The Easter holidays are around the corner, the ideal time to take a breather from your daily slog and enjoy a fun-filled autumn holiday in KwaZulu-Natal (KZN).
Autumn is the best time of year in KZN. The bright sunny days are cooler and less muggy, the rainy season is easing up and the mild evenings are ideal for alfresco dining, braaiing, sitting around a campfire, or taking a night safari.
Rally your family and friends and plan a mid-week break or a long weekend to take in the wonders of KZN.
Surf, sand, and shisanyama
When last did you build a sandcastle on the beach? With 600km of coastline and magnificent bright sunny weather, KZN holidaymakers have plenty of options in which to frolic in the waves and play in the sand.
If you’re looking for a little adventure, snorkelling at Sodwana Bay or at some of the wrecks dotted along the East Coast will reveal a marine world populated by stingrays, octopus, butterfly and sturgeon fish, tiger, and ragged tooth sharks and even passing whales.
When the fresh sea air brings on the munchies and you haven’t packed a picnic there are plenty of eateries including the local Shisanyama to satisfy the whole family.
Magnificent beach walks and rock pools
Although the obvious destination in KZN might seem to be the coast, not every visit has to be the traditional beach towel and suntan lotion-type experience. Dotted along the KZN Coast are some really special marine protected areas and even historical sites, not to mention the iSimangaliso Wetland Park.
Enjoy walking along some of the magnificent beaches with their rock pools and expanses of white sand. Peek at the massive Nile crocodiles catching some sun at the mouth of the St Lucia estuary or make your way through the exotic dune forests.
Along the South Coast, you can enjoy six blue flag beaches – Marina, Trafalgar, Southport, Umzumbe, Ramsgate, and Hibberdene – while on the North Coast are three blue flag beaches – Thompson’s Bay, Willard, and Blythedale.
Visit hidden treasures
If you’re heading South, take a guided tour through the fossil-filled Petrified Forest or visit one of the world’s smallest deserts. Alternatively, grab an old-style map and try to find all the wonderful old-world lighthouses along the KZN coast. You could even organise a trip to the Whaling Station on Durban’s Bluff, now with heritage site status as a tribute to growing whale conservation.
Take a glamping safari
KZN is also one of the provinces with one of the greatest safari and wildlife offerings. There’s a huge variety of experiences on offer – from camping at Mpila in the Hluhluwe Umfolozi Park to pitching your tents at Cape Vidal, Zululand’s Bonamanzi, or even the Tala Private Reserve near Pietermaritzburg.
With a slightly bigger budget, you can try glamping – larger safari tents with the comforts of a four or even a five-star hotel and bush-style meals to match. Tembe Elephant Park is a great location with the added bonus of meeting up with some of the province’s big tuskers.
A stop-off at Springbok Lodge at Nambiti is another great glamping opportunity with regular game drives into the big five reserves. You’ll be amazed by the wide range of glamping opportunities that extend from the Pongola Game Reserve and Hluhluwe Bush Camp Glamping village through to beautiful lakeside and mountainside spots in the Drakensberg.
Sample some of KZN’s best cuisine
Last but not least, don’t let your holiday end without sampling some of KZN’s best cuisine and the famous Bunny chow.
If it’s haute cuisine you want, try the likes of Cleopatra’s Guest House, Hartford House, or the Jackie Cameron School of Food and Wine in Hilton. Pay a visit to 9th Avenue Bistro, and Havanna Grill in Durban, and explore Umhlanga and Florida Road for the very best gastronomy.
Looking for something a little out of the ordinary? Pull in at Surfriders Café on the Durban Promenade or enjoy high tea on the veranda at the Oyster Box Hotel. If you’re south, head to the iconic waffle house for a never-to-forget treat or go inland to the Fables Eatery where the ingredients for the delicious dishes are sourced from their beautiful Midlands Garden.
With so much to do, KZN is the province that has it all, so do something different this holiday and make lasting memories.
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