of Commandant General Piet Joubert soundly defeated the Imperial forces of General Sir George Pomeroy Colley. After inflicting reverses on Colley’s troops at Laing’s Nek and Schuinshoogte, Joubert’s forces went on to drive Colley’s men from their seemingly ‘impregnable’ position on top of Majuba Mountain. Follow the trail of Colley’s ill-fated force from Fort Amiel in Newcastle to Mt. Prospect Cemetery, Laing’s Nek, Schuinshoogte, Majuba Mountain and O’Neill’s Cottage.