Kwazulu Natal is one of South Africa’s most prominent provinces, with a lavish history, cultural vibrancy, ceaseless topographical spectacles, a thriving empire of wildlife treasures, and an extensive coastline; generously serviced by the replenishing warm waters of the phenomenal Indian Ocean. Durban, the administrative capital of Kwazulu Natal, is one South Africa’s most abounding economic and socio-cultural gems, with a breathtaking spectrum of cultural diversity. Due to the immense assortment of its natural and human-crafted splendours, Kwazulu Natal has been graded as one of South Africa’s most rewarding tourist destinations. It’s on grounds of these merits that each year, hundreds of thousands of explorers from around the world, converge in the beguiling region of Kwazulu Natal, to behold the compelling fascinations of this Zulu wonderland.
Kwazulu Natal covers a surface area of about 92,100 km2 (35559ml2), approximately the size of Portugal. The region consists of three distinctive geo-ecological areas, encompassing the following: The lowland region along the Indian Ocean coast; the Central region in Natal midlands and the two mountain ranges; comprising the Drakensberg Mountains in the west and the Lebombo Mountains in the north.
The Drakensberg range produces a solid wall of basalt, rising over 3,000 m (9,800 ft) near the frontier with Lesotho; while the Lebombo Mountains are of an ancient granite character, forming low parallel ranges, stretching southward from Swaziland. The Tugela River is the largest river in the region; and flows west to east, across the centre of the province. Kwazulu Natal is endowed with a wealth of biodiversity, in view of both flora and fauna. Two areas of exceptional species diversity in the region have been granted World Heritage Site status by the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation (UNESCO). These two areas comprise the Greater St Lucia Wetland Park and the spectacular Ukhahlamba-Drakensberg Park.
The coastal areas of the region are characterised by sub-tropical thickets and deeper gorges, while afromontane forest predominates steep slopes. The Midlands are endowed with wet grasslands and detached pockets of afromontane forest. Savannah constitutes the habitat in the north, while the Drakensberg range mostly comprises alpine grassland.
The extensive coastline is punctuated by recreational hubs. The coastal climate is of a sub-tropical character, while further north up the coast towards the frontier with Mozambique, the climates becomes almost entirely tropical.
The vast coastal stretches of the region are home to some of the best beaches in the world; with some of them, such as Marina beach, granted the status of a Blue Flag Beach.
The interior of Kwazulu Natal is dominated by undulating hills, from the Valley of a Thousand Hills to the Midlands. Below are some of the most fascinating visitor attractions in Kwazulu Natal.