KwaZulu-Natal

South Africa’s most ecologically diverse province, KwaZulu-Natal is flanked by two vast and very different but equally important and alluring UNESCO World Heritage Sites: the lush subtropical Indian Ocean coastline protected within iSimangaliso Wetland Park and the lofty 3,000-plus metre peaks of the hiker-friendly uKhahlamba-Drakensberg.

KwaZulu-Natal_iSimangaliso snorkelling Snorkelling in the temperate waters of iSimangaliso Wetland Park, which offers visitors a variety of landscapes to explore both on land and underwater

Other attractions include the seaside city of Durban, the countless smaller beach resorts that flank it on either side, the top-notch Big Five game-viewing offered at the likes of Hluhluwe-Imfolozi and Phinda Game Reserves, and a wealth of historical and cultural sites associated with the Zulu nation for which the province is named.

KwaZulu-Natal_Durban The beautiful coastline of Durban

Highlights

South Africa’s third largest city, the vibrant port of Durban stands at the hub of a 200 km stretch of Indian Ocean coastline endowed with an endless succession of perfect beaches.

A magnet for hikers and ramblers, the uKhahlamba-Drakensberg Park is a UNESCO World Heritage Site remarkable not only for its scenic beauty, but also for its botanical diversity, wealth of endemic birds, and prehistoric rock art dating back up to 3,000 years.

KwaZulu-Natal_Drakensberg The Drakensberg is a hiking paradise | Credit: Places.co.za

KwaZulu-Natal’s most important Big Five destination, the 960 km2 Hluhluwe-Imfolozi Game Reserve was first accorded official protection in 1895, and formerly served as the royal hunting ground of King Shaka Zulu. The reserve has played a crucial role in the conservation of both African rhino species, and it now protects the world’s densest population of these endangered creatures. Other prominent residents include elephant, buffalo, giraffe, zebra, impala, nyala, greater kudu, warthog and to a lesser extent lion and leopard. From mid-March to mid-December, four-night wilderness trails lead through a 300 km2 area closed to vehicular traffic.

KwaZulu-Natal_Hluhluwe-Imfolozi Game Reserve Hluhluwe-Imfolozi Game Reserve is an important conservation area, with a healthy population of African wild dogs

Another UNESCO World Heritage Site, the coastal iSimangaliso Wetland Park incorporates five separate Ramsar Wetlands and a checklist of more than 2,000 vertebrate species, more than any other African conservation area.

The Dhlinza Forest Reserve, bordering the small town of Eshowe, protects the country’s most accessible patch of mistbelt forest. Home to the diminutive Blue duiker and an interesting selection of forest birds, it is traversed by a 125 m aerial boardwalk that terminates at a tall tower offering grandstand views to the Indian Ocean.

KwaZulu-Natal_Dhlinza Forest Reserve The Dhlinza Forest Reserve is home to many indigenous trees and offers a fairy-tale experience for hikers | Credit: Biotree.earth

Sleepy Howick overlooks the spectacular 95m-high Howick Falls and offers access to the Karkloof Nature Reserve, which protects the country’s largest remaining stand of mist-belt forest. It is also the focal point of the Midlands Meander, which comprises a few dozen loosely-affiliated cottage industries ranging art and pottery studios to craft workshops and cheese producers. An imaginative sculpture comprising 50 steel columns marks the out-of-town Nelson Mandela Capture Site, the place where its namesake was arrested for anti-apartheid activities in 1962.

The showy but exuberant cultural program at Shakaland provides an informative and enjoyable introduction to the culture of the province’s numerically dominant Zulu people.

KwaZulu-Natal_Shakaland Shakaland celebrates the Zulu culture. Visitors can learn about traditional ways of life at this cultural centre | Credit: Robert Harding

The 250 km2 eMakhosini Heritage Park protects the Zulu ‘Valley of Kings’ and includes such cultural landmarks such as King Shaka’s Grave, the reconstructed residence of King Dingane, and the Hill of Execution where the voortrekker party led by Piet Retief was slaughtered. It is also home to rhinos and other typical Zululand wildlife.

The so-called Battlefields Route through the province’s northern interior comprises a number of important sites associated with what was the 19th-century Zulu-Boer and Anglo-Zulu Wars, and Anglo-Boer War of 1899-1902. These include Blood River, Isandlwana, Rorke’s Drift and Spionkop Hill.

The inland city of Pietermaritzburg, founded in 1838 as part of a short-lived Boer Republic called Natalia, has been the provincial capital since 1843. Its pedestrian-friendly CBD contains several well-preserved Victorian buildings, among them the redbrick City Hall, the Railway Station, the former Supreme Court (now the Tatham Art Gallery) and the Voortrekker Msunduzi Museum.

Practical information

KwaZulu-Natal_Hartford House Kwazulu-Natal offers a variety of accommodations to suit any budget | Credit: Hartford House

  • The main air gateway to KwaZulu-Natal is King Shaka International Airport, which lies 35 km north of the central Durban. It is connected to Johannesburg, Cape Town and many other large centres by several daily flights.

  • An alternative port of entry for the northern part of the province is Richards Bay, which is connected by daily scheduled flights to Johannesburg, and lies about one hour’s drive southwest of iSimangaliso’s St Lucia Village or Hluhluwe-Imfolozi. The usual car rental agencies are available at both airports, and airport shuttles and taxis are available to get you to Durban or elsewhere on the coast.

