Melmoth - Gateway to the Zulu Kingdom

In 1887 when the British government annexed Zululand they established several magisterial districts. One district was Mthonjaneni, and the centre of the district was what today is known as Melmoth, named after Sir Melmoth Osborn, the first British Chief Native Commissioner for Zululand. Melmoth was essentially a `gold rush town`. At the turn of the century gold was mined at the Melmoth Gold Fields, five kilometres out of town, but this was a short term venture. Deserted diggings can still be found in some areas.

Melmoth, known as the gateway to the Zulu Kingdom, is a picturesque, little town just 200 km north east of Durban,73Km from Empangeni, 52Km from Eshowe, and 53Km from Ulundi in the interior of northern Kwazulu-Natal. It lies at an elevation of 800m. Melmoth is a trading and agricultural centre, mainly timber and sugarcane. It has been referred to, in the SA edition of Trivial Pursuit, as having the cleanest air in the country. The sweep of large sugarcane and timber plantations make way for rolling hills and green fields of grassland that is so typical of the Zululand landscape. Commercial agriculture and the timeless tableau of farmsteads and traditional thatched homesteads with small patches of crops and grazing cattle converge to create a place of unspoilt beauty with a rich natural and social diversity where new lifestyles thrive next to a culture steeped in tradition. Melmoth is essentially regarded as a good base for travellers wanting to visit place of interest close to the town, all within an hour’s drive.

Fire Fighting in Melmoth 2013

Route66 development!


Local tourism will get an exciting boost with the development of the Zululand Heritage Route 66. The route will cover the area between Pongola, Nongoma, Ulundi, Melmoth, Eshowe and Gingindlovu. There will be seven entrance routes for tourists with the R66 being the central spine of the development.The area is home to game reserves and natural heritage sites, cultural events, excellent accommodation and crafters. The R66 will begin near Gingindlovu and follow a 250km route similar to the original tracks of early traders and hunters. The route travels through historical and battle sites. Almost all the Zulu kings in Zululand were born, lived and died in the area and with the opening of of the multimedia interpretation centre at uMgungundlovu, interactive displays will showcase four centuries of Zulu history. With the development of the route Zululand`s unique attractions will get the visitors they deserve and local communities will have opportunities to develop and establish new businesses.

During the Route 66 AGM on the 20th May 2011 the new committee was elected which represents the whole of Zululand area on the Zululand Heritage Route as well as the two district Municipalities namely Uthungulu and Zululand. Emphasis was put on advertising, lobbying, funding and co-operation amongst all stakeholders. Currently the committee is busy throughout the area with presentations to interested parties and local authorities. Interesting projects are being investigated on the Route 66 which will benefit all communities on the route as a whole. Contact local Tourism Office for further details