KwaZulu-Natal is the province with the largest population in South Africa. The Zulu culture is predominant here, although there is also a large Indian community (in fact, it is the largest Indian community outside of India), as well as immigrants from other African countries. The province is geographically diverse, ranging from pristine shores to the east to rugged mountains further inland, with the fertile Midlands sandwiched between the two. One of the key industries in the province is sugar cane farming, and it is not uncommon to see vast plantations of cane bending in the breeze. Workers harvest the cane with machetes, which are known locally as “pangas”.
The capital city of Durban is known for its hot, humid climate and fantastic beaches. The central beach zone is known as the Golden Mile, and extends for 6km (4 miles), with the Umgeni River at one end and the Point at the other. However, there are many beaches on either side of the Golden Mile as well. Being a port city, Durban offers various attractions at the water’s edge, as well as art galleries and museums.
If you want to leave the city behind, why not try one of several resorts to the north or south of the city? There are towns such as Amanzimtoti, Port Shepstone and Margate to the south, and Umhlanga Rocks, Ballito and Tongaat to the north. Getting away from the city bustle is easy in KwaZulu-Natal. Because the province is rich in natural beauty, there are several nature reserves, such as the St Lucia Game Reserve, False Bay Park, Sodwana Bay National Park, Cape Vidal State Forest, Sodwana State Forest, St Lucia Marine Reserve and Hluhluwe-Umfolozi National Park.
Moving further inland, one finds the Drakensberg Mountains (the name means “Dragon Mountain”). This range includes the highest peaks in South Africa, at around 3500m (11 500ft). Snow-capped in winter, they offer a glorious respite from the hectic lifestyle of the massive city.