Provinces

KwaZulu-Natal

KwaZulu-Natal, also known as the "garden province" of South Africa, is a fertile area of green rolling hills and a magnificent coastline, stretching to some 600 km from Mozambique in the north to the river in Umtamvuna south.

The northern half of this province is largely occupied by the historic Zululand. Inland, the landscape rises up to the huge Natal Drakensberg and its foothills.

KwaZulu-Natal is a big melting pot of many typical South African features: numerous types of landscapes with rugged tropical and sub-tropical wilderness, a patchwork of cultures, wildlife parks, white sand beaches, vibrant cities, small towns and all blessed with a wonderful sub tropical climate. No wonder this county is very popular among visitors to South Africa.

This province was once the scene of a fierce and violent battle between the Zulus, British and the Boers.

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Drakensberg

The Drakensberg Mountains, known to the Zulu people as Ukhahlamba, or 'Barrier of Spears', the Mountains of the Dragon is an awe-inspiring and truly magnificent range of mountains. The majority of which lie in KwaZulu Natal and stretch well over 200 kilometers forming a natural border between Lesotho and KwaZulu Natal.

What makes it so popular, besides its sheer majesty, is its accessible plateau and the numerous passes and slopes that make for some of the best and most strenuous hiking in the province; possibly South Africa.

The Drakensberg is not only about its famous mountain peaks - Giants Castle, Cathedral Peak, Mont-Aux-Sources - it is also graced with a number of lower peaks known as the foothills of the Drakensberg. The entire Drakensberg is riddled with incredible waterfalls, rock pools, mountain streams, caves, crisp mountain air, and special spaces that draw both visitors to South Africa and locals alike.

The area falls into four valleys, beginning with the Champagne Valley in the Central Drakensberg, through the Cathedral Peak and Didima valley, then the Royal Natal National Park and Amphitheatre Valley, and finally the Middledale Pass Valley in the Northern Drakensberg.

The Southern Drakensberg lies a bit off the beaten tourist track and is not very well known. There are several nature reserves, of which particularly the Kamberg and the Loteni are worth a visit.

Maputaland

Maputaland in the very north-east of KwaZulu Natal belongs to the wild and unspoilt areas of South Africa. It has tropical climate and it stretches from the border to Mozambique down to Sodwana Bay.

This area boasts twenty different ecosystems, including three lakes systems (including Lake Sibaya, the largest freshwater lake in South Africa, and Kosi Bay lakes pieces mangrove swamp and palm and fig tree forest).

Maputaland is the most southern area of dispersed fish- and bird life and people find them here in large concentrations unlike anywhere in South Africa. Here, off the coast of northern KwaZulu-Natal in the Marina Reserve Maputaland, snorkelers can enjoy themselves to the coral reefs. From Black Rock, a fifteen minute drive from Rock Tail Bay Lodge one finds an excellent fishing spot (even for marlin).

Hluhluwe-Umfolozi Game Reserve

Hluhluwe is one of the oldest game parks in South Africa where the Big Five can be admired. The biggest attraction of this park is the white rhinoceros. In 1895 there were only 50 surviving white rhinoceros in South Africa, all in this area. The habitat of the park provides an abundance of wildlife. The best times to visit Hluhluwe from March to November. In summer is very hot and stuffy.

This game reserve is situated in Zululand, home to the biggest tribe in South Africa, the Zulu's. Nowhere in the country is the traditional lifestyle of this tribe portrayed more clearly than in their "own kingdom". Two of the most famous Zulus are Skaka Zulu and the current president of South Africa, Jacob Zuma.