Hotels in and around the KwaZulu Natal province
Zulu Natal is defined by its stunning beaches, ethnic diversity, sweltering summers and sociable society. Indeed, this South African province pulsates with a colourful buzz that permeates every sight, sound and smell of this vibrant destination.
This province is known as the Garden Province in reference to the lush, green and somewhat tropical vegetation of the region. The beaches boast warm waters that lap onto stretches of pristine white sand. These are perfect for swimming, surfing, diving and a host of other water sports.
In addition to the stunning natural surrounds, KwaZulu Natal is also a significant commercial and industrial hub. The influx of international and national tourists every year has ensured that this province is fully equipped to handle their demands. In addition, Durban will be hosting some of the 2010 Fifa World Cup™ football matches. This has implied extensive work on increasing and improving the infrastructure of the entire province, an initiative that will benefit visitors for decades to come.
It was the Portuguese explorer, Vasco da Gama, who discovered Natal, despite the fact that African tribes had inhabited the region for centuries prior to his arrival. He first spotted the coast on Christmas Day in 1497 and named it after the Portuguese word for this religious day. The Boer farmers, who hailed mostly from Dutch settlers, gained ownership of this area from 1839 until 1843, when the British took over the rulership.
KwaZulu was declared a homeland for the Zulu people during the Apartheid regime, but was again made part of the province of Natal when South Africa became a democratic country in 1994.
KwaZulu Natal is a major epicentre in South Africa. As such, its roads are safe, tarred and well structured and the road signage is good.
Durban, in KwaZulu Natal, has an international airport. This makes this destination particularly convenient for visitors from all over the world. Johannesburg is approximately 6 hours’ drive away and is also famous for its international airport, as well as its fantastic tourist attractions. The roads between KwaZulu Natal and places like Cape Town, Bloemfontein, Pretoria, Johannesburg and Port Elizabeth are safe and well maintained.
Hired cars are widely available, as are cabs / taxis and tour busses. Tourists to South Africa are advised not to take minibus taxis, particularly if they are not familiar with the local customs or languages.
KwaZulu Natal boasts spectacular beaches. With sweltering summers and temperate winters, these are ideal throughout the year, making this a perfect family destination. These waters also allow for a multitude of water sports, including surfing, sailing, SCUBA diving, snorkelling, wind surfing, jet skiing and more. Marina Beach is a Blue Flag Beach. Attaining this globally recognised award means more than clean beaches and water safety. It focuses on sustainability and education, as well as the correct and ethical management of these beaches. Taking full advantage of these natural resources, there are many hotels, guesthouses and resorts situated throughout the province along the gorgeous coastline.
The annual Sardine Run is a must for those visiting KwaZulu Natal between May and July. Millions of these tiny fish migrate from the very bottom of South Africa right up to Durban. The shoal making this journey can measure several kilometres in length, and predators soar above and swim around it in search of a hearty meal. Thousands of the little fish also wash up onto the shore to be collected by locals and eaten or sold.
KwaZulu Natal offers visitors a plethora of fun, exciting and interesting activities. From adventure sports such as abseiling, bungee jumping, skydiving and off-road trails to golfing, bowls and whale watching, there is no shortage of activities and attractions to fill the day.
KwaZulu Natal has an interesting and varied topography, creating a range of climates within the confines of this one province. The coast is generally more subtropical in nature, while the inland areas experience a drop in temperature. Summer (December to March) is sweltering and humid, seldom dropping below 20 degrees Celsius even at night. Winters (June to August) are still fairly warm along the coast, with midday highs in the 20’s. Winters further inland can be very cold, and overnight temperatures may plummet below freezing.
Health threats like malaria are not common in KwaZulu Natal. However, should you be travelling to regions and game parks around this province, anti-malarial prophylaxes may be required. Consult with your doctor or travel clinic to get accurate advice.
It is vital that you bring existing prescriptions for medication and spectacles with you so that you are able to obtain these without having to consult with a doctor first.
Always apply insect repellent during the day and night to avoid being bitten by ticks, mosquitoes and other pests.
Sunscreen is essential in KwaZulu Natal all year round. In addition to a high-factor cream, you should also protect your face and neck with a broad-rimmed sunhat, as well as sunglasses and light, cotton clothing over your arms and legs.
Ensure that your tetanus shots are up-to-date in case of injury by broken glass or metal.
As with any other destination in the world, there are areas within towns and cities that are not safe. Consult with your tour operator and/or hotel so that you may be aware of which places to avoid. When walking around town or using public transport, do not leave your personal belongings unattended and do not accept help from strangers if it requires handing over your bank cards, photographic equipment, etc… Never pick up hitchhikers.