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Once a coach stop, Newcastle was named after the 5th Duke of Newcastle and settled in 1854. Today it’s the commercial hub for the region and the largest town in the northern section of the KwaZulu-Natal Province.
The town has a bloody history and was often the scene of battles between the British, the Zulu and the Boer. Fortunately the town endured and visitors can enjoy the history and the ongoing improvements made by the progressive and forward-thinking inhabitants.
Newcastle is surrounded by a number of interesting and scenic mountain passes, two of which skirt lovely waterfalls.
There is an eclectic mix of peoples living in Newcastle, the town has attracted people of British and Indian descent, Afrikaners, Pakistanis and most notably, Chinese families. However, the majority of residents are Zulu.
Top 6 reasons to visit Newcastle
1. Stroll through the town to appreciate the Victorian buildings that stand alongside their contemporary companions. Visit the Armoury built in 1879 during the Anglo-Zulu wars, the Hindu Temple with its magnificent domed roof, the old prison and the Fort Amiel Museum.
2. Regular gaming promotions take place at the Blackrock Casino where punters can try their luck on the tables and slots. The casino has a restaurant to enjoy a meal with any winnings collected.
3. For an exciting shopping experience, visit the Newcastle Mall which has 96 stores, or watch a movie at the Victorian Theatres that show the latest mainstream movies along with hits direct from Bollywood.
4. Newcastle is on the Battlefields Route. Arrange for a guide to escort you to the Botha’s Pass battlefield site where British and Boer forces engaged in battle in 1900. The site has old trenches and a monument commemorating the event.
5. Travel to the Chelmsford Nature Reserve for a game drive and to picnic alongside the vast dam. Fishing is a popular pastime here with carp being the prized catch. Other forms of entertainment include swimming, sailing and water-skiing.
6. Newcastle hosts the annual Hot Air Balloon Championships and participants and photographers arrive en masse to enjoy the spectacular event. The Newcastle skies are filled with colour as the balloons cross over the town.
Newcastle has its own airport for light aircraft flights. The nearest international airport to Newcastle is OR Tambo International Airport approximately 300km away. A car can be hired at the airport or in in the town centre, otherwise order a rental online. Shuttle service companies and metered taxi companies are available to transport visitors between the airport and the town.
Did you know?
After being captured by the Boers during the South African War, Winston Churchill spent a night locked up in the Newcastle Armoury building, en route to a Pretoria POW camp. He was to later escape from the camp and make his way to safety in Mozambique.
Newcastle hosts an annual air show and thousands of spectators arrive for the event. The event happens at the Newcastle airport and the renowned Silver Falcons flying team are regular guests.