Northern Kwa Zulu Natal is less visited than the game reserves of the north, but this region has much to offer. The province is the ancestral home of the Zulu people and they are the dominant tribe in the area. Durban is the major city in this region which is known for its golden beaches. The whole coast benefits from the warm currents of the Indian Ocean and a tropical climate – making it popular with beach lovers.
A couple of hours inland the landscape rises steeply to form some of the largest and longest mountain ranges in Africa – the Drakensberg which surround the mountain Kingdom of Lesotho. The name means “dragon’s teeth’ in Afrikaans for the forbidding peaks. One of the most famous massifs is called the Amphitheatre. Visitors to the region enjoy many outdoor activities such as hiking, climbing and fishing in mountain lakes.
Northern Kwa Zulu Natal has a vastly different feel to the rest of the country. The large system of wetlands and estuaries called iSimangaliso has been declared a World Heritage Site due to the incredible biodiversity. It was in the waters of this stretch of coast that the prehistoric fish called the Coelacanth which was thought extinct was rediscovered.
There are several game reserves such as Hluhluwe Imfolozi, the oldest game reserve in South Africa, which have international reputations for helping to save rhinos from extinction. Other well-known private game reserves include Phinda and Thada Tula.
The main access to Kwazulu Natal is through King Shaka International Airport outside of Durban. However, if visitors want to travel to the northern Kwa Zulu Natal game reserves, they would be best served by flying to Richards Bay as driving from King Shaka Airport to these reserves can take up to 5 hours.
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