  • Travelling between Gauteng and Durban by road, the uKhahlamba-Drakensberg Park lies about halfway between the two and makes for an excellent place to break up the journey for a couple of nights. Hotels, B&Bs and backpacker hostels are plentiful in most parts if the province. The provincial conservation authority also operates an extensive network of affordable and comfortable rest camps set in its various reserves.


You might also like

Getting around in South Africa

A good network of domestic flights connects Johannesburg and Cape Town to other major cities such as Mbombela (for the Kruger Park), Durban, East London, Port Elizabeth and George (for the Garden Route). Trunks roads are all surfaced and well maintained, so self-drive is a straightforward option, provided you have a valid license. The usual international car rental companies are…

South Africa in February

Turtles begin to nest in February in iSimangaliso. You can track them on a turtle tour | Credit: Thonga Beach Lodge Johannesburg and the highveld is hot by day, warm at night and receives regular rainfall often in the form of afternoon thunderstorms. Cape Town and the Western Cape is hot and dry, cooling down at night. The Kruger Park and surrounds is very hot by day, warm at night…

The Panorama Route

The Panorama Route is a geological extension of the Drakensberg A popular add-on to Kruger safaris but also well worth exploring in its own right, the Panorama Route is a loose circuit of mostly natural attractions associated with the towering cliffs that divide the highveld around Sabie and Graskop from the lowveld of the Kruger Park and Mpumalanga’s provincial capital Mbombela…

Shopping in South Africa

The Waterfront shopping mall in Cape Town is set against the backdrop of Table Mountain and is one of the most visited malls in the country Johannesburg, Cape Town, Durban and other large cities are liberally dotted with shopping malls that typically contain several supermarkets and a plethora of other retail outlets selling the sort of goods you’d expect in similar establishments in…

City and bush safari holidays in South Africa

Cape Town by night | Credit: SA Visas No other country matches South Africa when it comes to offering a world-class city and bush holiday. Cape Town is quite simply the most beautiful city in Africa, and also arguably the best equipped when it comes to urban attractions such as museums, live music, restaurants and wine-tasting venues. Cape Town also offers access to some fabulous…

Luxury safari holiday in South Africa

The five-star Singita Lebombo in the Kruger is an example of safari luxury A must-for for anybody with a taste for bush luxury is a stay at one of the small and exclusive camps or lodges set in private reserves or concessions such as the Kruger concessions, Sabi Sand, Madikwe, Phinda and the vicinity of Addo Elephant National Park. Typically these lodges combine chic Africa-themed…

Popular South Africa Safaris

These popular itineraries can be customised to match your budget and travel dates

 | Sabi Sands & Madikwe Combo

Sabi Sands & Madikwe Combo

Our selection of South Africa's top safari lodges and game reserves are guaranteed to suit every taste and budget. Consider this exciting safari package...

 | 15-day Kruger, Cape Town, Mauritius Bush and Beach safari

15-day Kruger, Cape Town, Mauritius Bush and Beach safari

Spend your days discovering the fine beaches of Cape Town, enjoying the remarkably untamed wilderness of the Kruger National Park and swimming the pristine beaches of Mauritius....

 | South Africa and Mauritius Island Holiday

South Africa and Mauritius Island Holiday

South Africa has so much to offer, from spotting the elusive leopard, to exploring Johannesburg's historical sites. Include the tropical island of Mauritius for an even more unforgettable vacation....

 | Garden Route Adventure on a  Royal Enfield motorcycle

Garden Route Adventure on a Royal Enfield motorcycle

Experience the Cape and Garden Route in a thrilling motorcycle safari ...

 | Southern Africa safari adventure

Southern Africa safari adventure

Majestic wildlife and the riches of Africa. ...

Elephant on Game Drive | Cape Town & Kruger Luxury Safari

Cape Town and Kruger Luxury Safari

Combine Cape Town and the surrounding Cape Winelands with a safari in the Kruger National Park for a relaxing and exhilarating South African safari...

 | Cape Town, Winelands & Kruger Luxury Journey (SA 9 days)

Cape Town, Winelands and Kruger Park Journey

Experience Cape Town, the lush Cape Winelands and a safari in the Kruger National Park and you'll fall under South Africa's spell...

 | Sabi Sand Private Game Reserve and Okavango Delta safari

Sabi Sand Private Game Reserve and Okavango Delta Safari

Explore the famous reserve that offers exceptional game viewing and sight the elusive Sitatunga antelope...

 | South African holiday adventure

South African holiday adventure

Explore the southern-most city on the African continent, before jetting off to spot the Big Five...

Aerial View of Sun City | Sun City & Madikwe Luxury Safari (SA 6 days)

Sun City and Madikwe Luxury Safari

From Sun City's hedonistic pleasures to the majesty of nature at Madikwe Game Reserve, this journey combines the best of two very different worlds...

Ready to start your adventure?

Your tailor-made African holiday starts here...

How can we get hold of you?

How many people will be travelling?

Details

Please tell us more about your travel plans?


Discover Africa Group needs the contact information you provide to us to contact you about our products and services. You may unsubscribe from these communications at anytime. For information on how to unsubscribe, as well as our privacy practices and commitment to protecting your privacy, check out our Privacy Policy.

Submitting your inquiry

Thank you, your enquiry has been received

Thank you, your enquiry has been received

Reference:

 +27 21 422 3498
   discover.africa
    info@discoverafrica.com
    8AM - 5PM GMT+2