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Pocket Guide: Kwazulu-Natal

KwaZulu-Natal will keep you on your toes. Mountainscapes meet flat, dry savannahs, lively beaches are never far from sedate tribal settlements, and the towns’ central streets teem with African markets whilst, out there in the distance, lions, leopards, buffaloes, elephants and rhinos prowl or plod their way through the wilds. Add to this simmering mix rare marine life, historic battlefields, hiking trails and crashing surf for a heady brew of adventure, relaxation, local heritage and a walk on the African wild side, and you’ll soon see why a hotel in KwaZulu-Natal is a must.

The Best Hotels in KwaZulu-Natal for You

Durban – This cosmopolitan city is South Africa’s third-largest. The charming waterfront area is perfect for strolls and dining out whilst its Art Deco centre is at once African, but also distinctly Indian – home, as it is, to the largest concentration of people of Indian descent outside of India. For many it is the attractions of Durban’s beach that define its pleasures but there’s a lot more besides waiting to be discovered with a hotel in Durban.

The Midlands – Arts and crafts lover will enjoy a drive through the picturesque, hilly country, that contains craft shops, artistic endeavours, welcome dining or relaxing opportunities and hotels.

Pietermaritzburg – The region’s capital offers grand historic buildings from the colonial age, many of which have been converted into museums. There are also plenty of historic hotels to choose from in Pietermaritzburg.

The Elephant Coast – One of the world’s great ecotourist destinations, the Elephant Coast offers scenic beauty and a wonderfully diverse assortment of wildlife. Here you will find the stunning iSimangaliso Wetland Park, whose untamed beauty demands photographing, and the incredible Hluhluwe-iMfolozi Park, think of it as a more compact and accessible Kruger National Park. Book an eco-hotel close to the Elephant Coast.

Zululand – The rugged coast, misty hills and scattered traditional settlements here could not be more different than the ordered, clean lines of Durban’s suburbs. This area offers fascinating insights into the fiercely proud Zulu tribe, in terms of their history, beliefs and the intense poverty that has affected them in contemporary times.

Ukhahlamba Drakensberg Park – The jagged peaks of the Drakensberg’s tabletop peaks are achingly beautiful. This is where some of South Africa’s most awe-inspiring landscapes can be found and where the adventurous travel can really knock their hiking socks off! Drakensberg means ‘Dragon Mountains’ and there is definitely something almost mythical about the ranges here: make sure you see it for yourself.

How to Make the Most of Your Hotel in KwaZulu-Natal

The Art Deco centre and African markets of Durban are a joy to behold but the greatest sight has to be those other-worldly peaks of Drakensberg. You can come back to earth with a historical bump when you view the historic buildings and museums that Pietermaritzburg displays so well. Never far away from all this culture, though, are the Big Five who can be witnessed in all their glory at the Hluhluwe-iMfolozi Park.

A tour into Zululand offers a unique insight into how contemporary Zulu struggle to maintain their prod history whilst a visit to the battlefields will tell of past military endeavours. For those with a sense of adventure hikes up the spectacular scenery of the uKhahlamba-Drakensberg Park or into the wet and wild area of iSimangaliso Wetland Park should help keep the adrenaline pumping. For those looking just to relax, garb a towel and head for the beautiful beaches of Durban.