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uMgungundlovu was the royal capital of the Zulu king Dingane (1828–1840) and one of several military complexes (amakhanda) which he maintained. He established his royal kraal in 1829 in the eMakhosini valley against Lion hill (Singonyama), just south of the White Umfolozi River.

The name uMgungundlovu stems from the Zulu word or phrase ungungu we ndlovu, which means "the secret conclave of the elephant". Some sources also refer to uMgungundlovu as "the place of the elephant". The word indlovu (elephant) refers to the king of the Zulu people.