Tourism, Accommodation and Historical Attractions in Natal, South Africa

Natal Museums


Natal is richly endowed with wonderful museums with artefacts from the wars fought here, settler times, the colonial era and apartheid.

The Museums of Natal

Advertise Now -it's Free!   Email this page to a friend   Change text size:  Increase Text Size Decrease Text Size


The rich material culture of African farming communities can be seen in many museums in KwaZulu - Natal. The richness of this material culture, which includes woodcarvings, ceramic pots and elaborate bead work, is expressed by the great diversity of styles in different areas.

Although not all these communities were incorporated into Shaka's Zulu kingdom, all share a similar culture and language.

The cultural heritage of these Zulu-speaking peoples include 'living traditions', such as songs, dances and rituals, and important historical features such as royal headquarters and graves. Many of these can be seen on the various routes to Ulundi, which is in the heartland of the old Zulu kingdom.

1 Campbell Collections
This museum has a rich collection of Zulu ethnographic items along with the William Campbell Museum of Africana art and furniture. 220 Marriott Rd., Durban. By appointment.
Tel (031) 207 3432
2 KwaZulu Cultural Museum
Rich collections of the province's archaeological heritage and Zulu culture is the main focus of this museum's exhibits. King Cetshwayo Highway. Mon-Sun and Pub. Hols. 0800 - 1600. Closed Christmas Day & Good Fri.
Tel (0358) 791 223
3 KwaDukuza Museum
North Coast
This museum has a display on King Shaka. Couper Street, Stanger. Open Mon - Sun & Pub Hols 0800 - 1600 Closed Christmas Day and Good Fri. Tel (0324) 22762
4 Mgungundlovu Museum
Site Museum where King Dingane had his headquarters Extensive archaeological research has been carried out and huts have been reconstructed. Off the Melmoth - Vryheid Rd. Open Mon - Sun 0800 - 1700 incl. Pub Hols. Tel (03545) 2254
5 Vukani Museum
This museum has a splendid collection of Zulu arts and crafts collected from the region over a period of time. Osborn Road, Eshowe. Open Tues - Thurs 0900-1300 Tel (0354) 74902
6 Zululand Historical Museum
This museum is set in a picturesque fort and has a number of Zulu cultural items. some of John Dunn's furniture and a replica of a beer mug given by Queen Victoria to King Cetshwayo. Nongqoi Rd., Eshowe. Open daily 0900-1600 Tel (0354) 41141


Nineteenth century European missionaries played a vital role in the history of Natal. Reviled by the immigrant settler farmers and often rejected by the African tribes to whom they had hoped to dedicate their lives, these people faced a difficult and lonely task.

Frequently isolated in far flung stations, they not only endeavoured to spread the Word of God, but were also called upon to be political advisors, teachers, doctors and linguists.

From this dedication grew a rich legacy of hospitals, schools, churches and the first Zulu dictionary. Today a record of the zealous missionaries lives on in the carefully preserved collections of KwaZulu-Natal's museums, as well as many mission stations.

7 Bergtheil Museum
An original settler building housing family records. photographs and artefacts relating to the first German group who settled in Natal. 16 Queen's Ave. Westville.Mon-Fri. 0800-1300, 1400-1700Every 3rd Sat. 0900-1300
8 Zululand Historical Museum
A display on the early Norwegian missionaries is also found here. Nongqai Road, Eshowe. Daily 0900-1600
9 Fort Durnford Museum
This double-story Victorian fort houses among other items, a German collection relating to Moorleigh Mission Station. Kemps Road, Estcourt Mon-Fri 0900-1200, 1300-1600 Sat. & SUn. by appointment.
10 Macrorie House
A comprehensive collection of Victoriana and Ecclesiastica are housed in Bishop Macrorie's original home. Within the home is an interesting little chapel. 11 Loop Str. Pietermaritzburg Open Mon - Fri 09OO-13OO. Sun 11OO-16OO & Day of Goodwill. Closed Sat and Pub Hols.
11 Rorke's Drift - Shiyane
This famous battlefield was occupied by Lutheran missionaries before and after the battle. The displays in the museum. as well as buildings on the site recall their endeavours. Rorke's Drift, off the Dundee . Helpmekaar Rd. Open Mon - Sun 08OO-17OO
12 Mission House Museum
An interesting collection relating to the Mission Station and housed in the original communal residence built in 1856. Deutsche Schule, Hermannsburg
Mon. - Fri. 0900-1200 Sat. by appt.


