KwaZulu-Natal named a leading place to visit in 2022 by Bloomberg

Posted on 12 January 2022

You may be asking where to go in this, the third year of the pandemic, when travel is showing tentative green shoots. KwaZulu-Natal, answers Bloomberg. The newsgroup’s list focuses on new ways to gather in its annual list of Where To Go – in which KZN is named an ‘unsung, malaria-free safari region’.

The province is chockful of fun, with everything on offer from the city lights of Durban, warm-water surfing and hiking in the Drakensberg to the crafty Midlands Meander and outstanding conservation destinations.

READ: The ultimate guide to a day in KwaZulu-Natal’s magical Midlands

The leap off Lehr’s Waterfall in Oribi Gorge is reputedly the highest gorge swing in the world. Picture: Getaway gallery 

On the South Coast, head straight for the Oribi Gorge Nature Reserve, just inland of Port Shepstone. Besides the spectacular hiking, thrill-seekers should try the Wild Swing, operated by Wild5adventures. At 165m, it is said to be the world’s highest gorge swing. You hurl yourself off the edge of Lehr’s Falls, to fall into the 55-storey deep gorge – accelerating at up to 120km/h in 2.5 seconds.

The company also offers a 110m abseil, among other adventures.

Also in Oribi, Lake Eland has 14 zipline tours; the longest is 680m long and 300m high above the gorge. There is also a line through a tunnel – in all, you can zipline 4.5km.

Three cheetah cubs born in Hluhluwe-iMfolozi Park

Female cheetah (CF23) and her three new cubs in the Hluhluwe-iMfolozi Game Reserve. Picture:  Jarryd Foster of Wildlife ACT

Game reserves

Up north, the province is given over to the wild. The state-run Hluhluwe-iMfolozi Game Reserve is the oldest proclaimed reserve in Africa and is home to the Big 5.

The iSimangaliso Wetland Park up in the far north of the province is a Unesco World Heritage Site that offers beaches, bird watching, fishing, boat cruises, game drives, scuba diving and more. It is also the only African nesting ground of loggerhead and leatherback turtles.

There are also the Battlefields, with 82 battlefields, museums, old fortifications and places of remembrance along the route. The sites encompass several eras, wars and campaigns, such as early Zulu conflicts, the South African War and the Bhambatha Rebellion.

World wildlife populations declined by 68% since 1970

Pangolins are highly trafficked animals, and many make their home in KwaZulu-Natal. Credit: SAPS

New lodges

For Bloomberg, the standouts are Babanango Travellers Camp, due to open in May. It has 12 tented suites on the banks of the White Umfolozi River, and ‘will offer a first-hand look at how conservationists create reserves’, says the news group.

‘Its 54 000 rewilded acres, repopulated thus far with antelope and rhino, contain mist-shrouded grassland, golden savanna, and a riverine forest where 310 avian species have been spotted; the reintroduction of more species is in the works.’

It also singles out The Homestead in Nambiti Private Game Reserve. There are 12 unique suites, six with their own roof gardens, six with their own pools, due to open in April.

Eco-friendly design includes grey-water recycling, rain-water harvesting, solar energy and a fleet of all-electric luxury 4x4s. They will prevent about nine metric tons of CO2 from being released into the atmosphere each year and because they’re practically silent, they’re far less likely to frighten or disturb the wildlife, points out the lodge.

Last on Bloomberg’s list is AndBeyond’s Phinda Vlei Lodge.

Its activities include helping the conservation team with rhino, elephant or pangolin research.

These are just a few highlights of the action-packed province, but if you prefer the lazy option, there are plenty of superb beaches for rest and relaxation.

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