Meet the legends . . .make new discoveries . . . and understand the history. . .
A journey along Route 66 is filled with unexpected discoveries.
Stop at a tavern for refreshment and get knocked out by boxing legend Tap Tap Makhatini, walk in the forest and find fascinating creatures great and small and take time to hear the extraordinary history of the region: the Zulu kings who lived here, the Norwegian missionaries who brought Christianity to Zululand and how the British tried to change the old order of Zululand.
Route 66 between Gingindlovu and Phongolo follows one of the oldest trade routes through Zululand. Settlers resident at Port Natal (Durban) in the early 19th Century would set off in oxwagons on wellworn tracks and cross into Zululand at a drift very close to the present N2 bridge over the Thukela River. The tracks followed the coast for a while before turning inland towards the heart of the Zulu Kingdom as settlers required the permission of the Zulu King before they could hunt and trade in his territory.
The R66, begins at Dokodweni Toll Plaza close to the pristine Siyaya Coastal Park, and ends less than 250kms further north at the busy town of Phongolo but in that short distance, visitors have travelled through a world from another time.
Route 66 passes through territory that has given rise to events which have captured the world’s imagination.
Route 66 Places of Interest
It includes two nature reserves as well as 42kms of beautiful beaches, pristine coastal dune forest, mangrove forests, grassland, ilala palm bushveld.
The Umlalazi Nature Reserve – (1 028 hectares) and the Amatikulu Nature Reserve (1 700 hectares) both offer a network of hiking trails where visitors can view a wide range of creatures great and small from the fascinating fiddler crabs and mudskippers to herds of zebra and giraffe.
Route 66 travels through some major battlefields of the AngloZulu War of 1879 and a convenient place to start exploring this fascinating part of Zulu history is on the banks of the Thukela River where the British issued King Cetshwayo with an ultimatum that effectively started the war. Close to the Thukela River on the R102 is the site of the Battle of Ndondakusuka of 1856 sometimes known as the Battle of the Princes.
Eshowe offers a variety of unusual attractions including the Dlinza Forest Aerial Boardwalk which gives visitors a bird’s perspective of life high above the forest floor.
The Fort Nongqayi Museum Village houses a series of excellent museums which cover a wide range of interests from history to Zulu art and craft, and don’t forget about the Butterfly Dome!
Mtunzini overlooks kilometres of unspoilt beaches with the Mlalazi River winding its way lazily through coastal forest before reaching the sea This is where the legendary hunter and White chief John Dunn brought his 48 Zulu wives and 70 children to relax. Today the rare Palmnut Vulture calls it home.
The P230 goes through the heart of King Shaka territory and gives visitors a glimpse of everyday life off the beaten track. Meet the locals and have a refreshment break at a tavern owned by boxing legend Tap Tap Makhatini.
Explore the magnificent forests of Ongoye, Dlinza and Ntumeni each with their own ‘specials’ whether it be birding or botanical. Guides offered by the Zululand Birding Route will enrich the experience with their knowledge of the forests.
Route 66 Accommodation
Accommodation on Route 66 varies from traditional thatched Zulu huts to luxury B&B’s and charming old Zululand hotels. From affordable campsites where zebras roam freely to grand hilltop farmsteads with spectacular views to the ocean.
It also offers two of the country’s most famous cultural villages where guests have a chance to taste and experience the excitement of Zulu traditions and culture.