Must-see places to visit in KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa.
Kwazulu Natal Battlefields
KwaZulu Natal, also known as KZN, is steeped in history and littered with battlefields from the struggles of the Zulu Civil Wars to their clashes with the Boers and the British.
This picturesque area features sweeping views of rolling hills scattered with rugged rock formations. The most well-known and well-visited sites are those of the legendary Battles of Isandlwana, and Rorke’s Drift took place on the same day, lodging the Zulus firmly at the top of great warrior nations. Visitors can also explore the famous Anglo-Boer War fields of Spioenkop, Colenso and the Siege of Ladysmith, which drew characters like Winston Churchill, Louis Botha and Mahatma Gandhi onto the same stage.
Battle of Isandlwana (1879)
Isandlwana is the battle that made the Zulus arguably the most famous tribe in Africa. Armed with spears and hide shields, they managed to take the British camp at Isandlwana, almost wiping out the entire British force. Today this is an extremely evocative place to visit, and as the wind moves through the grass, it is easy for your mind to imagine thousands of Zulus doing likewise.
Battle of Rorke's Drift (1879)
Made famous by the 1960s film Zulu, the Battle of Rorke’s Drift is a remarkable story of how 138 British Soldiers managed to hold off thousands of Zulu warriors through the night and, in the process, win themselves 11 Victoria Crosses – more than in any other single battle. The well-preserved mission station, which is now a museum, is well worth the visit.
Extending along the spectacularly scenic northern coast of KwaZulu Natal to the border of beautiful Mozambique, Zululand is known for its wild landscapes, traditional cultural heritage and an array of protected game and nature reserves.
This breathtaking natural landscape features magnificent beaches, mangrove swamps, unspoilt estuaries, rivers, lakes and rolling grasslands scattered with indigenous forest and scrublands.
Visitors can enjoy a variety of activities, including visiting Hluhluwe-iMfolozi Park, world-renowned for its rhino conservation; exploring Ithala Game Reserve, inhabited by abundant wildlife and rare bird species; as well as spending a day at Shakaland, a film location that has been transformed into Zululand’s tourist epicentre featuring the best of the Zulu culture.
KwaZulu Natal, also known as KZN, is steeped in history, and littered with battlefields from the struggles of the Zulu Civil Wars, to their clashes with the Boers and the British. This picturesque area features sweeping views of rolling hills scattered with rugged rock formations. The most well-known and well-visited sites are those of the legendary Battles of Isandlwana, and Rorke’s Drift took place on the same day, lodging the Zulus firmly at the top of great warrior nations.
Visitors can also explore the famous Anglo-Boer War fields of Spioenkop, Colenso and the Siege of Ladysmith, which drew characters like Winston Churchill, Louis Botha, and Mahatma Gandhi onto the same stage.
The Southern Drakensberg is a wonderland of woodlands, forests, lakes and rivers, all set against the dramatic backdrop of this spectacular mountain range. Several nature reserves fall into the area and protect a wide variety of flora and fauna, including some rare antelope species and, at Kamberg, a network of beautiful hiking trails leads to caves decorated with ancient Khoisan art.
Trout thrive in the region’s reservoirs and waterways, making it a magnet for fly fishermen, while horse riding and mountain biking are also popular pursuits in this scenic part of the world.
The ultimate highlight of the Southern Drakensberg, however, is the Sani Pass, which – at almost 3,000 metres above sea level – is South Africa’s highest pass, leading all the way to the Lesotho border and offering magnificent vistas along the way.
Nambiti Game Reserve
Located between the cities of Johannesburg and Durban in north-eastern South Africa, the Nambiti Private Game Reserve is the ultimate escape, offering the Big 5 in a malaria-free region in the heart of KwaZulu Natal.
The world-famous elephant, lion, leopard, buffalo and rhino and over 40 other animal species roam these reclaimed farms in the heart of the Battlefields area. The reserve boasts a biodiverse landscape featuring riverine scrub, vast savannah, grasslands and thornveld. Visitors can look forward to excellent wildlife viewing, bird watching, swimming, game drives and stargazing in the beautiful African night sky.
Named after the many thorny climbers that were once found along the Hluhluwe River, on whose banks the town rests, Hluhluwe is sandwiched between the Greater St Lucia Wetland Park and Hluhluwe-Umfolozi Game Reserve. This fact ensures that visitors will be treated to incredibly scenic surroundings.
