See Also: Mpumalanga | Western
Cape | Gauteng | North West Province | Eastern Cape | Northern Province
Washed by the warm waters of the Indian Ocean, KwaZulu-Natal (KZN)
with its subtropical coastline, sweeping savannah in the east and
magnificent Drakensberg mountain range in the west, generously caters
for just about every taste imaginable.
Known as the Kingdom of the Zulu, KwaZulu-Natal
is a melting pot of African, European and Indian cultures. This
province boasts two World Heritage Sites – the Greater St
Lucia Wetland Park and the Ukhahlamba Drakensberg Park. KZN offers
fantastic beaches, sunny weather, game parks, rolling green hills,
numerous sugar cane plantations and relics of the great battles
in South African history.
Traditionally, a popular holiday destination
for holiday-makers from other provinces flocking to its sandy shores
and wonderful surf, KwaZulu-Natal is South Africa’s busiest
local holiday destination.
KwaZulu-Natal forms South Africa’s east coast, stretching
from Port Edward in the south, to the Mozambique boundary, in the
north.From its early days, the province has been the scene of many
fierce battles - being the bone of contention between the Zulus and
the Voortrekkers; the British Empire and Boer settlers (Anglo-Boer
War); the Zulus and the British Empire. KwaZulu-Natal has the
largest population in the country with some nine million people living
on 92 100 km2 of land. Seventy-five per cent of its inhabitants
are black, mainly Zulu-speakers. Some 15 per cent of the population
are Indian, while white people make up the remainder.
The KwaZulu coast has one of the greatest
harbours on the African continent, Durban, which geographically
divides the North and South Coasts. Visitors to KwaZulu-Natal
can either disembark at Durban International Airport or the Durban
harbour, or make use of the extensive national road network.
KwaZulu-Natal is known to be a province that experiences
eternal summer, although temperatures do differ from region to region.
This province has a tropical climate and rainfall is generous during
the summer months. During the Christmas holiday season, it can get
extremely hot and humid along the coastline, although temperatures
are milder as one moves inland.
Durban enjoys an average temperature of around 27 degrees C (81
degrees F) during the month of January, and a daily maximum of roughly
22 degrees C during July.
Bustling Durban is the hub of
the province’s business
and industry and pulses with all the energy of a major port city. Luxury
hotels abound on Durban’s beachfront, and this city is often
referred to as South Africa’s Miami Beach.Durban is one of
the fastest-growing urban areas in the world. Its port is the busiest
in South Africa and also one of the 10 largest in the world.
Pietermaritzburg has a strong colonial heritage, however,
this vibrant town has a great mix of Indian, Zulu and English-speaking
people. The city is often referred to as the best-preserved Victorian
City in the country.
of South Africa’s best beaches can be found along
the Natal coastline, Umhlanga Rocks, Ballito, Shaka’s Rock,
Shelley Beach (on the North Coast), Uvongo and Margate (on the South
coast) – to mention just a few. These beaches offer safe swimming
and fantastic surfing possibilities. Durban also boasts spectacular
beaches including Addington Beach, South and North beaches and Dairy
Grey Street is home to Durban’s Indian district and
is the best place to enjoy spicy local food. Here, you will find
the Juma Musjid Mosque and its gilt-domed minarets (1927) – the
largest mosque in the southern hemisphere. Wander around the area
and the bazaars and buy some of the incredible spices and textiles
in the province from local Indian vendors.
An eco-tourism wonderland of beautiful
lakes, swamps, forests and marshlands surrounding the estuary of
Lake St Lucia. This area was declared as one of South Africa’s first World Heritage
Sites – and is no doubt one of the most beautiful wetlands
areas in the world. Some of South Africa's best-protected indigenous
coastal forests are found here at Dukuduku and Kosi Bay. Countless
species of animals including hippo, crocodiles and elephant, as well
as abundant plant and sea-life are found in this sub-tropical eco-system.
The Ukhahlamba-Drakensberg Park
was declared a World Heritage Site in 2000. This mountain wilderness,
bordering Lesotho, is a vast national park boasting the highest mountain
range in South Africa. Known to the Zulus as the `Barrier of Spears’, the Drakensberg
or `Dragon Mountains’ mountain range is truly spectacular.
Often referred to as Little Switzerland, this part of the world offers
spectacular waterfalls, mountain peaks and rock faces adorned with
San rock art. It is a favourite spot for hiking and fly-fishing.
KwaZulu-Natal is referred to as the Kingdom of the Zulus.
To the west of the Hluhluwe-Umfolozi Game reserves (150km north of
Ulundi), one can explore cultural museums that concentrate on local
history. Near Ondini, one can find the reconstructed royal enclosure
of Cetshwayo, the Zulu King. The fascinating Vukani Collection Museum
is found at Eshowe and boasts one of the best collections of Zulu
art and culture in the world. Shakaland and Gingindlovu are also
worth a visit.
Famous for its rhino conservation
programme and big five sightings, Hluhluwe-Umfolozi Park is the largest
of KZN’s reserves
and boasts a fantastic cross section of wildlife. Mkuzi and Ndomo
game reserves are also popular, and walking safaris in these reserves
Some of the best diving and snorkelling
opportunities in South Africa are on offer in Sodwana – a veritable
mecca for those who love underwater adventure. The area is also famous
for big-game fishing.
A number of Battlefield tours
are on offer in KZN where some of South Africa’s most turbulent
wars took place. The interior, north of the Tugela River, marks the
spot of gruesome battles between Boers and Zulus, British and Zulus
and, of course, the Boers and the British.
Visit the place where Mahatma
Gandhi developed his philosophy of passive resistance. Visit Ohlange,
the school founded by the president of the ANC – John Dube – or
visit the Inanda Seminary, home to the largest Shembe church in the
province (two million members).
The Midlands Meander is picture
postcard country. The
rolling green hills of the midlands are home to English-style country
inns, guesthouses and quaint bed and breakfast establishments. The
area is known for its polo clubs, delightful restaurants and a marvellous
One of the most picturesque drives
in the world is just 45km from Durban, known as the Valley of a Thousand
Hills. It is in these hills that Zulu people still live in their
traditional huts, the views are breathtaking – to be savoured
KwaZulu-Natal boasts a wide range
of markets, craft shops and galleries where one can purchase the
finest Zulu crafts. Traditional baskets, woven beer strainers, Zulu
drums, shields and assegais, beadwork, pottery and regalia -
all can be purchased at reasonable prices.
The South Coast sees the incredible annual migration of
sardines, once a year. Shoals of sardines can be seen in their feeding
frenzy as they move from the Natal South Coast to Mozambique. The
sardine run is always followed by dolphins, sharks and game fish.
The Oribi Gorge Nature Reserve is a wonderfully scenic area
offering excellent hiking opportunities. The area boasts cliffs and
forests and spectacular hiking trails and picnic sites. Wildlife
in the Oribi Gorge consists of many antelope, although the oribi
(after which the gorge is named) is rarely seen.
The coastline from Port Shepstone
to Port Edward has been called the Hibiscus Coast because of its
lush gardens, luxury suburban homes, beach-side cottages and friendly
caravan parks. The area is known for fantastic beaches as well as
golfing opportunities. This is real bucket-and-spade country – with
the towns of Margate and Uvongo being firm favourites.
The glorious Dolphin Coast stretches
from Umhlanga Rocks, north of Durban, to the mouth of the Tugela
River. The area boasts wide beaches and the warm ocean is the perfect
playground for dolphins. The main holiday resorts consist of Ballito,
Salt Rock and Umhlanga Rocks – all three offer five star hotels,
however, self-catering accommodation is a firm favourite amongst