LIVING in one of the most beautiful places in the world is completely wasted if we don’t actually get out and visit these incredible sites.
Considering September is World Tourism Month – and with the tourism industry desperate for the support after the Covid-19 devastation – this is a great time to get out into the sunshine and explore our own backyard.
To get you started, here are some of KZN’s top tourism sites.
1. iSimangaliso Wetland Park
A Unesco World Heritage Site located right in Zululand – definitely worth a visit! Formerly called the Greater St Lucia Wetland Park, this is a biologically diverse park consisting of eight inter-connected ecosystems including coral reefs, lakes, dunes, savanna and swamplands. This is a great spot for wildlife viewing and a dip in the stunning Kosi Bay.
2. Hluhluwe-iMfolozi Park
If you live in Zululand and haven’t visited this world-famous game reserve, this is your year. It’s one of the few KZN game parks home to the Big Five, with massive conservation projects dedicated to the protection of rhinos. You can enjoy a self-game drive or overnight stay in the chalets, lodges or safari tents.
3. Emdoneni Lodge Cheetah Project
Also based in Hluhluwe is this incredible sanctuary that rehabilitates cheetah for the wild. Some of these animals were illegally being raised as pets, others were homeless and in need of a shelter, all of whom have found a happy home here. There is also comfortable accommodation with great South African hospitality and cuisine.
4. Sodwana Bay
Found along the ‘Elephant Coast’ is Sodwana Bay, with its golden sandy beaches, clear waters and incredible reefs which attract divers from around the world. It was off the coast of Sodwana Bay that the coelacanth, believed to be extinct, was found alive and well. This fish is more than 65 million years old, having outlived the dinosaurs!
5. Sani Pass
Between South Africa and the Kingdom of Lesotho is an 8km road climbing to a height of 2 876m. This road crosses through the Mzimkulwana Nature Reserve with stunning natural vegetation. Only four-wheel drive vehicles are allowed between the two frontier posts, with snow and ice making it more treacherous.
6. The KZN Battlefields Route
Zululand is a hive of history, having formed the site of battles between the Zulus, Boers and British. The modern-day Battlefields Route takes visitors to the actual battle sites, forts, memorials and museums with well-versed tour guides sharing incredible stories from way back when.
7. The Valley of a Thousand Hills
This is a stunningly green valley with seemingly thousands of grassy hills cut out by the Umgeni River. Beyond the incredible views, the region has a number of key visitor attractions such as museums and safari parks, as well as restaurants and craft outlets, and other retail options.
8. Oribi Gorge
Heading towards the KZN south coast is a spectacular gorge created millions of years back as the Umzimkulwana River wound its way seaward. There’s so much on offer in this incredible place including agritourism and heritage tours, extreme adventures (ziplining, suspension bridge, gorge swinging), game viewing and other great excursions.
9. The Midlands
Inland is the popular KZN Midlands, reminiscent of English countryside with its rolling green hills, lush lawns, streams, dams and rustic architecture. This is a great spot for a weekend break, with many activities on offer for children and adults alike.
10. Durban’s Golden Mile
For a more social, nature-based outing, Durban’s beachfront is a good bet. The upgraded Golden Mile is an inviting promenade with great entertainment venues, hotels, shops, restaurants and – of course – some of the best swimming beaches around. This is also home to the popular uShaka Marine World with its great slides, pools and world-famous aquarium.
Remember that Covid-19 is still very much about, so while exploring these incredible tourism spots, practice all regulations to keep yourself and your family safe.
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