Durban is the gateway city of KwaZulu-Natal province – pulsating and inviting fusion of East, West and Zulu motifs overlooking Africa’s busiest picture-postcard seaport. It has expansive golden beaches interspersed with idyllic getaway coves. KwaZulu-Natal is a magnet for thrill-seekers in the great outdoors – from wave riders to hang-gliders, and golfers to mountain bikers. Explore the distinctly different central, northern and southern coastlines of Natal.
For first-timers, a visit to the Golden Mile Beachfront is a must. So is a Zulu rickshaw ride on the promenade, tasting Durban curried pineapple and exploring the daily street market selling everything from beaded Zulu sandals to decorative ostrich eggs. The Durban Botanical Gardens is a great spot for a relaxing walk, while a SkyCar ride up the Moses Mabhida Stadium arch to the 360˚ viewing platform offers phenomenal city views.
When it comes to museums and art galleries, there are plenty of options to choose from. Durban also has some of the most stunning markets such as the iconic Victoria Street Market in Durban Central, Essenwood Market in Berea and Shongweni Farmers Market in the Hillcrest area.
Great areas to stay north of Durban City include Umhlanga, Durban North and La Lucia. If classy seafront apartments, sandy beaches and sunset walks sound like your type of holiday, Umhlanga Beach with its lovely 2.5 km promenade is the perfect choice. The area is well-known for its vibey seafood restaurants, steakhouses, posh bars and local Durban curry eateries. The nearby Gateway Theatre of Shopping is the second biggest mall in South Africa offering plenty of retail stores, a cinema complex and great entertainment for children. The holiday town of Ballito Bay located just 20 km from Durban’s King Shaka International Airport, has a beautiful natural bay and great swimming beaches.
Further north, iSimangaliso Wetland Park stretches up the Elephant Coast for more than 250,000 hectares. It encompasses wilderness areas of unsurpassed beauty as well as Lake St Lucia, home to the largest single hippo population in Africa. It is a world class eco-tourism destination and its beaches, ancient breeding grounds of the big sea turtles, are protected by some of the highest coastal dunes in the world.
Guided boat tours enable visitors to view hippos, crocodiles, go deep sea fishing and whale or turtle watching and learn about the mangrove ecosystems of the lake.
Just a 50 km-drive inland from the coastal town of St. Lucia lies the fantastic game reserve of Hluhluwe-iMfolozi, the only state-run Park in the province where visitors may encounter the Big 5.
Scuba-divers will fall in love with Sodwana Bay, one of South Africa’s premier diving and sport-fishing venues. Other fantastic places to visit on route to Mozambique or Swaziland include the unique Tembe Elephant Park – an intimate Park run by the local community, the coastal protective area of Kosi Bay situated at the Mozambique border, and Pongola Game Reserve, a great stopover for visitors en route to Swaziland.
Driving inland you enter the realm of the legendary Zulu kings which are steeped in living Zulu tradition. A day trip to a Zulu Village is a great cultural experience. Eshowe, the oldest European town in Zululand, is a great base from which to explore the area, or you can spend some time visiting the Battlefields of yesteryear, where Zulu, Boer and British now make pilgrimages of reconciliation. Self-drive to the Battlefields by car on your own or let us organise a guided tour.
For travellers driving from Natal southwards towards the Wild Coast, the breathtakingly beautiful Oribi Gorge on the South Coast is a highlight.