Gandhi's path of passive resistance has had a profound influence on struggles against injustice, not only in South Africa and India but throughout the world. The twenty year period (1893 - 1914) Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi spent in South Africa has often been referred to as his "apprenticeship" as a Mahatma (Great Soul).

Much of this apprenticeship period was spent in the KwaZulu- Natal region. It was at Pietermaritzburg Station that Gandhi first awakened to the plight of Indians in Natal, when he was ejected from the first class compartment of a train. At Phoenix Settlement just outside Durban, Gandhi set up an ashram in 1904, where he began his experiment of a life of simplicity and service.

His experiences as part of the Indian Stretcher Bearers Corps in Northern Natal during the South African War and in Zululand during the Bambatha Rebellion, undoubtedly played a role in his decision to reject violence.

There are also several sites in Durban and northern KwaZulu-Natal associated with Gandhi These include Phoenix Settlement in Inanda. Durban: Pietermaritzburg Railway Station: Spioenkop Battlefield: Dundee: HinduTemple: Ladysmith Vishnu Temple

13 Talana Museum
This museum has photographs of the 1913 passive resistance marches and of the Indian Stretcher Bearers Corps during the second Boer War. Vryheid Road, Dundee. Mon-Fri. 0800-1600. Sat. 1000-1600 Sun. 1200-1600
14 Local History Museums, Durban Old Court House Museum Among its collections, this museum has photos artefacts and documents relating to Ghandi. Aliwal St. Durban Mon-Sat. 0830-1700 Sun & Pub. Hols. 1100-1700 Closed Christmas Day and Good Friday
15 The Natal Museum, Midlands Photographs and artefacts relating to Ghandi are some of the items collected by this museum. 237 Loop St. Pietermaritzburg Mon-Sat. 0900-1630 SUn. 1400-1700


Military events have impacted dramatically on KwaZulu-Natal's brief recorded history There were five major campaigns: the Zulu conflicts, Zulu-Voortrekker clashes, Anglo-Zulu War Anglo-Boer Wars and Bambatha Uprising. Several museums, situated on battlefields, are devoted to such pivotal engagements as Rorke's Drift, lsandlwana, Talana, Colenso and the siege of Ladysmith, while most others include displays on local military forces and the local impact of regional upheavals.

Also receiving attention are episodes in the rise of the Zulu kingdom,the battles of kwaGqokli Hill (1818), Thukela (1838) and Ndondakusuka (1856).

16 Fort Amiel
The story of Fort Amiel, British military base 1876 to 1902. including 1st Boer War 1880 - 1881 Fort Street, Newcastle. Open Mon - Fri 1000-1600. Sat 0900-1300
17 Fort Durnford
The military displays in this museum focus on the Langalibalele Uprising. the Natal Mounted Police and the Battle of Willowgrange (2nd Boer War). Kemps Road, Estcourt Mon-Fri. 0900-1200, 1300-1600 Sat & Sun by appointment.
18 Talana Museum
The Battle of Talana (South African War) is focused on in the military display at this museum Dundee - Vryheid Rd. Mon-Fri. 0800-1600 Sat. 1000-1600 Sun 1200-1600
19 Warrior's Gate MOTH Museum
A rich collection of militaria is on view at this museum. South African involvement in the two World Wars is the focus of this collection. Old Fort Road Durban. Open: Tues-Fri. 1100-1500 Sat 10001200Sun 100-1500
20 Greytown Museum
The Bambatha Rebellion of 19O6. and the Umvoti Mounted Rifles are the military displays in this museum. Scott Street, Greytown. Open Mon - Fri. O8OO-16OO. Closed Sat. & Sun. Pub. Hols. by request.
21 Isandlwana
This evocative museum depicts the Anglo - Zulu War's most famous battle. lsandlwana Historic Reserve Battlefield, off the Nqutu- Babanango Road. Mon.-Sun. 0900-1600, (KwaZulu Monuments Council)
22 RE Stevenson Museum
The displays concentrate on the Relief of Ladysmith campaign, Boer War. Old Tollkeeper's House, Colenso Open by request
23 Rorke's Drift/Shiyane
The museum focuses on the Battle of Rorke's Drift and provides a general introduction to the Anglo - Zulu War Rorke's Drift, off the Dundee - Helpmekaar Road. Mon. - Sun. 0800-1700
24 The Siege Museum
This museum is primarily devoted to the siege of Ladysmith. South African War. Town Hall, Murchison Street, Ladysmith. Open Mon-Fri 09OO-162O. Sat 09OO-13OO.


