The Dlinza Forest Aerial Boardwalk,
takes the visitor high up into the tree canopy to see a bird's
eye view of the forest, ending in a lofty 20m high observation
tower with lovely views of the forest valleys and surrounding
countryside. There are 65 species of bird and 80 species of butterfly
in the forest, and the Visitor Centre has wheelchair-friendly
ablutions, refreshments, a curio shop, displays of flora and fauna,
guided walking trails, a bird hide and picnic area.
It's cool, elevated position on a
hilltop overlooking the hot and humid coastal plain gives Eshowe
its serenity but the Dlinza Forest around which the town wraps
itself, gives Eshowe its spirit.
No other town in South Africa has blended so organically into
its environment as Eshowe.
The core of the 250-hectare coastal scarp Dlinza
Forest is a declared nature reserve but tracts of the beautiful,
high forest as well as patches of wild flowers and grassland are
dispersed throughout the leafy avenues of the town.
Blessed with this abundant natural diversity,
Eshowe residents boast that that there is a tree in flower every
day of the year in their town. This lush environment and refreshing
climate has always attracted human habitation and no less than
four Zulu kings have at some stage lived here, though Eshowe probably
owes its modern beginnings to the Norwegian missionaries who established
a station here in the mid-19th century.
During the Anglo Zulu War of 1879 British soldiers
used the mission as a fort and were besieged by the Zulu army
for 10 weeks. During the Zulu Civil War a few years later, Eshowe
became the British military headquarters and a large peacekeeping
force of 3 000 British troops was encamped in tents at Fort Curtis
for about 16 years There was a rush of trading ventures to cater
to the needs of such a large garrison and during this period it
was made the capital of the colony of Zululand.
No evidence of Fort Curtis remains - it occupied
a large area in the vicinity of the present Eshowe Sports Club
- but the town remains a busy commercial hub long after the departure
of the last British soldier. Today it continues
to charm visitors and Eshowe was recently voted amongst the top
10 towns of South Africa by a popular travel magazine