Things to Do in KwaZulu-Natal
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  • tofrek1885
    Shrewsbury, United Kingdom134 contributions
    Very nice restaurant and hotel accommodation but "Zulu village" a bit tired.
    Having spent a few days in Shakaland recently, I have no complaints about the food - which was plentiful and very nice - or the accommodation in the disitnctive Zulu-style huts, which were very comfortable. However, I felt that the "Zulu Village" was nothing more than a tourist set with no sense of reality to it. The Zulu guide we had was excellent and very informative but I just felt that the people were going through routines which they have done time after time (day in day out) for parties of gawping visitors and that they were (quite understandably in my view) bored with it all and not very committed. It was more like watching actors than part of an authentic Zulu experience.
    Written March 21, 2020
  • Jamie D
    Patumahoe, New Zealand19 contributions
    Zulu interation
    My Family and i used to live near by Shakaland. We grew up speaking zulu. As we are now older and live in NZ we had to take our partners to Shakaland to experince the Zulu Culture. They loved it! The food and Dance was Amazing as always. They have lovely gifts just remember to take cash with you.
    Traveled with family
    Written February 11, 2020
  • msg101
    Chalfont St. Giles, United Kingdom103 contributions
    mg101
    I admit I was a bit skeptical going to an "authentic Zulu village" been there, done that, tourist rip off I thought. Wrong, It is 21 century Zulus proud of their heritage doing their best to give an authentic impression of life in the mid 1800's, from showing a part of the film "Shaka" to explaining how a Kraal was designed and why, our guide was superb, there were only four of us on this tour but we got the whole works, our guide and the others were dressed as Zulus but that didn't look tacky, the clothes were real animal skins, not a "made in China label" anywhere, wish I could say that about my own country. They gave us a 30 minute singing and dance routine which, with the drummers, shields and spears did transport you back 170 years. Loved it
    Traveled as a couple
    Written March 19, 2014
These reviews are the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor checks reviews for fraud.
Detailed Reviews: Reviews order informed by descriptiveness of user-identified themes such as cleanliness, atmosphere, general tips and location information.

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Jarimalla
Helsinki421 contributions
Jan 2011
Don't get me wrong, the people are just doing their jobs, that I can understand. But when advertised as 'Unique Zulu Experience' - that's BS. The prices are close to robbery in terms of what you get. If you like fake setup and lazy acting or are a fan of the TV-series, then go ahead and spend your bucks, rest of you - avoid this tourist trap and look for a real thing.
Written February 10, 2011
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.

stefanie v
Paarl, South Africa6 contributions
Feb 2012 • Couples
i was really looking forward to see this main attraction as we also watched the tv series. how dissapointed we were. first they tried to convince us to pay R180 more so we could have their lunch, after telling them several times that we were not intereste in their buffet, we payed R125 for a one hour tour startingat 14.00. the tour started 10min late as their were people still eating. when the tour finally started we were quickly guided to a room were they showed us clips from the tv series for about 15min. as we arrived back to our car at 14.50 (including a bathroom stop), the 'one hour' tour was fairly short. no dances or singing was displayed, people guiding and showing tourists were not at all enthousiast and the most irritating part was that they kept speaking in zulu amongst one another, laughing loudly and clearly making fun of us. my husband speaks seswati so he could more or less understand them. rather visit one of the nearby heritage villages as i doubt it will be more dissapointing as this 'famous' one. a total rip-off.
Written February 18, 2012
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.

TysonR0
Tampa, FL6 contributions
Oct 2016 • Couples
I have occasionally heard Shakaland disparagingly referred to as Zulu-Disneyland, I suppose implying that it's commercialized, sanitized, unrealistic, and over-priced.

During a 3 wk trip to KwaZulu-Natal, my wife and I spent one night at Shakaland. Other than concessions to Western modesty (shorts are worn under traditional clothing and breasts are covered) we found the experience to be surprisingly accurate. We spent the rest of our trip living in an actual Zulu village so I feel like we have some basis for comparison. In an odd twist of fate we attended an actual Zulu wedding in which the man who plays the (fictional) Shakaland King was the (non-fictional) father of the groom. The festivities at the wedding were very much like those presented at Shakaland (though far less modestly). There will be no Facebook posts.

I found it particularly interesting to see how popular Shakaland is among the Zulu. Apparently, city-dwellers go there to get in touch with their heritage. On the morning tour I was the only non-Zulu and the tour was conducted in the Zulu language. The presenter would occasionally give be a brief summary in English. Most of the "inhabitants" speak only Zulu, but our tour guide Muso spoke English better than many Americans, though I don't think he believed me when I told him that.

Items for sale are a little more expensive than can be found elsewhere, but you are paying for convenience. Many of these items are not readily found for sale elsewhere (drums, walking sticks, certain bead-work, etc). i.e. The locals have them for their own use, but generally aren't presenting them for sale.