Choose a route which takes in one or more of the regional art museums of the Province, and visit various craft centres on the way . Stop off at Rorke's Drift Art and Craft Centre near Dundee on your way to the Carnegie Art Gallery in Newcastle. Visit the African Art Centres in Durban and Pietermaritzburg when planning to view extensive historical and contemporary art collections in the Durban and Tatham Art Galleries.

Consider the B.A.T Centre in Durban and the Caversham Press in the Midlands, and don't miss the Midlands Meander. En route to the Margate Art Museum on the South coast, stop off at Shell Ultra City to view craft work of the region, and at Gingindlovu see handcrafted Zulu pottery before visiting the newly - opened Empangeni Art Museum.

Off the beaten track, particularly in northern KwaZulu . Natal, you are sure to come across local craftwork on the roadside. Be creative, it's all there for viewing and enjoying.

25 Carnegie Art Museum
The gallery's collection reflects the art and craft of the area and its collecting theme of'landscapes' is unique in SA. Civic Centre, Newcastle. Open Tues-Thurs 0900-1300. Fri. 1100-1600 Closed Sun & Pub Hols
26 Durban Art Gallery
Has a fine collection of national and international artworks in all media The focus is on contemporary South African artwork. City Hall, Smith Street, Durban. Open Weekdays & Sat 0830-17 00. Sun & Pub. Hols. 1100-1700 Closed Christmas Day & Good Friday
27 Empangeni Art and Cultural History Museum
This museum has a representative collectionof KwaZulu-Natal artists' works and an ethnographic collection of the regional culture. Turnbull St. Empangeni Tues-Fri 1000-1600 Sat. 0900-1230 Sun by enquiry. Closed Mon. & Pub. Hols.
28 Margate Municipal Art Museum
South Coast
A community orientated museum of national artists works and an ethnographic collection Civic Centre, Dan Pienaar Square, Margate. Open Tues-Fri 0900-15OO.Sat 1000- 1300. Sun & Mon closed
29 Tatham Art Gallery
A superb collection of South African, British and French 19th and 20th century art, with an emphasis on KwaZulu-Natal art. Corner Commercial Rd. and Church St. Pietermaritzburg Tues - Sun. 1000-1800 Closed Christmas New Year and Workers' Day.


KwaZulu-Natal's rich natural heritage is world renowned and is comprehensively represented in two of the region's major museums- The Natal Museum in Pietermaritzburg and the Durban Natural Science Museum. Both museums hold important and unique representative research collections of various life forms, while dioramas and interactive displays provide visitors with a tempting overview of the natural riches that abound in KwaZulu-Natal.

When you visit KwaZulu-Natal take the opportunity of visiting one or more of the region's well known game reserves . A range of overnight accommodation is offered at most of them and this allows you to explore them at leisure and if you are lucky, you may just spot one of Africa's 'big five' before continuing your journey.

30 The Natal Museum
Exhibitions feature a wealth of animal and insect life. a marine gallery and dinosaurs Other exhibitions include San (Bushman) rock art. African cultural items and settler history. 237 Loop St. Pietermaritzburg Mon-Sat. & Pub. Hols. 0900-1630 Sun. 1400-1700
31 Geology Display Centre University of Natal, Durban Mainly rock. mineral and fossil items. Mon-Fri 0900-1200, 1300-1600 preferably by request
32 The Natal Sharks Board
North Coast
Do sharks fascinate you? Visit the Sharks Board with its absorbing natural history shark display. Mon.-Fri. 0800-1600 & 1st Sun. of the month 1300-1600. Closed Sat. & Pub. Hols.
33 The Durban Natural Science Museum A museum about the earth. its history and life on earth. both past and present. City Hall, Smith Street, Durban. Weedays & Sta. 0830-1700 Sun & Pub. Hols 100-1700 Closed Christmas Day & Good Friday
34 The Biology Collections,
University of Natal, Durban The teaching collections of the Biology Department. Open by request.


