KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa, 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.
This mountainous terrain gives way to the rolling hills of the midlands where you can indulge in the treats of the famous Midlands Meander. This tourism route features almost 200 destinations, focused around the arts, crafts and cultures of this region
Travel through the beautiful Valley of a Thousands Hills to Pietermaritzburg and Durban, where you can uncover the liberation efforts of icons such as Nelson Mandela and Mahatma Gandhi on the Freedom Route.
From Durban, the province's 'capital' and home to a rich Indian culture, explore the beautiful coastline with its pristine beaches, from Port Edward in the south to Kosi Bay in the north.
The north is also home to birding hotspot, Zululand; the Greater St Lucia Wetland Park, another World Heritage Site; and several game reserves such as the Hluhluwe-Imfolozi Game Reserve on the Elephant Coast.
Travel tips & Planning info
Who to contact
How to get here
Fly from any of South Africa’s major cities to King Shaka International Airport. If you’re driving, from Johannesburg take the N3 freeway direct to Durban. From Cape Town, take the N2 freeway to Durban.
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.
Around the area
Midlands Meander in the Natal Midlands; uKhahlamba-Drakensberg; Aliwal Shoal, Oribi Gorge and Lighthouse Tours on the South Coast; uShaka Marine World in Durban; rickshaw ride on Durban beachfront; iSimangaliso Wetland Park; bird watching in Zululand; game reserves of the Elephant Coast; the Battlefields routes; Natal Sharks Board; Freedom Route; Indian heritage tour.
How to get around
Splashy Fen Music Festival in the Drakensberg in April; Fort Nottingham Highland Gathering in the Natal Midlands in May; annual sardine run in May (check); Midlands Meander Slow Food Festival in the Natal Midlands in June; Durban July Horse Race in Durban during July; International Film Festival in Durban during July/August.
Where to stay
The region offers a full range of accomodation from backpackers and B&B's to hotels and guest houses.
What to eat
Famous Durban curries and bunny chow (a bread and curry dish); traditional Zulu fare at cultural villages; traditional South African cuisine at the game reserves.
Everything Indian including spices at the Victoria Street Market; Zulu crafts and artwork at the Durban Beachfront Market and at cultural villages around the province; local art, crafts and homemade goodies on the Midlands Meander.