Situated a few kilometres outside of the town of Ulundi, Ondini was the site of King Cetshwayo’s Royal residence. Today part of the residence has been reconstructed and there is a site museum.
During King Mpande’s reign, two of his sons, Cetshwayo and Mbuyazi, fought the bloodiest battle in Zulu history to settle a succession dispute. At the battle of Ndodakusuka, Mbuyazi was killed and Cetshwayo became sole heir to the throne. When Mpande died in 1872, Cetshwayo became King of the Zulus and built Ondini, which means "high place".
Ondini was built in the oval shape of Zulu capitals before it. A unique feature was a western style four-corner house within the isigodlo (royal enclosure) that served as a House of State.
In 1879 British forces set fire to Ondini, heat from the fire baked the floors of the huts preserving them. Tradition forbids the re-use of royal ground so the Ondini site was virtually untouched until archeological and restoration work was started in 1981.