KwaZulu Natal Travel Guide

KwaZulu Natal manages to squash the country's greatest diversity into a wedge of land between the towering Drakensberg Mountains and the long sweep of sub-tropical coastline. Here, visitors can go on safari, hike through dramatic wilderness, surf the country's best beaches and experience South Africa's strongest African culture. The mountains in the uKhahlamba-Drakensberg Park soar to over 3000 m, offering the country's finest hiking on an extensive network of remote trails.

Zululand, rich in history and evocative landscapes, draws visitors both for its traditional Zulu lifestyles, and the superb game reserves, some of the finest in South Africa. Hluhluwe-Imfolozi Game Reserve is the best known and has become famous for its rhino conservation programme, which has brought the rhino back from the brink of extinction.

Maputaland, lying to the north of Zululand, is an extraordinary area of undisturbed African wilderness, with remote game parks and pristine coastlines, far off the usual tourist trail. The variety of wildlife experiences on offer here is on a par with Kruger - but without the crowds.

The landscape of the central region, dotted with small industrial towns and rolling farmland, makes up in history what it lacks in scenic drama. This area, better known as the Battlefields, still bears the scars of the Zulu Wars: the Zulu-Boer War, the Anglo-Zulu War and the Boer War. There are dozens of battlefield sites, but the most evocative are those at Isandlwana, Rorke's Drift and Blood River.

For a more light-hearted alternative, KwaZulu Natal's beaches are some of the most beautiful in the country. While those around Durban and to the south are heavily developed, the coastline extending from the north towards Maputaland is relatively wild, with long empty sweeps of white sand backed by thick tropical dune forests - an excellent place for interesting wildlife encounters.

This is edited copy from Footprint Handbooks. For comprehensive details (incl address, tel no, directions, opening times and prices) please refer to book or individual chapter PDF
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