These museums focus on themes that are unique to their speciality.
35 Baynesfield Estate Museum
The displays focus on Joseph Baynes and his contributions to agriculture. Just outside Baynesfield (Nr. Richmond) Mon-Fri. 0800-1630 Sat. Sun. and Pub. Hols. by request
36 Voortrekker Museum
Voortrekker Heritage is the theme of this museum. It has an extensive collection of Voortrekker items. 340 Church St. Pietermaritzburg Mon.-Fri. 0800-1600, Sat. 0800-1200 Pub. Hols. 0800-1600. Closed Sun. & Christian Hols.
37 Comrades House Museum
This museum depicts the history of the world famous Comrades Marathon. >18 Connought Road, Pietermaritzburg Mon-Fri. 0900-1200 1400-1600 Closed Sat. Sun & Public hols.
38 Kwa Muhle Museum
The history and culture of 20th century Durban is the main theme of this museum. 130 Ordnance Road, Durban. Mon-Sat. 0800-1700 Sun & Pub. Hols. 1100-1700 Closed Christmas Day & Good Friday
39 Natal Railway Museum
This museum has a large collection of railway engines and coaches as well as other railway memorabilia. Hilton Station, Hilton Mon-Fri. 0800-1600, Sat. 0830-1500 Sun.0800-1800 Closed Pub. hols.
40 Port Natal Maritime Museum
This museum portrays aspects of Durban and KwaZulu Natal's intriguing maritime history: attractions include three large vessels and smaller craft. Maritime Place at the bay end of Aliwal Street Durban. Mon-Sat 0830-1600 Sun & Pub. Hols. 1100-1630 Closed Christmas Day and Good Friday
41 Old House Museum
This museum is a typical verandah house with its notable architecture and fascinating articles of old furniture and fittings. depicts the lifestyle of Durban's Victorian settlers. 31 St. Andrews St. Durban Mon-Sat 0830-1700 Sun & Public Hols. 1100-1700 Closed Christmas Day and Good Friday


Themes relating to the history of the region are depicted in these museums.

41 Richmond. Open Wed - Sat 9.3O-12.3O: Sun lO.3O-12.3O Closed Mon. Tue.Thur ~ Fri
42 Rohde House Museum The history of dairying is the major theme of this museum. along with Mooi River's history. Cnr. Athlone Rd & Cloughton Terrace, Mooi River. Open Mon.Tue - Fri lOOO-123O: Thurs 14OO-16 3O Cosed Wed. Sat. Sun & Pub Hols
43 East Griqualand Museum Griqua history is the major theme of this museum's displays. although it also has several local history exhibits and items. Main St. Kokstad Mon-Fri 0800-1300 1400-1600 Sat, Sun, & Pub Hols by request
44 Matatiele Museum Exhibits depict the local prehistory history and cultures of the town and district from stone age to present day. High Street, Matatiele. Open Mon - Fri 0900-12 00.14 00- 16 00 Closed Sat. Sun & Pub Hols - Museum open on request
45 Pinetown Museum This is a multi-cultural local history museum representing all cultures and covering 100,000 years. Cnr Old Main Rood ond Crompton Sts. Mon- Thurs 0900-17 00: Fri 0900-16 00: Sat (alt) 0900-12 00 Closed Sun & Pub Hols
46 Howick Museum This museum has a wide range of items and exhibits. including displays on various aspects of medicine. local history. furniture. the SARMCOL strike and informal settlements. Falls View Rood, Howick. Open Tues- Fri 0900-12 00.14 00- 15 30: Sat 0900-12 00: Sun 10 00- 16 00 Closed Mon ~ Pub Hols
47 Nieuwe Republiek Museum. The period of the Nieuwe Republiek is a major theme of this museum Other aspects of local history are also covered. Landdrost St, Vryheid. Open Mon-Fri 0730-1600 Sat/Sun by Appointment
48 Port Shepstone Museum Fascinating aspects of the sea, shipwrecks and the old harbour are the main feature of this museum. Athlone Drive, Port Shepstone. Open Mon - Fri 0900-16 00 Closed Sat. Sun ~ Pub Hols
49 Utrecht Museum The displays depict the history of prominent personalities and the local history in a unique and creative manner. Cnr Loop & Kerk Street, Utrecht. Mon.-Fri. 0800-1200 Closed Sat. Sun & Pub. Hols.
50 Weenen Museum A lovely display of old Voortrekker dresses, utensils etc. Andries Pretorius St., Weenen Mon-Fri. 0830-1200, 14-00-1600 Closed Sun. & Pub. Hols.
51 Greytown Museum Situated in a historical monument. it is crammed with items from a variety of cultures. Scott St, Greytown. Open Mon - Fri 0800-1600 Closed. Sat. Sun ~ Pub Hols. but open on request.
52 Himeville Museum The museum is in a fort. The rich history of the district is reflected with a focus on the San (Bushmen) Arbuckle St, Himeville. Closed Mon. Tues. & Thurs.
53 Winterton Museum An amaZizi replica homestead. Agricultural implements. Displays on local history and an excellent library on the South African War are special features of this museum. Church St. Winterton. Mon-Thurs, Sat 09OO-12 OO. Fri. 1300-1600 Closed Sun. & Pub Hols

   This website by Durban Website Designers.
Natal Accommodation Guide
Natal Accommodation Guide
Natal Accommodation Guide