Kwa Zulu Natal Attractions
KWA ZULU NATAL ATTRACTIONS
KwaZulu Natal, South Africa
A short flight takes you to the historic city of Pietermaritzburg, gateway to the Natal Midlands and the charming Drakensberg resorts. No holiday in KwaZulu Natal would be complete without a visit to at least one of the KwaZulu Natal game reserves, renowned throughout the world. Appropriately enough, the Zulu name for Durban is Thekwini, meaning "The Place Where the Earth and the Ocean Meet". But apart from an effervescent ocean lined with golden beaches, KwaZulu Natal's capital city, Durban, offers a subtropical carnival atmosphere and summer sunshine all year round. From around the globe, day in, day out, pleasure-seekers converge on the city to play on the golden, palm-fringed sands. In addition to the attractions of sea, surf and sport, leisure options encompass an eclectic range.
At excellent one-stop shopping centres, you can buy anything from photographic equipment to couturier clothes and rare antiques. Flea markets and craft trails attract leisurely browsers, and discount stores offer quality merchandise at bargain basement prices. Within a stone's throw of the city centre, oriental bazaars, fragrant with spice and incense, offer silks, saris, unusual jewellery and ornaments. Pubs, discos and action bars are firm favourites. KwaZulu Natal also caters for a wide spectrum of travellers and businessmen and the top hotels in KwaZulu Natal compare very favourably with the best hotels and resorts in the world. You will find an extensive selection of places to stay at KwaZulu Natal accommodation and KwaZulu Natal hotels.
Theatres and concert halls present classical, avant-garde and ethnic programmes, and art galleries display works created by the internationally famous and up-and-coming local talents. KwaZulu Natal's restaurants represent every facet of the city's cosmopolitan nature and cater for every palate and pocket. At the end of the day, what could be better that strolling on the beach to the rhythm of the waves?
Throughout the year, holiday-makers flock to their favourite KwaZula Natal coastal haunts to cultivate a tan, ride the waves, eat, drink and generally have fun. Besides the sweeping beaches and calm lagoons where surfing, snorkelling, fishing and swimming are enjoyed, you can play golf, bowls and tennis or just soak up the sun. From Durban to Amanzimtoti, Ballito to Umhlanga Rocks, to the rugged Wild Coast, the highway links popular seaside resorts in rapid succession. The road snakes through subtropical bush, cane fields and hills garlanded with hibiscus blooms. North of Durban, the coastline stretching from the Tugela Mouth to the Umdloti River is aptly known as the Dolphin Coast. Close inshore, shoals of bottle-nose dolphins gambol in the waves, providing endless entertainment with their engaging antics.
Arguably the gem of the entire Natal North Coast is the Umhlanga Coastline. The Umhlanga Coastline offers a combination of quiet village life with first world amenities and a cosmopolitan buzz. It also offers a diversity of activities in exotic and magnificent landscapes.
Further north, KwaZulu Natal's game sanctuaries epitomise the best of the African wilderness. This is one of the few places where good game viewing can be enjoyed in close proximity to the pleasures of scuba diving and deep-sea fishing. Habitats from coastal dune forests to open bushveld support a wide diversity of wildlife, from the elephant to the tiny suni. Bird life is equally prolific. Most parks offer peaceful surroundings, comfortable accommodation, game drives, hiking and walking safaris.
The Elephant Coast forms the north-east region of South Africa's unique KwaZulu Natal Province, stretching northward from Lake St Lucia (a world heritage site), to the borders of Swaziland and Mozambique. The region is so named because it is home to South Africa's largest herd of indigenous African Elephants.
Between the coastal playgrounds and the majestic Drakensberg, there is an area of gentle pastoral beauty known as the Natal Midlands. The highway meanders through rolling wooded hills and grassy plains scattered with towns, villages and hospitable country inns. On lush farmlands, plump cattle and thoroughbred horses graze and game sanctuaries throughout the region support large numbers and varieties of wildlife.
Nestling in the valleys, fine hotels and leisure resorts offer accommodation in KwaZulu Natal and recreational options second to none. Fast-flowing rivers are frequented by anglers hoping for a record-breaking rainbow trout. Climbers scale the jagged peaks where eagles and bearded vultures fly; hikers and horse-riders follow nature trails. The less energetic shrug off city stress by drinking in the birdsong, the crisp clean air and the stunning views.