In terms of things that are aren't realistic:
The food is good, better than you're likely to find in a real village, where meat is scarce. i.e. They don't make you live on dry porridge.
They have a bar, which is good because the Zulu beer at Shakaland is just as horrible tasting as Zulu beer in the village.
The rooms, while Zulu-themed, have air-conditioning, windows, floors, and doors.
You'll have running water, as opposed to having to run for water.
IMO it's about as realistic as most people will really want.
Written December 5, 2016
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.

sosoeddie
Reno, NV77 contributions
Sep 2018 • Couples
After hearing so much about the famed Zulu warriors, I achieved a lifetime dream by visiting Shakaland. We chose the all day Shakaland Zulu Experience offered by Viator after reading other Trip Advisor reviews. The Followme2Africa tour company implemented this tour. After an 8:30 pickup from our hotel, we drove along the beautiful coast north of Durban and then through the Zulu tribal region, reaching Shakaland about 10:30 am. Our van was clean and comfortable and we had an excellent driver who provided a lot of information on the history and culture of the area. After arrival in Shakaland, we were pleasantly surprised to learn the village, a living Shaka museum, was used in the TV series that we saw in the 1980s. The village consisted of several beehive shaped, thatched roof huts that surrounded a community center. The Zulus were dressed in their traditional tribal clothes and demonstrated several ancient trades such as making pottery and spears. A warrior explained how King Shaka completely redesigned the weapons and re-planned the war strategy that was responsible for Zulus becoming the most-fierce and successful warriors of African tribes. Several beliefs and rituals were explained, including marriage. Warriors need many cows if they plan to marry. Fathers of brides become cattle barons if they have several daughters! Then, we were entertained with music and several of their tribal dances in the beautiful village community center, including war dances in which sharp spears were easily handled in close proximity. Finally, we had a lunch with traditional Zulu cuisine and the food was excellent. Then, a nice drive back to the hotel concluded a very nice day. We highly recommend this tour.
Written September 26, 2018
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.

Bjorn H
66 contributions
Feb 2018 • Friends
If you want to understand the complexity of SA culture, you need a break from the apartheid story and insight into the ancient, rich, fascinating, complex and unique cultures of the people that have inhabited the region for far longer than its recent political history - Shakaland is a fantastic way to do this and I would definitely encourage a visit, you will learn a lot and the dancing and music is mesmerising and deeply moving and lunch was wholesome.
I was surprised that the young Zulu girls' breasts were covered, which is not a culturally authentic practice, when I enquired as to the reason, I was told that tourists had complained in the past. I was disgusted by the level of disrespect that a tourist could show to the Zulu traditions, I was saddened how when cultures collide, one always loses out and was infuriated by the fact that the Zulu culture lost out to the western culture, in Zululand! - shame on you, if you cannot tolerate the differences between your and others' ways - go to Disneyland, stay away from the rural world, be it Africa, Asia, South America...
Written March 5, 2018
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.

Glenn H
Cheshire, UK78 contributions
Mar 2016 • Family
The village is absolutely fabulous only spoilt by the shop Curioafrica taking 6000 rand for an item, taking shipping details and then not bothering to send the item. Cue 3 wasted hours on the phone trying to get a refund from Visa.
Go to Shakaland but do not trust the shop Curioafrica to send any items that you have paid for. A fool and his money are soon parted !
Written June 19, 2016
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.

Zulu_Safaris_SA
Durban, South Africa321 contributions
Jan 2014 • Friends
Tourists often ask me "Where can we visit an authentic Zulu village,I dont want to go to the tourist places"

My reply is very simple, "Go back in time!" Thanks to modernization and urbanization the Zulu villages of yesteryear are all but gone. Some have modernized into homestead for the very few wealthy Zulu men, like Jacob Zuma (president 2009-2014).

For the rest of us there is Shakaland! Its educational and fun! No, the people dont live there but yes they are all Zulus. Its a very well designed tour. Its informative, interactive, they dance and sing then they serve you lunch!

The surroundings are beautiful, the drive from Durban is about 1h30 minutes. Theres a forest in Eshowe thats great for a post buffet walk.
Written January 11, 2014
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.

Jonagold4
Palm Springs, CA208 contributions
Jun 2013 • Friends
Very well organized experience- truly immersed in learning about the Zulu culture. Lovely accommodations, village tour, dancing (cast of over 15), dinner, breakfast. Everyone did everything that is normally done for a larger group. Tried my hand at fighting and spear throwing, narrowly missing one of the oxen. Whew!!! Tasty food and pleasant service in the dining hall. Crafts available for purchase at very reasonable prices. Guide was a real charmer! A highlight of our three weeks in South Africa. The location is a tad farther than the on line map appears; and, of course, forgot to get my 50R tv remote deposit back. Wrote to add it to the community fund. The village is on uneven packed dirt. Walk slowly.
Written June 28, 2013
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.

bluepearlise
Durban3 contributions
Oct 2011 • Business
Its a great place, a zulu homestead of the people who live there.
In Summer its really hot over there so you gotta dress cool. One has to wear takkies or trainers because the ground is rocky and sandy.

The people are very friendly, i liked the zulu speaking and then the translations for every phrase. The cinema is surprisingly very cool its comfortable too. Thats where visitor go to see the shaka zulu movie.

The zulu dancing is so awesome, my favourite part is when the children dance so well. The spirit and atmosphere is great! The lunch is well done as well they have a buffet of your choice. You can enjoy delicious dessert afterwards.
Written April 7, 2012
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.

Michael L
Scunthorpe, UK42 contributions
Dec 2019 • Friends
Let’s start off with the tour absolute joke our guide couldn’t get through it quick enough . They hadn’t started there demonstrations so just whisked through with no real explanation. The main complaint is the rooms we are a party of 6 with 3 separate rooms booked 2 of the rooms were downgraded the state of the rooms is disgraceful see the attached photos faeces from what I don’t know!!
See the photo of one of the duvet covers. My daughter got bit to death by midges or bed bugs not sure which!!
The buffet meals seemed ok however one of our party came down with an upset stomach which I feel is no coincidence.
I thought this would be a fun novel place how wrong I was
Avoid at all costs
Written December 28, 2019
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.

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Shakaland (KwaZulu-Natal) - All You Need to Know BEFORE You Go