The KwaZulu Natal Province, South Africa

KwaZulu Natal's leisure options provide a multitude of choices to keep you endlessly entertained. From the city of Durban you can catch a shuttle to Margate, at the hub of the South Coast Golf Circuit. When you're not playing golf, fishing or lying on the beach, you can visit a crocodile farm, a nature reserve or follow an arts and crafts trail.

A short flight takes you to the historic city of Pietermaritzburg, gateway to the Natal Midlands and the charming Drakensberg resorts. No holiday in KwaZulu Natal would be complete without a visit to at least one of the KwaZulu Natal game reserves, renowned throughout the world.

Did you know? 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 iSimangaliso Wetland Park and the majestic Ukhahlamba-Drakensberg Park.

Appropriately enough, the Zulu name for Durban is Thekwini, meaning "The Place Where the Earth and the Ocean Meet". Apart from an effervescent ocean lined with golden beaches, KwaZulu Natal's capital city, Durban, offers a subtropical carnival atmosphere and summer sunshine all year round. From around the globe, day in, day out, pleasure-seekers converge on the city to play on the golden, palm-fringed sands. In addition to the attractions of sea, surf and sport, leisure options encompass an eclectic range.

At excellent one-stop shopping centres, you can buy anything from photographic equipment to couturier clothes and rare antiques. Flea markets and craft trails attract leisurely browsers, and discount stores offer quality merchandise at bargain basement prices. Within a stone's throw of the city centre, oriental bazaars, fragrant with spice and incense, offer silks, saris, unusual jewellery and ornaments.

Did you know? KwaZulu Natal also caters for a wide spectrum of travellers and businessmen and the top hotels in KwaZulu Natal compare very favourably with the best hotels and resorts in the world. You will find an extensive selection of places to stay at KwaZulu Natal accommodation and KwaZulu Natal Self Catering.

Theatres and concert halls present classical, avant-garde and ethnic programmes, and art galleries display works created by the internationally famous and up-and-coming local talents. KwaZulu Natal's restaurants represent every facet of the city's cosmopolitan nature and cater for every palate and pocket. At the end of the day, what could be better that strolling on the beach to the rhythm of the waves?

Throughout the year, holiday-makers flock to their favourite KwaZula Natal coastal haunts to cultivate a tan, ride the waves, eat, drink and generally have fun. Besides the sweeping beaches and calm lagoons where surfing, snorkelling, fishing and swimming are enjoyed, you can play golf, bowls and tennis or just soak up the sun. From Durban to Amanzimtoti, Ballito to Umhlanga Rocks, to the rugged Wild Coast, the highway links popular seaside resorts in rapid succession. The road snakes through subtropical bush, cane fields and hills garlanded with hibiscus blooms. North of Durban, the coastline stretching from the Tugela Mouth to the Umdloti River is aptly known as the Dolphin Coast. Close inshore, shoals of bottle-nose dolphins gambol in the waves, providing endless entertainment with their engaging antics.

Arguably the gem of the entire Natal North Coast is the Umhlanga Coastline. The Umhlanga Coast offers a combination of quiet village life with first world amenities and a cosmopolitan buzz. It also offers a diversity of activities in exotic and magnificent landscapes. Popular towns here include Umhlanga and Umdloti, a favourite holiday haunt with the locals.

Further north, KwaZulu Natal's game sanctuaries epitomise the best of the African wilderness. This is one of the few places where good game viewing can be enjoyed in close proximity to the pleasures of scuba diving and deep-sea fishing. Habitats from coastal dune forests to open bushveld support a wide diversity of wildlife, from the elephant to the tiny suni. Bird life is equally prolific. Most parks offer peaceful surroundings, comfortable or luxury game lodges, game drives, hiking and walking safaris.

The Elephant Coast forms the north-east region of South Africa's unique KwaZulu Natal Province, stretching northward from Lake St Lucia (a world heritage site), to the borders of Swaziland and Mozambique. The region is so named because it is home to South Africa's largest herd of indigenous African Elephants.

Between the coastal playgrounds and the majestic Drakensberg, there is an area of gentle pastoral beauty known as the Natal Midlands. The highway meanders through rolling wooded hills and grassy plains scattered with towns, villages and hospitable country inns. On lush farmlands, plump cattle and thoroughbred horses graze and game sanctuaries throughout the region support large numbers and varieties of wildlife.

