Natal, better known as Kwazulu-Natal, is a diverse province on the east coast of South Africa known for its wildlife parks, historic cities and pristine beaches. Explore rolling hills and farmland around the 19th century city of Pietermaritzburg, and soak up the beaches and city life of Durban.
One of the largest nature reserves in South Africa is located along the province’s coast. Greater St. Lucia Wetland Park, today known as iSimangaliso Wetland Park, is a UNESCO World Heritage national park teeming with wildlife. See crocodiles, whale sharks, hippos, lions, coral reefs and more than 500 bird species. Take a game fishing trip along the coast to hook that Marlin of your dreams. Keen scuba divers won’t want to miss Sodwana Bay, one of the best dive sites in the country.
Kwazulu-Natal is home to the Zulu tribe, the largest ethnic group in South Africa. Discover the Zulu culture on a tour of a village and visit the KwaZulu Museum at Ondini to see their craftwork, dress and weaponry. Get an insight into the San (Bushmen) culture at the uKhahlamba-Drakensberg mountains, where 4,000-year-old paintings adorn the rock faces.
The best way to get around the province is by rental car, as public transport is generally not considered safe for tourists. Use taxis in the city.
Kwazulu-Natal’s two largest cities offer culture, fine dining, historic architecture and parks. The capital Pietermaritzburg’s attraction lies in its 19th century architecture and museums. Learn about the Zulu culture, browse art galleries and take a walk through the surrounding farmland. Durban is an oceanfront city with shopping, live music, waterparks, casinos and zoos.
See wildlife in the city at Durban’s Amanzimtoti Bird Sanctuary. The Mitchell Park Zoo is home to monkeys, racoons and antelopes. See snakes from South Africa at Durban’s Fitzsimons Snake Park.
Its proximity to the coast means Kwazulu-Natal is known for its seafood-influenced cuisine. Try authentic street food such as Bunny Chow, curry served in a hollowed out loaf of bread. Finish the day with a locally brewed beer from one of several breweries around Kwazulu-Natal.