KwaZulu Natal is a province blessed with a wealth of beauty and history, the Drakensberg and continent's busiest harbour, the coast. About 26km from Durban is Inanda, which probably has more history per square metre than any other place in South Africa. It's a melting pot of Zulu, Indian and European cultures. KZN has over sixty game or nature reserves. Besides two World Heritage sites (WHS), the Greater St Lucia Wetland Park and the uKhahlamba Drakensberg Park, the province offers warm waters, tropical wetlands, spectacular mountains and relics of some of the great battles of South African history. The roots of the Zulu nation are deeply embedded in the fertile soil of Kwazulu Natal, hence the popular title, Kingdom of the Zulu. Appropriately named "South Africa's Garden Province", the lush and green province forms the east coast of South Africa from the Mozambique boundary southwards to Port Edward. The province is a subtropical coastline, with widespread savannah towards the east and the majestic Drakensberg mountain range featured in the west. Its beaches, washed by the warm Indian Ocean, designates it as one of the country's most popular holiday destinations.
Natural lakes in Kwazulu Natal are confined to the north-east coastal plain and all of the water bodies large enough to warrant this description are contained within the Greater St Lucia Wetland Park. The park system extends from the Mozambique border for more than 220 km south to Cape St Lucia. The width of the land portion varies from 1 km to 24 km. A Marine reserve component of 5km wide extends 155km along the length of the coast. The Park comprises the last remaining subtropical area containing its original diverse components of wild plants and animals on the south-eastern coast of Africa, and one of the last remaining in the world. Within the site are exceptional wetland, terrestrial and marine ecosystems with complement of species and migratory species. Landscapes are outstanding and the geomorphological processes by which they are formed are believed to be of universal importance given their evolution subsequent to the fragmentation of the Gondwana super-continent.
Greater St Lucia Wetland Park
A World Heritage Site, the park comprises a lake, islands and an estuary encompassing a number of eco-systems -forests, grasslands, scrub-covered dunes, beaches and coral reefs. Famous for its bird life, such as flamingos and pelicans, the estuary is also inhabited by Nile crocodiles, hippo, waterbuck plus many other species of African wildlife. Cruises operate on Lake St Lucia. Nearby is the renowned Phinda private game reserve. Head north for the world's southernmost coral reef in the Sodwana Bay National Park.
uKhahlamba Drakensberg Park
uKhahlamba is Zulu for "barrier of spears", an apt name for the jagged peaks of the Drakensberg Mountains. The park, a World Heritage Site, boasts spectacular topographical features like the Amphitheatre, a four km. long, 1,000 metre high crescent of basalt rock, the dome of MontauxSources, rising 3 282 meters, and Cathedral Peak. The Thukela Falls, which plunge 948 meters down sheer cliffs, are another outstanding feature. The park is also known for its stunning San rock art. Activities include hiking and horse-riding.
In general, subtropical climate is kind to visitors throughout the year. Especially during summer, rainfall is generous. Summers can be very hot and humid. Game parks are best visited in winter; but the Indian Ocean is warm enough to swim in all year round. (Note that malaria is endemic in the low-lying areas of coastal Zululand and Maputaland.)