Nestling in the valleys, fine hotels and leisure resorts offer accommodation and recreational options second to none. Fast-flowing rivers are frequented by anglers hoping for a record-breaking rainbow trout. Climbers scale the jagged peaks where eagles and bearded vultures fly; hikers and horse-riders follow nature trails. The less energetic shrug off city stress by drinking in the birdsong, the crisp clean air and the stunning views.

Set in the heart of Zulu country, the city of Pietermaritzburg is one of charm and dignity, at its loveliest in spring when masses of azaleas burst into bloom. When the first Voortrekkers arrived in 1837, they found a tranquil countryside graced by forests, hills and valleys. They settled on a fertile tract of land beside the Umsindusi River and named it after two of their leaders, Gerrit Maritz and Piet Retief.

Six years later, the British upgraded the village to a military garrison town. Today, numerous Victorian and Edwardian buildings, quaint pedestrian lanes and other landmarks reflect the substantial British contribution to the development of the town. And in shady, tree-lined suburbs, spacious red brick bungalows and upper-crust boarding schools reinforce the colonial ambience of "The Last Outpost of the British Empire" as Maritzburg is affectionately known.

The city of Pietermaritzburg has a wide range of shops, Pietermaritzburg hotels and restaurants, providing the ideal gateway to the exceptional country inns, recreational resorts and game reserves of the Natal Midlands and the Drakensberg.

KwaZulu Natal as a destination

Must See in KwaZulu Natal

National Parks / Nature Reserves / World Heritage Sites

Ukhahlamba Drakensberg Park

The Ukhahlamba Drakensberg Park has exceptional natural beauty in its soaring basaltic buttresses, incisive dramatic cutbacks, and golden sandstone ramparts. Rolling high altitude grasslands, the pristine steep sided river valleys and rocky gorges also ...

Birdlife or Wildlife Sanctuaries / Game Reserves / Lakes / Dams / National Parks / Nature Reserves / World Heritage Sites

iSimangaliso Wetland Park

Now known as the iSimangaliso Wetland Park, St Lucia Wetland Park lies on the north eastern edge of KwaZulu-Natal. The incredibly beautiful series of beaches, coral reefs, lakes, swamps, wetlands, woodlands, coastal forests and grasslands that stretch ...

Game Reserves

Hluhluwe-iMfolozi Park

The Hluhluwe-iMfolozi Park is the only park under formal conservation in KwaZulu Natal where the Big Five occur. Established in 1895, this is the oldest game park in South Africa along with nearby St Lucia Reserve. Set in the heart of Zululand this is ...

National Parks / Nature Reserves

Sodwana Bay National Park

The small Sodwana Bay National Park consists of a narrow coastal strip of forest covered sand dunes. Sodwana Bay National Park was proclaimed in 1950 and is an angler’s paradise. Sodwana is a fairly remote area but people travel a long way to drive along ...

Nature Reserves

Oribi Gorge Nature Reserve

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 ...

Popular Tourist Routes

Midlands Meander

The enchantment of the Midlands has long inspired many a visitor and resident to creativity and as a result, local artists, potters and weavers combined to create an arts and crafts route in 1985, which was to become the highly successful and popular ...

Popular Tourist Routes

Valley of 1000 Hills Route

The Valley of 1000 Hills Route is one of KwaZulu Natal's best kept secrets. The Valley of a 1000 Hills forms around the majestic valley created by the Mngeni River and it's tributaries. Many artists and crafters have been attracted to the beauty and ...

Entertainment / Miscellaneous

uShaka Marine World

uShaka Marine World in Durban is a world-class entertainment and tourism destination. At the end of Durban's Golden Mile is the beginning of uShaka Marine World - spanning over 15 hectares of prime beach front, uShaka Marine World is Africa's largest ...

2010 Stadiums

Moses Mabhida Stadium

Durban is one of South Africa’s most significant metropolises, and the proud home of the Moses Mabhida Stadium. Named after one of the most dedicated freedom fighters of the apartheid regime, this has been voted the most popular stadium ...

Botanical Gardens

Pietermaritzburg Botanical Gardens

One of ten national botanical gardens, Pietermaritzburg's Botanical Gardens occupy an ancient floodplain and hillside on the edge of a mist belt that creates an atmosphere, on days when the mists roll in, something like that of a Dickens novel. The city ...

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