Mgungundlovu was the capital of the Zulu kingdom during the reign of King Dingane, from 1829 to 1838. Several such military settlements were established by King Dingane but he lived at Mgungundlovu.
Excavations have revealed much about the Royal homestead, its layout and construction. Mgungundlovu was roughly oval in shape and was about 500 metres wide and over 600 metres long. There were as many as 1700 huts, and the settlement could accommodate up to 7000 people.
The uhlangoti (warriors’ living quarters) was divided, by the main entrance, into two sections that formed the sides of the oval while the Royal area was situated at the top of the oval opposite the entrance. The vast central area was used as a cattle enclosure and like the rest of the camp was surrounded by palisade fencing made of thick timber.
There were also areas for grain storage, brewing of beer and a smelting area for working copper.
King Dingane’s hut, said to be the largest ever built, was located in the isigodlo (royal area) and had a diameter of 10 metres. Excavations have revealed charcoal remains of the supporting structure and the molten remains of the glass beads that decorated the interior.
After defeat at the Battle of Ncome (Blood River) King Dingane had Mgungundlovu burned to the ground and fled the area.