THE "KOP" (PINNACLE or HEAD)
The ‘Kop’ has long been a well-known landmark in the area (Ntunjambili) with it’s trademark rounded cliff face rising 800m (2000ft) from the valley of the Tugela (Thukela) River below. The distinctive "head" stands like a lone sentinel at the end of a narrow grassy ridge, which extends from the surrounding plateaux. Not only is this formidable pinnacle of weathered sandstone home to the Natal/Zululand Cycad (Encephalartos ferox), but also several species of bird life (Black Eagles, kestrels, falcons and rock pigeons) and the ubiquitous ‘dassie’ (hyrax).
The remaining arch of the bridge is approximately 20m below the level of the bluff, which is split in half from north to south, with a rock chimney (about 1m wide and 30m deep but partially filled with rubble). On a clear day, one can see as far as the sea and Eshowe to the east, and westwards to the Drakensberg Mountains.
The Secret or Legend of Ntunjambili
According to Greytown Museum records, the ‘area has an interesting history’ which is told in the words of Mr GM Tatham. (The Journal of the Mountain Club of South Africa. 1960)
In the days before Chaka (Shaka ka Zenzagakona), there lived a tribe ... in the Mapumulo Valley, to the south of Kranskop. During a period of famine, a tribe of cannibals from Msinga (to the north) moved into the area in search of food. Over a period of time the local tribe was wiped out, except for the Chief’s son and his bride who knew the secret of Ntunjambili ... (which was)...to approach the ‘Kop’ on the southern side and sing a special song, whereupon the whole ‘Kop’ split in half, opening a way through the rock massto a normally inaccessible cave on the northern side.
This couple lived there for some time, going out only to get water and what provisions they could find. The cannibals, angered at being cheated of their prey, set watch to discover the secret. One day the watch was rewarded- they heard the special song :-
Ilitsha li ka Ntunjambili, Ilitsha li ka Ntunjambili
Ngivulele ngingene, Alivulwanga abantu
Zona zindiza phezulu, Ngibulele ngingene.
Rock of two arches, Rock of two arches
Open and let me in. It is not opened by man
It is opened by the swallows, Those that fly above
Open and let me in.
The song was sung, the Kop opened. The cannibals, fearing that the crack would close, threw in boulders to ... (keep) it open. They then entered the cave and ate the young chief and his bride before returning to Msinga, where they remained till Chaka (Shaka) destroyed them.
Tradition also has it, that the pinnacle was first climbed by a British officer while encamped there during the Anglo Zulu War (1878 - 1879). He is reported to have left his shirt hanging on a tree as ‘proof of his achievement’.