Durban, and its surrounding area, is South Africa’s underrated tourism jewel.
How to get there
Durban and its surrounding tourist regions are easily accessible, as visitors can opt to drive or, for those who prefer to fly, King Shaka International Airport offers a variety of daily flights.
Mkhuze Airport is undergoing a massive R32 million (€2m) upgrade. The airport is north of Richards Bay and is expected to further grow tourism in the area.
The new developments of at the airport are expected to benefit the numerous game reserves in the region, making them even more accessible.
Where to stay
There is an abundance of accommodation options, catering for five-star all the way to budget-conscious travellers. There is the Fairmont Zimbali Hotel and Zimbali Lodge, which is high-end accommodation, the Salt Rock Hotel with beautiful surroundings and numerous food options, to La Montaggne Hotel and Resort famous for its vibe and nightlife.
Fairmont Zimbali Hotel.
If your clients are looking for something a little more rustic, they can choose between Salt Rock Caravan Park, Cane Cutters in Umhlali, or Chaka’s Rock Chalets on the Beach Road.
Those looking for seclusion can opt for Palmland Bed and Breakfast. A treasure trove in the north is Blythedale Beach, which has various options to choose from. Kearsney Manor, a guesthouse towards Maphumulo from Stanger offers old-world charm, allowing guests to switch off.
For nature lovers, there is Zinkwazi Lagoon Lodge and Nkwazi Camp Site, which is set among the sand dunes, making it an ideal spot for campers. The Amatikulu Nature Reserve offers rustic cabins and bungalows and is perfect for those wanting to canoe, fish, swim and stroll along the stretches of beach and river. Guests can also pitch a tent on the reserve.
What to do
Northern KZN offers an abundance of activities, ranging from beach to bush, and everything in between.
Thompsons Bay, home to the famous ‘granny pool’ and the ‘hole in the wall’, a unique rock formation, is popular amongst tourists and locals.
Clarke Bay has a constant buzz, with various activities available. For the foodies, the bay is lined with restaurants and, for the young at heart, the nightclubs adjacent to the beach precinct boast a vibrant nightlife. Close by is Salmon Bay, a go-to for surfers and deep-sea anglers. 5FM holds its Ballito New Year’s Eve Party here too.
For the bush lovers, northern KZN has numerous game reserves with the Big Five. For the birding fanatics, the region is known to host a wide variety of birds; Amatikulu Nature Reserve is the perfect option for the bird-watchers.
Visitors can enjoy some of the most rewarding fishing, from the freshwater fishing in dams and lagoons, surf fishing along the shore and deep-sea fishing.
uShaka marine theme park has the fifth-largest aquarium in the world and is a great day out for the whole family.
The aquarium is home to various shark species, rays, morays, local game fish and dolphin, just to name a few.
Oribi Gorge is a must, as visitors can either get active and enjoy the numerous hikes on offer, go abseiling, zip line across the top of the gorge, or sit back and relax and enjoy the scenic views while enjoying a picnic.
The gorge is 24 kilometres long, carved out by the Umzimkulwana River. The reserve is inhabited by five species of kingfisher, and seven species of eagle, as well as leopards, baboons, small antelope and prolific birdlife.
The Midlands Meander is one of the most popular arts and crafts routes in South Africa, featuring over 150 destinations. Tourists can get involved in outdoor activities, go to family-friendly farms and enjoy canopy tours, as well as hot-air ballooning, not to mention the choice of golf courses in the region.
The city of Durban is another go-to for tourists, as it is the province’s business and industry hub, often referred to as SA’s Miami Beach, with its extensive shorelines and promenades.
Durban’s port is the busiest in SA and is one of the ten largest in the world. The weather in the city feels as if it is summer all year round.
Howick Falls is 95 metres high and is on the Umgeni River, known as ‘KwaNogqaza’ by the Zulu people, which translates into ‘place of the tall one’.
The area near the falls was thought to have been occupied by humans over 30 000 years ago, prior to any western influence and local legend is that the falls are occupied by a resident giant serpent-like creature, Inkanyamba.
The falls have become a go-to with tourists visiting the Midlands.
The Ampitheatre, one of the main geographical features of northern Drakensberg is regarded as one of the most imposing cliff faces in the world.
The cliff face is around three times the size of the Yosemite’s El Capitan in California, and more than ten times the size of its southwestern face.
It forms part of the Royal Natal National Park.