Renowned for its warm waters, sunny beaches and conventional tourist attractions there are many reasons for the eco-tourist to pay a visit to this province. To the north of Durban lies Lake St. Lucia and a concentration of game reserves and private game ranches, where the Big Five can be seen. To the south lies the sub-tropical paradise of the South Coast and the Oribi Gorge. More inland are the Natal Midlands, where places of interest include the Howick Falls and Midmar Dam. Then, of course, there is the Natal Drakensberg, with its towering peaks and innumerable game reserves and hiking trails.
Reasons for Visiting KwaZulu-Natal:
- Ukhahlamba Drakensberg Park – The Ukhahlamba Drakensberg Park has exceptional natural beauty in its soaring basaltic buttresses, incisive dramatic cutbacks, and golden sandstone ramparts. Rolling high altitude grasslands, the pristine steep sided river valleys and rocky gorges also contribute to the beauty of this world heritage site.
- Greater St Lucia Wetlands Park – The Greater St Lucia Wetlands Park was declared South Africa’s first Natural World Heritage Site on 1 December 1999. It is considered South Africa’s third largest park and extends from Mapelane (Cape St. Lucia) in the South, to Kozi Bay in the North.
- Hluhluwe Umfolozi Game Reserve – The Hluhluwe Umfolozi Park is the only park under formal conservation in KwaZulu-Natal where the Big Five occur. Established in 1895, this is the oldest game park in South Africa along with nearby St Lucia Reserve.
- South Coast Beaches – Blue Flag certification started as an environmental and tourism campaign in Europe to assure visitors that certified beaches are clean, safe and environmentally sound.
- Midlands Meander – The enchantment of the Midlands has long inspired many a visitor and resident to creativity and as a result, local artists, potters and weavers combined to create an arts and crafts route in 1985, which was to become the highly successful and popular Midlands Meander.
- Sodwana Bay National Park – The small Sodwana Bay National Park consists of a narrow coastal strip of forest covered sand dunes. Sodwana Bay National Park was proclaimed in 1950 and is an angler’s paradise.
Population in KwaZulu-Natal:
10, 000, 000
KwaZulu-Natal easily averages about 320 days of sunshine a year. The seemingly endless humid summers are deliciously hot and winters are warm and sunny. Light rain falls throughout the year, although summer is the wettest season. For some people the best time to visit is between autumn and spring when there’s less humidity and temperatures are lower.
Best Time to Visit:
During the mid-summer months (December and January) >Durban’s beachfront sizzles, as temperatures rise above 30°C.
KwaZulu-Natal has around 320 days of sunshine a year, so beach holidays need not be restricted to summer. Winters are balmy, beaches are quiet, and the sea temperature seldom drops below 22°C, so you can go for a swim or surf even in mid-winter.
South African Rand (ZAR)
Tipping indicates appreciation for good service
Tipping is widely practiced in South Africa. Here is some information on South African tipping.
- In restaurants and bars, 10% is the accepted tipping standard.
- Parking attendants and security guards are common in parking lots and at roadside bays. They generally ask if they can watch your car while you are going about your business – if you agree, a tip of R2 and up should be offered, depending on the length of your stay.
- In South Africa we still have the luxury of petrol attendants at gas stations to fill up our vehicle tanks, check oil, water and tyre pressure, and clean the windscreens, a tip of R2 and up should be offered.
- The going rate for porters at airports is around R7 per piece of luggage.
- Some of the other service providers you may want to tip are taxi drivers, tour guides and assistants in hairdressers and beauty salons. Should you need assistance in taking your purchases from supermarket to your vehicle, you may want to show your gratitude to your helper with a small monetary reward.
South Africa is a very multicultural society and therefore has many different customs. Some examples:
- Our English customs are the same as Britain because South Africa was once a British colony and was influenced greatly by them.
- The Afrikaans customs, these were influenced by the Dutch immigrants during the late 1820’s.
- The Zulu culture has many unusual customs that are different from today’s western cultures. These are some traditional Zulu customs which are still practiced in parts of Kwa-Zulu Natal.