1. uKhahlamba-Drakensberg Park
This magnificent World Heritage Site comprises a spectacular mountain range that stretches for over 200 kilometres, offering a nature-lover’s smogasbord of majestic mountains, valleys, waterfalls and streams to explore. It’s also home to ancient San rock art.
2. iSimangaliso Wetland Park
This World Heritage Site extends from Kosi Bay in the north (near to the Mozambique border) to Cape St Lucia in the south. A mix of five different ecosystems, this wetland wilderness boasts a wealth of biodiversity and is home to crocodiles, hippos and the leatherback turtle.
3. Hluhluwe-Imfolozi Game Reserve
One of Africa’s oldest and most celebrated game parks – the Park covers over 96 000 hectares and is home to the Big 5, many antelope species and incredible bird life. The park is also world-famous for its conservation of both endangered rhino species, the square-mouthed white rhino and hook-lipped black rhino.
4. The sardine run
Known as the ‘Greatest Shoal on Earth’ the annual sardine run, which takes place along Natal’s South Coast is a sight to behold. Thousands upon thousands of sardines make their way along the coast during winter – followed closely by a number of predators, including sharks, dolphins, whales and seabirds.
5. The Midlands
The Midlands region of KwaZulu-Natal has been likened to a typical English countryside, with its rolling hills, green lawns, streams and rustic atmosphere. Picture-postcard scenery and fresh air attracts visitors needing a break from city life on most weekends and over the holidays.
6. Sodwana Bay
Located along the province’s Elephant Coast, Sodwana Bay is characterised by pristine beaches, crystal clear waters and numerous reefs renowned for spectacular scuba diving. This region also happens to be favoured by the famous coelacanth.
7. Oribi Gorge
This spectacular gorge was created over millions of years as the Umzimkulwana River scythed its way through the rugged landscape. The Oribi gorge is home to more than 300 bird species and features spectacular scenery including overhanging rocks and horse-shoe river bends. It features one of the world’s biggest bungee swings!
8. Thukela Gorge
The Thukela Gorge lies below the source of the mighty Tugela River in the Drakensberg. A popular one-day hike takes walkers from the lower reaches of the river along contour paths right to the head of the gorge and up a chain ladder to the top of the escarpment. The view from the top is spectacular.
9. Pietermaritzburg Botanical Gardens
The Pietermaritzburg Botanical Gardens were established in the early 1870s with the aim of propagating and conserving rare and endangered indigenous plants. Apart from domestic varietals, the gardens also boast camphor trees, giant figs, magnolias and swamp cypresses. More than 150 bird species have been attracted by the profusion of flora.
10. The Valley of a Thousand Hills
With its seemingly thousands of rolling grassy hills, this verdant valley is home to the Zulu and scoured by the Mngeni River. Way above the river, overlooking the valley below are visitor attractions and craft outlets, along with restaurants that allow visitors the perfect vantage point from which to enjoy the beauty of this part of the country.