With Durban being the main hub in this region, this South African province is becoming more and more popular as a destination on its own. Rough and ready, smart and sophisticated, rural and rustic: there’s no doubt that KwaZulu-Natal (KZN) is eclectic. It’s a region where glassy malls touch shabby suburbs, and action-packed adventurers ooze adrenaline while laid-back beach bods drip with suntan lotion. Mountainscapes contrast with flat, dry savannahs, while the towns’ central streets, teeming with African life, markets and noise, are in stark contrast to the sedate tribal settlements in rural areas. Here, too, is traditional Zululand, whose people are fiercely proud of their culture. Throw in the wildlife – the Big Five and rare marine species – the historic intrigue of the Battlefields, fabulous hiking opportunities, and the sand, sea and surf of coastal resort towns, and you get a tantalising taste of local heritage and authentic African highlights that should be on every ‘must-do’ list.
In the interior part of Kwa Zulu Natal, also known as The Drakensberg region (roughly between Johannesburg and Durban) there is the Drakensberg mountains. This region is home to the awe-inspiring mountain range of the same name. The range is more than 200 kilometres long and combines rugged peaks with verdant valleys and spectacular backdrops. It creates a natural border between the kingdom of Lesotho and the province of KwaZulu-Natal. The average height of the range is 2 900 metres. However, it is home to some of the country’s highest peaks, which surge up to 3 482 metres above sea level. Between and amongst these peaks are plateaus, valleys, slopes, and incredible mountain passes that make for some of the best hiking, walking and cycling adventures in the country.
The entire KZN coastline is over 600KM long and offers subtropical beaches with year-round warm Indian Ocean water. The water is warm and contains an abundance of magnificent tropical fish and coral reefs. The Elephant Coast (the northern part of the coastline just south of Mozambique) boasts pristine beautiful beaches and up north a World Heritage Site. Kosi Bay Estuary, iSimangaliso, St Lucia Wetlands Park and the surrounding area are magnificent places to visit! Here you can find long stretches of white sandy beaches. Visitors can explore the many rock pools along the beach, abundant wildlife in a huge diversity of habitats as well as the marine life with for example the humpback whales, that pass the coastline in October.
Close to the ocean there are some of the most beautiful private game reserves in the country. This malaria free region is an excellent place to see the Big 5 and ideally located to combine a safari with a beach holiday! The weather is warm and sunshine year-round, but the best time to visit this region would be April/May or July to September. The summer can be very humid along the coast where the Drakensberg mountains can have snowfall during the winter. So in the winter you can have below zero temperatures in the mountains and travel to the coast to snorkel and have a tan within a few hours!