Experience a captivating performance when you attend the Royal Reed Dance Festival in Zululand. Once a year in early September thousands of people attend the Reed Dance festival at the KwaNyokeni Palace in Nongoma which is a vibrant celebration of Zululandís traditional culture and rich heritage. The four day event takes its name from the reeds gathered from the river beds and carried by more than 10 000 invited virgin girls to the Kingís Palace. The scenic route to the festival takes you along the breathtaking lush sugar-cane belts of Durbanís North Coast, through the abounding wildlife reserves of Zululand and finally into the undulating hills and valleys silently speaking to your soul with its natural beauty.RITE CEREMONY
The royal reed dance festival in Zululand illustrates the proud heritage of the Zulu nation and plays a huge part in the unification of the nationís people and the king. To ensure ritual purity, only virgin girls are permitted to partake in the ceremony. There are many myths surrounding the festival, one is that if a girl is not pure her reed will break when presenting it to the King, publicly disgracing her and her community.FLAMBOYANT EVENT
It is a distinguished honour for the girls to represent their respective families and communities throughout the KwaZulu Natal Province and is a colourful and mesmerising event. Each areaís distinctive crafts are reflected by the stunning traditional beadwork and clothing the girls are adorned in. When you attend the Royal Reed Dance Festival in Zululand you will not only encounter a dignified traditional ritual, but at the same time revel in the energetic dazzling display of the girlís singing and dancing talents.PRESENTING THE REED
The procession of girls, each carrying a reed, is led by a chief princess as well as a female sibling of the Zulu King as they proceed to the Royal Palace where the king and his regiment awaits them. A reed to mark the opening of the celebration is laid before the King by the chief princess and she is also the first one to choose a reed. It is a momentous occasion as the girls line up before the King to choose a reed and a dramatic silence hangs in the air to see whether a reed will break as each one takes a turn. The proceedings are followed by jubilant singing and dancing and to express his gratitude the King responds by performing a sacrifice to the royal ancestors on behalf of the young women and their communities. Attending the Royal Reed Dance Festival in Zululand is definitely an event not to be missed.RECOMMENDED ITINERARY
Depart from the City of Durban along the picturesque KwaZulu Natal North Coast to Zululand. Explore the spectacular indigenous forest at Dlinza Forest Aerial Boardwalk which nestles within an urban setting. On the same route visit the Zululand Historical Museum at Fort Nongqayi and the Vukani Zulu art collection. Enjoy a light lunch at Adams Outpost and thereafter visit Martyrís Cross not only for its historical interest but for the awesome uninterrupted views of the coastline. End the day by having dinner at Lake St Lucia abroad a float.Day 2:
Visit a Zulu cultural village to experience their way of life or stand in awe at the skill displayed by the spear throwers at a traditional homestead. Enjoy lunch at Eshowe whilst taking delight in the vibrant dancing and signing of the local people. Spend a night in St Lucia village where you can feast on delectable South African cuisine at a local venue.Day 3:
Cruise on Lake St Lucia, a wonderful ecological treasure, view the abounding wild and birdlife. The lake is home to the majestic Nile crocodile and large numbers of hippo. Relax and take in the tranquil surroundings whilst the fish eaglesí haunting cries reminds you of their presence.