A little town that became famous when it was renamed “Gin, Gin, I Love You” by British troops, it owes its real name to King Cetshwayo, who built a military kraal here in the mid-1850s and named it Gingindlovu – the swallower of the elephant.
King Cetshwayo had just defeated his half-brother, Mbulazi, at the battle of Ndondakusaka, thereby solidifying his position as leader of the Zulu nation.
It should not be confused with Mgungundlovu (the secret place of the elephant), Dingane’s capital kraal that he built in 1828 near Mtonjaneni after assassinating King Shaka.
Gingindlovu was also the site of a bloody British victory over a Zulu army in 1879 in the aftermath of the Battle of Isandlwana.
En route to relieve the siege of Eshowe, Lord Chelmsford’s column was attacked by a sizeable Zulu force led by Dabulamanzi, King Cetshwayo’s brother, just a few kilometres from the present-day town. More than 1000 Zulu warriors were killed and only 13 British soldiers. A monument still stands on this spot to commemorate the event.
Today, Gingindlovu is a small town that marks the beginning of Zululand’s Route 66, a road that passes through many of the historical highlights.
Look out for
Obviously the Gingindlovu battlefield should not be missed. Try to read up on the battle or take along a guide who can play it out for you. The monument is in memory of the 13 British soldiers who died here, but spare a thought for the 1000 brave Zulu men who lost their lives.
The Amatikulu Estuary and game reserve is a short drive from Gingindlovu and offers boating, birding and fishing.
A local favourite that draws crowds all the way from Durban every weekend is the Amatikulu Prawn Shack. Not far from Gingindlovu on sand dunes overlooking the ocean, the Prawn Shack offers fabulous and innovative meals that seem to draw out into real festivities.