KwaZulu-Natal

Introduction

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.

Top attractions

Golden beaches and year-round sunshine

Choose one of Durban’s popular beaches with amenities galore plus superb surfing, or make your way north to the Dolphin or Elephant coasts, or south to the Hibiscus Coast and Golf Coast. Wherever you find sand and sea, though, you’re almost guaranteed good weather. Sodwana Bay is a diving and fishing mecca.

Game parks

KwaZulu-Natal’s game parks, although not so well known internationally and much smaller in scale than the Kruger National Park, are nonetheless teeming with game. Hluhluwe-iMfolozi – only a 20th the size of its big brother – seems wilder and freer in some ways, chiefly because, other than its award-winning Hilltop Camp, none of the smaller camps are fenced off. There are also superb private game reserves such as Phinda (Pinda) Private Game Reserve.

The Drakensberg mountains

This magnificent mountain range, the largest part of which is in KwaZulu-Natal, borders the tiny mountain kingdom of Lesotho and stretches from KwaZulu-Natal’s south-west right up to the Kruger National Park. The entire mountain range traverses the Eastern Cape, Mpumalanga and ends in Limpopo. It’s home to some of the finest and most accessible rock art in the world.

Battlefields

This is the province where major South African battles took place: the Battle of Blood River; the Battle of Isandlwana; the Battle of Rorke’s Drift; and major battles of the two Anglo-Boer Wars.

iSimangaliso Wetland Park

South Africa's first natural World Heritage Site and third-largest park stretches from Mapelane (Cape St Lucia) in the south to Kosi Bay in the north, along about 220km of untouched coastline. It is home to astounding beauty, five interlinking ecosytems, game, coral reefs and hundreds of species of birds.

Zulu cultural villages

A visit to an authentic Zulu village is often a highlight. Shakaland, north of Durban and Eshowe, was built as a film set in the 1980s. It’s a fun experience where you can join in the sensational tribal dancing, eat local food, buy curios and stay overnight. At Simunye Zulu Lodge, also north of Durban, near Melmoth, you may well become part of a genuine local wedding or other local ceremony.

  • Although Durban is the most popular and well-known city in KwaZulu-Natal, Pietermaritzburg is the capital.