Attractions of KwaZulu-Natal province, South Africa

This is a spectacular province that boasts a well-watered, fertile region of rolling hills and a magnificent Indian Ocean coastline stretching approximately 600 kilometers (375 miles) from the Transkei region of the Eastern Cape in the south to Kosi Bay and the Mozambique border in the north.

Inland, the country rises to the foothills and then, precipitously, to the massive heights of the Great Escarpment (the Drakensberg) and the Maluti Mountains in Lesotho farther to the west. Pietermaritzburg, set in the hills some 90 kilometers (55 miles) from the coast, is the provincial capital, but by far the largest urban concentration is in and around Durban, South Africa's third city, leading seaport and popular holiday destination.

Durban sprawls along the coast to the south and across the Umgeni River to the north. The city's most distinctive topographical feature is the bay itself; it is vast and virtually landlocked, it's southern waters bounded by an 8-kilometer long (5 miles) and 250-meter high (820 feet) wooded headland known as the Bluff, it's northern by a narrower lower-lying sandy spit called the point.

Durban-Pinetown is said to be the world's fastest-growing conurbation, it's population expanding faster than those of Calcutta and Mexico City. The Golden Mile is the city's extremely popular strip (actually 6 kilometers / 4 miles) of glittering ocean frontage, and has amusement parks, pavilions, piers & pools, round-the-clock restaurants & nightspots, entertainment centers, colourful markets, wide white beaches, walkways and broad thoroughfares.

A short way to the south of the central business district a completely different world is to be found. This is a community set in a colourful, vibrant, exotic and wonderfully attractive environment fashioned by the city's Indian community. Here the air is aromatic, filled with the pungent scents of spice and sandalwood, incense and rose.

In and around Durban are found many splendid beaches (as well as world-renown surfing spots), traditional Zulu dwellings and game reserves. Amanzimtoti and Umhlanga Rocks are two popular coastal town resorts, both within 1/2 hour from the city center. The Hluhluwe-Umfolozi Park is the oldest game sanctuary is South Africa. Actually two neighboring areas, both were proclaimed in 1895. There are a large number of reserves and private game parks in this region. On the hills of northern KwaZulu-Natal are the thatched huts of the rural Zulu people. Since the chief Shaka led his people to victory over other tribes during the 1820's, the Zulu people have lived comfortable in these hills, now called Zululand.

Other areas of note in KwaZulu-Natal include Durban's Seaworld, the many fleamarkets, ricksha rides; and further away the Valley of a Thousand Hills, Port Shepstone, Margate, Port Edward and Richards Bay.

Average temperatures: January: 21 - 28 Celsius / 70 - 81 Fahrenheit. July: 11 - 28 Celsius / 52 - 81 Fahrenheit.