The Rainbow Route is suited to the culture vultures among us and to those with a deep love and respect for nature and history. It is a route that follows in the Voortrekker footsteps, as well as exploring the rites and rituals of the noble Zulu nation.
It takes you through sweeping scenic countryside and patriotic little towns and shows you another side to an increasingly changing country. The route will inform, educate and entertain you throughout.
The drive is generally scenic, with plenty of rest stops along the way. The most obvious advantage of the Rainbow Route is convenience, both in time and money. The route moves through an area of KwaZulu-Natal which is rich in history, local interest and scenery.
A family on a motoring holiday could spend several days visiting the towns and attractions of the Rainbow Route. There are a number of caravan parks along the way, other accommodation, interesting tourist attraction, as well as eating places. For those with a little more time, there's a wealth of local history to explore in charming museums in all the towns.
Destinations on the route are:
Mtunzini - the area is the home of the Raphia Palm and the Palmnut Vulture, which is one of the rarest birds of prey in South Africa
Eshowe - the imposing white 3 turreted Fort Nongqayi, built to House the Nongqayi, the unique Zulu Police Force, houses today the Zululand Historical Museum, with tits parade court, displays of the Nongqayi in action and Zululand Mounted Rifles
Babanango - this little village is an excellent place from which to explore the battlefields of the KwaZulu-Natal hinterland
Melmoth - the area is known as the mist belt because the escarpment causes the moisture laden winds which blow from the sea to rise and condense
Ulundi - view the monument and grave of Piet Retief and his party of Voortrekkers who were executed on Dingaan's orders in 1838, the Ulundi Battle Monument and the kraal of Cetshwayo.
The route can be extended into Mpumalanga.
Secunda - the centre of the petro-chemical industry where coal is converted to petrol.
Bethel - the picturesque dam at Bethal is a perfect stop-off point for watersports enthusiasts, particularly fishing and sailing. Near Ermelo visitors can admire the San paintings on the farm of Welgelegen.
Chrissiesmeer - there are some 270 lakes and pans within a 20 km radius of Chrissiesmeer where activities include bird-watching, horse and bike riding, hiking and canoeing.
Amsterdam - three large dams in the surrounding forestry area offer watersports options.
Piet Retief - the population of Piet Retief is mainly of German origin, descendants of 19th century missionaries. A visit to the cheese and dairy farms is a must. The finely embroidered linen is worth buying.