Fly to Kwa-Zulu Natal
From beautiful beaches lapped by the warm Indian Ocean to formidable mountains, KwaZulu-Natal has a little bit of everything, all ensconced in gorgeous weather. Durban is its prime beach resort, with a reputation for curries even hotter than its sunshine, thanks to its large Indian community. The beaches along its Golden Mile have lifeguards, beacons to indicate safe bathing, shark nets to protect you, and a parade of shops, restaurants and hotels behind them. Slightly further up the coast is Umhlanga, where the well-heeled holidaymakers stay. It’s a fun spot, with restaurants, pavement cafés, pubs and clubs. Sodwana Bay is the premier diving spot in SA.
Not far inland are the hills and valleys of the battlefield sites, where ferocious wars took place between the British, the Boers and the Zulus. Tour guides tell chilling, spellbinding stories of the battles of Isandlwana and Rorke’s Drift. Historical buildings, museums, memorials and graveyards are the remnants of those bloody times.
The razor-toothed Drakensberg Mountains snake their way for 200km through the western side of the province. This spectacular range features about 600 rock art sites, with 35 000 paintings, plus activities like ziplining, falconry and mountain bike trails. This is brilliant hiking territory, but you can also sit back and soak up the stunning views.
The Drakensberg peter out into the softer hills of the Midlands, where the Midlands Meander takes you to various arts and crafts centres. The route covers 80km of picturesque scenery, with opportunities to buy everything from furniture to kites and wind chimes to weavings. At the small town of Nottingham Road, you’ll find a microbrewery, artisanal chocolates and an archery centre.
Hluhluwe-Imfolozi Game Reserve is home to the Big Five, with black and white rhino, lion, leopard, elephant and buffalo. It dates back to 1895, and ranges across forests, mountains and broad savannah.
iSimangaliso Wetland Park, previously called St Lucia Wetlands, is a World Heritage Site with 280km of pristine coastline, as well as forests and dry woodlands. Its residents include a massive population of hippo, elephants and an estimated 1 000 crocodiles. It is home to many other animals and 500 different species of birds. It’s a great place for fishing, boating, diving and hiking.