Set in the heart of Zulu country, the city of Pietermaritzburg is one of charm and dignity, at its loveliest in spring when masses of azaleas burst into bloom. When the first Voortrekkers arrived in 1837, they found a tranquil countryside graced by forests, hills and valleys. They settled on a fertile tract of land beside the Umsindusi River and named it after two of their leaders, Gerrit Maritz and Piet Retief. Six years later, the British upgraded the village to a military garrison town. Today, numerous Victorian and Edwardian buildings, quaint pedestrian lanes and other landmarks reflect the substantial British contribution to the development of the town. And in shady, tree-lined suburbs, spacious red brick bungalows and upper-crust boarding schools reinforce the colonial ambience of "The Last Outpost of the British Empire" as Maritzburg is affectionately known.
The city of Pietermaritzburg has a wide range of shops, Pietermaritzburg hotels and restaurants, providing the ideal gateway to the exceptional country inns, recreational resorts and game reserves of the Natal Midlands and the Drakensberg.
Rickshaw Ride along the Beachfront (Durban Beachfront)
A colourful RickshawThere are only about twenty registered rickshaw-pullers in Durban. They are well known for their magnificent head-dresses adorned with beads and other decorations.
This is a great way to get around and feel like a real tourist. This fleet of 'tuk-tuk' type three-wheelers has augmented public transport in the city and is a wonderful way to see the "Golden Mile", the 6 kilometres of Durban Beachfront.
The Rickshaws are a unique tourist attraction run by the Zulu population and incorporated into their culture. You will also find many locals selling their hand-made crafts along the Rickshaw tour on the beachfront.
Natal Maritime Museum (Durban North)
Durban is the maritime trade centre for Africa and the city's economical epicentre so it is fitting that this is where the Port Natal Maritime Museum dropped anchor. This tribute to local seafaring traditions is set on Durban's harbour coast backed by the wide angle view of the bay.
Mast and rudder alike retire to this historical 'dry-dock' to stand as testament to ancient settlement in this bay basin where local history was influenced by maritime culture. British traders and hunters established a permanent outpost here in 1824 overlooking these Indian Ocean waters. Tug the little ones in to explore the decks of three large multi-ton vessels including the naval SAS Durban (1957) minesweeper; the JR Moore (1961) tugboat built to handle rough seas and salvages; as well as the Ulundi with it's 1927 coal fired engine.
Wander through the engine rooms anticipating the heat, explore the galleys mimicking the swell at sea and discover the living quarters imagining the bygone sailors' conversations. Voyage through the Britannia Exhibition Hall where maritime collectables display secrets from the deep, perfect for little 'pirate' enthusiasts. Navigate by night stars and communication with ancient devices that linked ships over nautical miles. Point your compass to shipwrecked treasure, interact with a display or watch an educational program.
Zulu Croc Reptile Park (Hluhluwe)
Zulu Croc Reptile ParkZulu Croc Reptile park offers a two hour croc and snake experience - you will be up close and personal with the creatures and will be able to touch and feel them.
The manager of the park also gives daily demonstrations and talks on snakes; both handling and interacting with venomous species such as boomslangs and puff adders. You will be able to watch the crocs and feeding times with the Park manager once again answering any questions you might have on these scary reptiles!
Snake Shows and Croc feedings at 10h00 or 15h00 (Bookings essential) For more that 10 people we are willing to adapt our times and we do night shows on request.
Directions: Take the Hluhluwe/Sodwana offramp on the N2 and head towards Hluhluwe town. Follow the signs for Sodwana / False Bay and travel about 15km down this road. Zulu Croc is on the left hand side.
King Shaka Heritage Route (Ballito)
Categories: Miscellaneous / Monuments
The Heritage Route celebrates one of the great Zulu chiefs. King Shaka Zulu is considered by many as the architect of the Zulu nation as he was responsible for joining scattered clans into the powerful unified force that dominated the land between the modern Swazi border and the Eastern Cape.
Place worth visiting are...
High Rock - where Shaka would sit to plan his military tactics.
Observation Rock - King Shaka would sit here to watch the movements of his army training on the plains below.
Shakas Trees - these trees are found in the town of KwaDukuza and are almost 200 years old. The trees include the Indaba Tree where Shaka held council and the Assassination Tree where Shaka was reputedly killed in 1828.
