With a mind-blowing world of attractions and scenic landscapes playing out over KwaZulu Natal’s (KZN) three distinctive geographical regions, it’s sometimes difficult to know where to begin!
But, for a starting point, it’s hard to look past KZN’s jewel of a coastline. A magnificent stretch of Blue-Flag beaches, surf spots, resorts and bustling holiday towns along the tropical to sub-tropical east coast, where a year-long holiday atmosphere attracts tourists from all over the world. Among KZN’s coastal treasures, is Durban, the Indian influenced harbour city and the sun, fun and entertainment capital of the province.
Moving inland, roads tumble and twist through the “Land of a thousand hills” all the way into peaceful the KZN Midlands, where the never-ending procession of lush hills is dotted with villages, artist retreats, cool streams, plump cattle as well as world-class nature reserves.
Further west KZN meets the Great Escarpment in the form of the Drakensberg Mountains. An unbelievable prehistoric geographic formation and UNESCO World Heritage Site, its gorges, rivers, rock pools, peaks and caves are the backdrop to unreal hiking experiences and the canvas for one of the largest collections of ancient rock art in the world.
KZN offers travellers a chance to immerse themselves in the culture of the proud Zulu people and delve into the history and stories of the mighty empire that held power in these parts in the 18th and 19th centuries. The province is a history lover’s dream, with several Anglo-Zulu and South African war battlefields and other amazing heritage attractions like the striking and memorable memorial at the Nelson Mandela capture site.
Durban City Tour
Experience and explore Durban’s unique blend of laid-back beach life, exciting urban city vibes and the flavours and energy of its diverse people on an all-day city tour. Durban is without a doubt one of the country’s top destinations featuring some of the country’s finest beaches, trendy beach bars, restaurants, luxurious hotels, shopping, entertainment and a non-stop nightlife. This tour gives you a little taste of it all.
uShaka Marine World
One of Durban’s key attractions uShaka Marine World is a hub of day and night entertainment for all ages. It includes a unique view of life under the sea at Sea World, splashing into the pools, slides and rides of the Wet n Wild theme park, getting sand between your toes on the uShaka Beach or ending it off with food and festivities at the Village Walk.
Nelson Mandela Capture Site
An astounding monument that marks the spot where Nelson Mandela was finally captured by the Apartheid police in 1952, and the moment that symbolizes the beginning of his “Long Walk to Freedom”. The centerpiece of this important memorial is an iconic and powerful sculpture consisting of 50 free-standing steel columns constructions that, when viewed together from a distance, form spine an awe-inspiring portrait of the great leader, made even more special by a background of peaceful KZN Midlands scenery peeking through it.
Some of the world’s most unique experiences are found in KZN, like a view of the world’s highest waterfall at the Tugela falls, a hike or guided trail through the ISimangaliso Wetland park, witnessing the world’s largest underwater migration known as the Sardine Run, as well as many more outdoor adventure, cultural or entertainment experiences. KZN looks after its non-stop stream of tourists in style, with indulgent coastal, midland or mountain getaways, food, shopping and entertainment for any budget.
From sun-soaked days and beach side cocktails, or sense-tingling moments in the wild, to taking in crisp mountain air among sites older than time, South Africa’s “Zulu Kingdom" is a truly a place for the once-in-a-lifetime or the again-and-again experiences that turn holidays into unforgettable memories.
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.
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.
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.
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.