KwaZulu-Natal with its subtropical coastline flowing with the warm waters of the Indian Ocean. The awsome grandeur of the Drakensberg mountain range in the west, to the wild game reserves in Zululand. From mountains and midlands to pristine beaches, its natural splendour combined with a rich culture and historical heritage.
KwaZulu-Natal province is located in the south-east of South Africa bordering the Indian Ocean. It also borders provinces of Eastern Cape, Free State and Mpumalanga provinces, as well as the countries of Lesotho, Swaziland and Mozambique. The ‘Garden Province’ of South Africa stretches from the lush subtropical east coast washed by the warm Indian Ocean, to the sweeping savanna in the east and the majestic Drakensberg Mountain Range in the west.
It covers an area of 94 361km², the third-smallest in the country, and has a population of 11 065 240, making it the second most populous province in South Africa. The capital is Pietermaritzburg. The largest city is Durban.
KwaZulu-Natal is regarded as the Zulu kingdom, for it is home to this mighty African tribe. The nation is highly regarded for its military tactics, introduced by King Shaka and successfully employed in wars against the Boers (Dutch-speaking farmers) and British. Ample opportunities exist for visitors to immerse themselves in the Zulu culture at villages around the province, while extensive battlefields tourism routes bring these Zulu-Boer-British wars to life.
KwaZulu-Natal’s cultural heritage also includes the San (Bushmen), with tens of thousands of San rock paintings to be seen in the uKhahlamba-Drakensberg mountains. These exquisite mountains are a World Heritage Site and a major leisure attraction, offering walks, hikes and adventure activities. They house the Ukhahlamba-Drakensberg National Park with its abundant biodiversity, including 300 bird species and 48 mammal species.
The province’s manufacturing sector is the largest in terms of contribution to GDP. Agriculture is also central to the economy. The sugar cane plantations along the coastal belt are the mainstay of KwaZulu-Natal’s agriculture. The coastal belt is also a large producer of subtropical fruit, while the farmers inland concentrate on vegetable, dairy and stock farming. Another source of income is forestry in the areas around Vryheid, Eshowe, Richmond, Harding and Ngome.
Zulu is widely spoken in KwaZulu-Natal. English is the administrative language and is spoken and understood by the majority people as well. Xhosa and Afrikaans are also commonly spoken languages in KwaZulu-Natal.
This historic Zulu kingdom is steeped in history and culture, from ancient San Bushmen rock to a living museum in Hluhluwe where traditional Zulu dancing and craftwork are demonstrated. The remnants of the British colonial era blend with Zulu, Indian and Afrikaans traditions to give this province a rich cultural diversity.
Abundant wildlife can be experienced along the Elephant Coast to the north of Durban. iSimangaliso Wetland Park forest and wetland habitats on the other, visitors can canoe, trek, fish and wander along stunning beaches in search of leatherback turtles, dolphins and whales. Inland at Phinda Mkuze, a private game reserve, you can stay in luxurious safari camps and see all the Big Five as well as a host of other wildlife including wild dogs. Hluhluwe-Imfolozi National Park is the oldest proclaimed game reserve in Africa and it hosts the Big 5.
Beautiful beaches stretch every which way from the gateway city of Durban and, being on the Indian Ocean coast, the added benefit is that the water is actually warm while shark nets and lifeguards ensure that time in the water surfing and swimming is spent safely.
No trip to KwaZulu Natal would be complete without a stay in the Battlefields. An area made famous by the Anglo-Boer Wars. The quiet hills now ring with narrations of South Africa’s bloodiest chapter in history, of the struggle at Isandlwana where the British were defeated by the Zulu in 1879 and then just days later how the British defended Rorke’s Drift so gallantly.
Durban Airport provides easy access to the north and south coasts, as well as to midlands area. The battlefields and Drakensberg are a drive of about four to five hours from Durban. Richards Bay Airport should be considered by those wishing to visit the game parks of northern KwaZulu Natal. There are several daily flights from Johannesburg to both of these airports.
Traveling overland from Johannesburg to Durban is a drive of about seven to eight hours with one or two stops. It is recommended that those choosing this option should consider overnighting in the northern Drakensberg, which lies roughly halfway between Johannesburg and Durban.
Weather & Best Time To Visit
KwaZulu-Natal is an all-year-round destination, due to its warm climate. The coastal regions have hot, humid summers with high rainfall. Inland, summers are warm and winters mild, while around the Drakensberg mountains, winters are cold with frequent snowfalls. The beaches of the province are popular during the spring, summer and autumn months from September to the end of April.
Malaria is endemic to northern KwaZulu Natal, and it is advisable to consult your physician about anti-malaria prophylactics that will be suitable for you.
Health & Safety
Crime remains a challenge in this province and therefore visitors need put the necessary safeguards as they would if visiting a big city. It is recommended that visitors check with their Guide or establishment on the areas to avoid or appropriate precaution to be exercised.
If you are travelling on a private overland tour in KwaZulu-Natal, it will be in an air-conditioned vehicle that may differ subject on the size of the touring group. All our vehicles are comfortable and comply to stringent safety standards.
If you opt to stay at one of the private game reserves in the province, like Mkuze or Phinda, game drives are performed on open-air 4×4 vehicles, that have been purposely adapted for the difficult terrain.
What are the best Destinations for a beach vacation?
This opinion is quite debatable as influences such as price, hype and personal preference are key considerations. Upmarket Umhlanga and Ballito just north of Durban offer good beaches and, Margate in the south coast is also beautiful.
Which Game Parks offer the finest Safari in KZN?
If your intent is to stay in a national park camp, Hluhluwe-iMfolozi’s is the best game park and you are guaranteed to see the Rhino.
Are there any good diving spots in KwaZulu-Natal?
There are several diving spots in KwaZulu-Natal, namely, Mabibi and it’s surrounds, Sodwana Bay, Sodwana Bay, Aliwal Showal, Protea Banks.
What family activities are available in the Drakensburg?
These are several activities on offer and most well-liked are hiking, horse riding, quad biking, fly fishing, paint ball and leisure sports like tennis and badminton.
Is Malaria a concern?
KwaZulu-Natal is malaria low risk area. Malaria medication is not necessary for 90% of KwaZulu-Natal precaution may be prudent if you will be visiting St Lucia, Hluhluwe and Kosi Bay.
Should I opt for self-drive or guided holiday when visiting KZN?
Self-drive holidays may be more rationally priced but will not offer as far-reaching and fulfilling an experience.
Who should consider a battlefields tour?
Anyone with an intense curiosity in history and the way in which military conclusions have shaped some of the major events in South Africa will find a tour of the battlefields most gratifying and insightful.
Will there be Wifi and mobile phone coverage?
The far northern parts of the province are problematic on signal reception. For the most part, the answer would be yes, the exception being the far northern parts of the province like Thembe Elephant Park.
Will I have mobile reception and reception and access to the internet?
Yes, and Wife is free with most of the lodges.
A typical overland safari led and performed by aa tourAfrika guide. You will kick-off in Ithala Game Reserve in Natal afterwards you head-off to Hluhluwe-iMfolozi and, concluding with the Kruger National Park – South Africa’s …
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