KZN's hidden gem celebrates 21 years


It has been 21 years since the La Route du Prince Impérial, Louis Napoléon (Route of the Prince Impérial, Louis Napoleon)  was created, but the beautiful site remains one of KwaZulu-Natal’s biggest hidden gems.

The route is starts from Durban to Pietermaritzburg, Greytown, Keats Drift, Tugela Ferry, Pomeroy, Dundee, Nquthu and to the Prince Imperial Monument.

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Glenn Flanagan with the sign to the monument . Pictures: Supplied.The monument is set in the beautiful backdrop of KZN. Picture: Supplied.

The drive would take almost 3 and a half hours.

La Route du Prince Impérial, Louis Napoléon was launched on 01 June 1996, by the, then, Chairperson of the Battlefields’ Route Association, Ray Heron, and Mme Jenny Bustin, President of the French Teachers’ Association of KwaZulu-Natal.

La Route du Prince Impérial, Louis Napoléon (The Route of the Prince Impérial, Louis Napoleon), follows the pilgrimage route through KwaZulu-Natal, taken by a mother in mourning as she followed the footsteps of her son to where he was killed during the Anglo-Zulu War in 1879.

The Prince Impérial, Louis Napoléon was killed in an ambush at uQweqwe, near Nqutu, on  June 1. The following year on the anniversary of his death, his mother, the Empress Eugenie, spent the night in vigil at the very spot, which is now marked as a monument to him.

Glenn Flanagan, convener and project leader of La Route du Prince Impérial, Louis Napoléon, said that since the route launched, it has grown exponentially.

“It still remains a niche tourism, but those who visit are intrigued to know that there was once a poignant French story of a man killed by Zulu warriors and that his history is very much alive in KZN.

“We often get calls from people wanting to visit, not only for the rich history but the picturesque Zulu landscape,” she said.

There is no entry fee, but there is a cost for a guide.

Flanagan said the tour took half a day. She suggests that people take an extra two days to explore the KZN Battlefields .

“The beauty of KZN is remarkable. Just being in the countryside and hearing these remarkable stories makes for a good break,” she said.

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