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KwaZulu-Natal

About

‘KZN’, as insiders call it, was once riddled with conflict: Zulus, Boers and Brits bloodily duked it out here for bragging rights over a land the size of Portugal. 150 years later, and the battle is now for tourist attention, with a unique array of offerings tempting visitors. Whether your preferred holiday poison is safaris or scuba diving, beaches or birdwatching, history or hiking, South Africa’s easternmost province has almost all bases covered.

Such diverse riches are the result of a wide-ranging spread of landscapes. From 280 miles of nearly unstinting sand—a succession of well-developed resorts surround Durban in the south; sugar-cane plantations, secret beaches and Maputaland’s wetlands await further north—stretch away lowlands riddled with rivers and classic savannah, with wildlife and high-grade accommodation. Standing guard atop it all are the impressive Drakensberg and Lebombo mountain ranges.

Highlights

KZN’s two UNESCO World Heritage sites appear on most touring itineraries for good, gasp-inducing reason. The Maloti-Drakensberg Park promises photogenic peaks, a world-leading hoard of ancient cave paintings and the planet’s second-highest waterfall, while the coast’s iSimangaliso Wetland Park  (previously known as St Lucia Wetlands Park) is a gobsmacking home to dolphins, crocodiles, whales, warthogs and lots more.

Other must-sees include the Battlefields, where fabulous guides movingly recreate the Zulus’ resistance at Rorke’s Drift among other significant skirmishes, and top-quality Big Five game reserves like Rhino Ridge Safari Lodge near Hluhluwe-Imfolozi and Phinda Private Game Reserve, all offering experiences and luxury lodges to rival Kruger.

Those are the headline acts, but don’t forget the traditional Zulu townships and their beehive huts and artisans. Or the wilderness beach lodges, where surfing and watersports are possible, and where endangered turtles lay eggs. Or indeed the world-class golf courses, Midlands Meander and shark-attracting Sardine Run, an annual marine-life get-together best observed just north of Durban.

Getting there

Almost all visitors to KZN arrive in Durban, thanks to direct air connections to Cape Town, Johannesburg and South Africa’s other main cities. Self-driving or private car transfers are the best means of traversing the region.

Best Time To Visit

If it is heat you are after, November to Feb will give you just that.  Autumn, April to September—when it’s dry, mild and sunny—is the optimum season. Game-viewing is also better then, reaching a crescendo between June and September when shorter grasses and waterhole congregations make sightings easy. The Sardine Run typically occurs between May and July, while steamy summer (November-March) is when turtles are most visible. Neither too hot nor too cold, autumn’s best for Drakensberg hiking.

 



Durban waves
Rhino Ridge Safari Lodge
sensational scuba diving
Battlefields
Drakensberg Moutains
Hartford House

The Best of South Africa Travel map displays the locations of the destinations and accommodation that we have selected and visited; for each item, hovering over or clicking the marker will display a short summary and photo of that place or hotel, and hotel pricing. Follow the links in the info box to the full page listing which has much more information.

Note that the online map offers both a satellite view (click satellite in the top right) and, for some locations, a street level view (Drag the person in the top left onto the map). These let you explore the country; and when you wish to explore in person, or if you have any questions about the places you see, give our staff a call, or request a quote. Our staff regularly visit the places and accommodation that we feature.

When you book a holiday with us we will provide full driving instructions for reaching your accommodation, where necessary; these can be used by yourself, or you could enjoy the luxury of a driver. Alternatively we will arrange private (car rather than coach) transfers for you; helicopter transfers are also possible for some destinations.

Testimonials

madikwe

A wonderful 7 night break to South Africa

We have just come back from a wonderful 7 night break to South Africa. We were incredibly well looking after from the second we stepped off the plane, by a lovely representative of Best of South Africa Travel - who met us and escorted us through customs and immigration literally behind the pilots. It was very efficient, and we felt very ...

M Hemsley

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