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Mangeni Falls

Location: 20km South East of Isandlwana in the heart of Zululand

The area of the Mangeni Falls and gorge forms the furthest part of the battlefield of Isandlwana. On 21 January 1879 Chelmsford received reports suggesting that the Zulu Army was approaching his positions from the direction of Ulundi. It was at Mangeni that Chelmsford received reports that Isandlwana was under attack on the afternoon of the 22nd. He later departed for Isandlwana some 20 km (12 miles) to the north-west.

But there is a far more delightful story attached to Mangeni that has its origins in the Zulu culture. The story goes that a young Zulu maiden was to be wed to some old Zulu man and being a rebellious girl she objected. In order to avoid being punished by her family she went to the falls to throw herself off and rather die than marry the old man. But, she was wearing her traditional Isidwaba skirt (made of cattle skin) and as she threw herself off the falls the skirt opened up and formed a parachute and she floated to the bottom. She was then able to swim away and she went and settled elsewhere in Zululand.

And that is not all, there are also rumours that too emanate from Zulu legend that the falls were used as a method of punishment for the Zulu who, when found guilty of various crimes, would be thrown to their death at the bottom of the falls. It is rumoured that if you climb down to the bottom of the falls you will find human skeletons!

Despite all these wonderful stories the area is one of the most picturesque in Zululand and if you time it right and there has been a recent heavy downpour of rain then the Falls are something to behold! Birders can also enjoy an hour or two of twitching as the cliffs are home to many different species amongst which we count an eagle or two.