South Africa’s third-smallest province, KwaZulu-Natal, is also one of its most exciting – it has a wealth of scenic and cultural attractions that include the country’s most developed beaches south and north of Durban (the third-largest city in South Africa), as well as isolated, almost untouched beaches; world-famous game reserves; two UNESCO World Heritage Sites; and some of the South Africa’s most famous historic battlefields.
Overview of KwaZulu-Natal
Although the richly diverse province of KwaZulu-Natal, which stretches along the warm Indian Ocean from Port Edward in the south to Swaziland and Mozambique in the north, has always been a favourite domestic holiday destination, it’s only more recently that international visitors have discovered its abundant attractions.
In the west of the province you’ll find South Africa’s most magnificent mountains, the Drakensberg, in the uKhahlamba-Drakensberg Park, a World Heritage Site.
Inland, the KwaZulu-Natal Midlands offer a lush, green countryside brimming with historical little towns, attractive country hotels and irresistible craft routes. KwaZulu-Natal is also where battles that captured the world’s attention took place in the 1800s and early 1900s, when Boers and Brits battled Zulus, and Boers battled Brits.
The coast, which has a subtropical climate all year round, is home to Durban, South Africa’s chief port, a fascinating mix of British, Indian and Zulu cultures. Expect palm trees, the best Indian curries in the country, beautifully preserved Victorian buildings, bustling markets, great shopping and a glitzy beachfront.
In the interior, north of Durban, among other smaller game parks and superb private Big Five game reserves, is the iconic Hluhluwe-iMfolozi Park (Hluhluwe is pronounced ‘sh – shloo – ee’) – your best chance of spotting black and white rhino.
Further north up the coast is the iSimangaliso Wetland Park, a UNESCO World Heritage Site because of its ecosystems that brim with game and marine life.
Apart from so much to see, there’s so much to do: hiking; rock climbing; horse riding; swimming; snorkelling; scuba diving (some of the best sites in the world); turtle spotting; fishing; whale watching; visiting famous battlefields and rock art sites (also some of the best in the world), which offer insight into the culture and spiritual beliefs of South Africa’s earliest people, the San; game viewing; interacting with authentic Zulu culture – and so much more.
The province has an excellent infrastructure, with good roads, fine accommodation and a wide selection of restaurants. Its main airport is King Shaka International Airport, about 30km north of Durban.