Visit the Natal Museum (Pietermaritzburg)
Categories: Museums / Wheelchair Friendly
Photograph © The Natal MuseumTrade in an afternoon playing with mini plastic dinosaur toys for an afternoon spent gazing at a life size models of Stegosaurus, Triceratops and the ruler of the Cretaceous period, T-Rex, at the Natal Museum one of South Africa's 'big 5' national museums. Stand under the tusks of the skeleton of the last Wild Elephant in KwaZulu Natal. Get a dentist's view of a Hippopotamus, staring into it's wide open pink jaw in the Mammal Hall.
Taxidermy displays bring to life tropical birds in a painted jungle and cheeky Chimpanzees swinging from branches. Living fossils of fish (Coelacanth) fascinate as does a marine display of sharks and life under the sea. Take a slow snail trail and marvel at the Mollusca Collection of tiny and gigantic slugs representing most land snail species of South Africa. Interpret stories of the desert from original San Rock Art displays of human figures, animal forms and magic. Appreciate authentic Zulu Pottery, brightly coloured bead art and hand craft admiring bronze treasures from Mapungupwe.
The museum is a meeting ground for national culture and natural history with 10 Cultural History and 8 Natural History Galleries. It has an impressive international reputation for unique displays, authentic artefacts, interesting collections, extensive research and field trips showcasing discovery samples and specimen. Travelling exhibitions keep the displays fresh with education on politics, relationships, arts and crafts.
Listen to the rhymes and rhythms of the South African youth at the museums monthly poetry readings of Knowledge of Self Society (KOSS), a local township poetry group. Housed in a 1905 national monument, the beautiful façade of this museum building just South of the Pietermaritzburg City Hall, is crawling with oversized cockroaches, spiders and ants -deliberately and by popular demand these larger than human, insect models add science and wonder to the colonial columns and carvings.
Whale Watching in St Lucia (St Lucia)
Categories: Cruises / Whale Watching
Whale Watching in St Lucia with Advantage ToursGo on an adventure with renowned skipper Danie Bennett, who together with his qualified crew has a treasure-house full of knowledge about the Whales. An up close and personal experience from as close as 50m's, which will leave you with fond memories.
We mostly see Humpback Whales throughout the season, and on the odd occasion Bryde, Minke, Southern Right and Sperm Whales are spotted. A variety of prolific bird life and other marine mammals like Whale Shark, Sea Turtles, Dolphins, Flying Fish, Marlin, Sailfish and Shark can be spotted. A full educational talk wil be given on the species, and the highest vegetated sand dunes along the North Coast of KwaZulu Natal as well as a possible visit to the Jolly Rubino Shipwreck. Whale Watching in South Africa has taken on a whole new meaning with KwaZulu Natal now the hub of the Humpback Whale.
Visit the Voortrekker Museum (Pietermaritzburg)
Old vintage ox wagon wheelVoortrekkers is Afrikaans/Dutch for pioneers but literally means 'those who trek ahead'. The Great Trek (Die Groot Trek) refers to a number of mass movements of these five groups of local Afrikaans pioneers who, disenchanted with the then British rule of the Cape Colony, migrated to the inland of South Africa by oxwagon from 1835 founding the 'Rebulica of Natalia' at Pietermaritzburg in 1839.
Many Voortrekker battles followed also involving the local Zulu tribe. Five adjacent buildings on site at the Voortrekker Museum comprise the multi-cultural preservation of all that is South African history. The Main Building serves as a gallery for South Africa's democratic history. The original 1840 Church of the Vow built to fulfil the Voortrekkers' vow to preserve their heritage is now The Voortrekker Complex. Anglo-Boer War exhibitions are housed in original 1849 Voortrekker architecture at 333 Boom Street. The Zulu Hut educates on tribal lifestyle and Shiva Indian Temple represents South African Hindu communities heritage.
Relics of note include the second oldest oxwagon in South Africa (1824); original Voortrekker clothing; authentic rifles; a prayer book belonging to former Voortrekker leader Piet Retief; genuine lifestyle memorabilia; a replica of a Hindu Shiva; the original house of Andries Pretorius who was a victorious commander at the Battle of the Blood River; artefacts; sculptures; collage of the role of the African people in the Boer War (Farmer War); African beads from the Royal Residence of King Dingane as well as King Dingane's carved chair and headrest.
The museum also has an auditorium for educational presentation, a shop and restaurant.