From the clear air of the Drakensberg Mountains to its beach-lined tropical coast, KwaZulu-Natal is a truly diverse province with places of interest ranging from Big 5 game reserves and popular seaside towns to luxurious country estates and historical battlefields.
Not sure where to start? Our selections of where to go in KwaZulu-Natal will help you plan a phenomenal safari and beach holiday blending warm sea, wildlife and tons of exciting activities.
The seaside city of Durban is the ideal springboard from which to begin your KwaZulu-Natal holiday. South Africa's third largest city has a heady mixture of cultural flavours with Zulu women selling traditional beadwork outside Victorian-era buildings, and modern shopping centres sandwiched between Indian temples and fragrant spice markets. The city's biggest attraction, however, is the golden sands and warm sea of its broad city beaches.
Read more about Durban.
The KwaZulu-Natal coastline stretches some 600km from the developed South Coast - a holiday haven for golfers and visitors who want to spend sunny days on safe swimming beaches - up to the far wilder Elephant Coast with the colourful coral reefs and turtle breeding grounds of the iSimangaliso Wetland Park - a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
During the Christmas season the beachfronts around Durban are packed with local holiday makers and the temperatures sizzle, but even at this time of year you can still find a romantic retreat and quiet stretch of beach on the province's remote Elephant Coast.
Read more about the KwaZulu-Natal Coast.
KwaZulu-Natal's Northern Safari Region is a wild and beautiful area with a cluster of Big 5 reserves which offer game viewing on a par with the Kruger Park, South Africa’s best known reserve - and bird watching that is even better. Spend your mornings and afternoons on classic game drives in search of rhino, elephant and big cats, then in the evening return to your glass-fronted suite or luxurious safari tent to enjoy fine cuisine and outstanding service.
Read more about KwaZulu-Natal safaris.
Some of the bloodiest and most important battles in African history were fought on KwaZulu-Natal soil. These battlefields have hardly changed since the last soldiers fell, and with expert guides taking you back in time with spine-chilling tales of courage, victory, defeat and reconciliation - all it requires is a little imagination for the surrounding grasslands and rocky outcrops to come to life with the titanic struggles between the British army, Boer commandos and Zulu warriors.
The green fields and tree-lined lanes of the Natal Midlands have made many travellers compare this region to the English Cotswolds. It's a complete contrast to the rest of the province and where to go in KwaZulu-Natal to explore potters shops, galleries, craft studios and linger over a four-course lunch before easing any twinge of guilt with a hike into the foothills of the magnificent Drakensberg Mountains. The Midlands is a peaceful and at times indulgent place to stay with a number of world-class spas offering pampering treatments and boutique guesthouses serving up award-winning cuisine.
The rising peaks of the Drakensberg form South Africa’s tallest mountain range. Drakensberg means "dragon mountain" in Afrikaans or "barrier of spears" in the local Zulu language, but for all its ferocious names this magnificent mountain range is a top choice for an active family holiday: enjoy gentle riverside ambles or challenging hikes; go horse riding, mountain biking, bird watching and fly fishing; waterfalls and rock pools make for summer swimming while in winter the peaks are dusted with snow.
The uKhahlamba Drakensberg Park has been granted World Heritage Status in recognition of its awesome natural beauty and rich collection of San rock art - over 3,000 individual paintings at 600 sites.
At a Glance
KwaZulu-Natal is where South Africa becomes Africa: big game, Zulu culture, colonial battlefields and amazing beaches make for diverse and rewarding holidays.