Those who enjoy fresh, juicy South African pineapples can indulge themselves to the fullest, with most of the country’s pineapples produced in this region.
Visitors can also look forward to visiting one of many surrounding reserves to view the world-renowned Big Five, soak up the incredible natural scenery and enjoy a variety of activities, including scuba diving, horse riding, hiking, canoeing, boat cruises, and mountain biking.
Ballito - Dolphin Coast
Idyllically set on the exquisite North Coast of South Africa, just 40 kilometres from the vibrant city of Durban, Ballito is a quiet seaside resort town known for its spectacular beaches and laidback atmosphere.
The town features an attractive blue flag-accredited main beach which offers safe swimming conditions as well as lifeguards and protective shark nets. There are also some lovely tidal pools which are ideal for families with young children.
The area is famous for its large school of dolphins, which can be spotted on a leisurely boat cruise or while relaxing on the shore. Whales are also frequently seen on their annual migration to Mozambique for the summer. Other popular activities on offer include golf, tennis, squash, scuba diving, and a variety of other water sports.
Umkuze Game Reserve
Situated northeast of Richard’s Bay in the South African province of Kwa-Zulu Natal, the 40 000 hectare, state-owned Mkhuze Game Reserve is known for its dramatic landscapes, exceptional birdlife, and cultural village.
The scenery is beautifully diverse, with thornveld on the hills, an enchanting fig tree forest near the pans, stretches of acacia savannah, swamps, riverine forest and a rare type of sand forest.
The reserve is home to incredible birdlife, covering 420 species. Animals on the reserve include lion, elephant, zebra, hippo, crocodile, black and white rhinoceros, giraffe, nyala, blue wildebeest, warthog, eland, impala, kudu and other smaller antelope. Rare species occurring in the reserve are cheetah, hyaena, suni (a small antelope) and leopard. A unique cultural village offers a glimpse into the traditional lifestyle and crafts of the local Zulu community.
At Umkuze Game Reserve, you can either self-drive and experience the park at your own time and pace or alternatively book a guided safari game drive in open vehicles. This area is famous for wildlife sightings. Umkuze Game Reserve also offers one a chance to enjoy one of Three hides that have been placed within the reserve, a great place to witness animal species and Birdlife.
Bonamanzi Game Reserve
Bonamanzi is located in the heart of Zululand. The travelling time is 3.5 hours, depending on road conditions.
Bonamanzi is a privately owned Game Reserve, 4000 hectares in size, with the Hluhluwe River forming our Eastern border. Proclaimed a Natural Heritage Site in 1995 in recognition of the biodiversity of the Reserve, we offer Sand Forests, Savanna & Wetland Areas. This diversity is why Bonamanzi is recognized as one of the best birding destinations in Southern Africa. There are 600 hectares in the reserve where guests are allowed to self-drive for the rest of the park; guided activities will need to be reserved.
iSimangaliso Wetland Park
iSimangaliso means miracle or the greatest thing you will ever see.
You won’t be let down when you first glance at the amazing ecosystems of the iSimangaliso Wetland Park.
Centred around the Lake St Lucia lagoon system, iSimangaliso was declared a World Heritage Site in 1999. The Park includes the lake, beaches, grasslands, dune forests and marine reserve. It is home to an exceptional biodiversity featuring over 500 bird species. It is the largest estuarine system in Africa and includes the southernmost extension of coral reefs.
Among its attractions are the world's highest forested sand dunes, large numbers of nesting turtles, whales, dolphins, whale sharks and huge numbers of waterfowl, including large breeding colonies of pelicans. In recent years, buffalo and elephants have been reintroduced onto the eastern shores of the lake.
With a beautiful, mountainous backdrop provided by the Ubombo Mountains, Mkhuze’s vast scrubland and freshwater pans, home to rare plants and interesting creatures, create a sanctuary of peace and calm. Its game reserve offers a great variety of flora and fauna and is a bird watcher’s paradise. The reserve’s beauty lies in its contrasting landscapes: low-lying sand dunes, water pans, a river gorge home to marine fossils, a thick acacia forest and a rare fig tree forest on the banks of the Mkhuze River.