Tourist Attractions of KwaZulu Natal
Tourist Attractions of South Africa
South Africa is a vast and extremely fascinating country that packs a powerful tourist punch. Few countries can match it for variety and diversity in attractions, activities and cultural groups. From art and history to food and wine, wildlife and nature, nightlife, shopping and even places of worship – there is so much on offer to attract, entice and entertain.
The Western Cape with its mountains and oceans offers scenery that has inspired thousands of descriptions. It has great beaches, World Heritage sites, romantic winelands and museums that celebrate a rich cultural heritage. You can’t talk about a trip to Cape Town without discussing the fabulous cuisine and shopping options that draw tourists time and time again.
Gauteng’s brash exterior belies its depth, uncovered at numerous cultural and historical attractions. Places like Constitution Hill, the Apartheid Museum and Soweto feature alongside chi-chi restaurants, funky galleries, shopping malls and fascinating visits to the Cradle of Humankind, where all our stories began.
In Mpumalanga you’ll find a host of nature-related attractions, arts and crafts outlets, country towns, cultural villages and stupendous scenery along the well-known Panorama route. Of course one of the major attractions is the world-famous Kruger National Park.
Limpopo shares this wildlife sanctuary - the size of a small country - and has many of its own nature reserves. It also boasts the fascinating Mapungubwe, where once an ancient kingdom developed a field of influence that spread beyond the continent. Intriguing groups such as the Venda and the Balobedu still practise culturally-rich traditions in the far north of this region.
The North West is all about Sun City, and the Pilanesberg and Madikwe Game Reserves, but don’t forget the mampoer farms and the idiosyncrasies of the Marico, the cultural mélange at Lesedi on the shores of the Hartebeespoort Dam or the little town of Taung where the famous skull of the same name was discovered. From the Margaret Roberts Herbal Farm (De Wildt) to Sol Plaaitje’s house in Mafikeng, there’s much to explore.
Immense skies and enormous spaces characterise the Northern Cape, along with attractions such as the Big Hole in Kimberley, the Loeriesfontein Windmill Museum and the myths and legends as taught by the ancient San. The Augrabies Falls National Park, the Ais/Ais Richtersveld National Park and the Riemvasmaak community all offer interesting experiences and insights.
KwaZulu-Natal has its own brand of uniqueness when it comes to tourist attractions. Here you can visit a Hare Krishna temple in Durban, pay your respects at the Battlefields in the Midlands, come face to face with Zulu culture and celebrate some of the finest beaches along the Indian Ocean coastline. Sunny year-round, the province has great places to shop, eat, and discover.
The Eastern Cape is a place of rich heritage and struggle sites. Here historic monuments find their place alongside fun aquariums and beachside establishments. Malaria-free game sanctuaries and numerous nature reserves thrill adventure-seekers and nature-lovers.
Small towns and homegrown hospitality are the distinctive attributes of the Free State. Visit the Basotho Cultural Village on the way to the spectacular Golden Gate National Park, visit the Choet Visser Rugby Museum in Bloemfontein or the Fertility Caves (outside Clarens). Make your way to the fun galleries of Clarens, feast visually on the sandstone sights of Ficksburg and drink in the fascinating history of the provincial capital, Bloemfontein.
Wherever you go around the country, you’re bound to find a fun attraction, a moving museum, a great place to enjoy the local vibes. Enjoy surfing the Nightjar site for the best attractions on offer in each of the provinces.
Articles & Blogs
Meandering the Midlands6:55pm 14 Dec
Words Gerhard Horn, pics GG van Rooyen
It’s nice to be reminded how lucky we are to be South African. We often forget how beautiful our country is and just how much it has to offer in terms of tourist destinations.
Obviously we’re all aware of the firm favourites such as the KwaZulu-Natal coast, the Western Cape, Mpumalanga and the nature reserves in the North West, but we tend to overlook the KZN Midlands. We have just returned from a short visit to this region, and we’re tempted to call it SA’s best kept secret.
For years we thought of the Midlands as a place you...
The Man with the Golden Car6:30am 1 Aug
The Man with the Golden Car
The only words that we managed to muster were, “Only in Durban”. Literally, where else in the world would you find a car like this? The reflection from the car shone so bright in my eyes it actually blinded me. But I couldn’t stop looking, and the owners didn’t seem to mind a bit.
- Megan Pilditch
Howick Falls6:30am 22 Apr
Howick is more than just a small town and a great retirement spot. This peaceful place, nestled in the KZN Midlands, is home to a beautiful 310 foot waterfall which lies on the Umgeni River. Visitors to Howick Falls have the option of viewing the great wall of water from a distance, or embarking on a 30 minute hike to the bottom of the falls - both are rewarding and provide great photo opportunities. If you like a bit of retail therapy, the surrounding area is littered with neat curio shops, rich with South African style and you will be surprised at how many foreigners...
Cable Car Beach Front8:30am 1 Mar
Cable Car Beach Front
Durban’s fun fair on North Beach offers a wide mix of activities, my personal favourite being the cable car ride. The chance to view Durban’s spectacular beaches and harbour from above, whether at day or night, is so enticing! As I am quite afraid of heights it was a comfort to share a cable car seat with my two close friends, and to be in the vicinity of many an unfamiliar yet encouraging and friendly face on the seats in front and behind us. For a mere R20 we were able to sit in silent awe as we circled the night sky looking out at twinkling...
Makaranga Gardens10:30am 21 Feb
If you feel like escaping from the hustle and bustle of city life then look no further than Makaranga Gardens. Hidden in Kloof, this 30 acres lush garden has eighteen ponds, a labyrinth, meandering streams, a charming Japanese garden and even a waterfall. Choose a delicious picnic from their deli and head out into the large gardens to find a peaceful spot to relax for the afternoon. They also provide picnic blankets and cushions. There’s even a pool, if the Durban heat becomes too unbearable. And if you’re really feeling like treating yourself, they have an impressive spa and restaurant...
Mitchell Park Zoo6:30am 17 Feb
Mitchell Park Zoo
Tucked away in the middle of leafy Morningside is a quaint little zoo. Established in the early 1900’s Mitchell’s Park Zoo was originally an ostrich farm. Now it’s Durban’s only zoo. The mini zoo is home to a range of animals including birds, meerkats, antelope, raccoons and even a shy bushbaby. Look out for the park’s oldest resident, an ancient tortoise called Admiral that was bought to the zoo in 1915. Surrounded by a park and playground the zoo is a perfect outing for kids. There’s also the Blue Zoo Restaurant if you’re feeling peckish. And at...
Durban’s ‘little Venice’2:55pm 23 Nov
Durban’s ‘little Venice’
Situated on Durban Point Waterfront canal next to Ushaka Village Walk is the romantic and relaxing gondola rides. Upon arrival you will see these beautiful man-made canals, lined by palm trees, slipping in between new and modern building developments. A friend and I had a peaceful picnic on our journey through the canals that left us feeling impressed and rejuvenated…so much so that we are planning a return to Durban’s ‘little Venice’ soon! Tickets for the ride are a little pricey (R80 per gondola, which fits two) however I don’t regret a...
A day at the stadium2:55pm 19 Oct
A day at the stadium
I may be a little biased, but the Moses Mabhida Stadium in Durban has to be one of the best around. It’s so much more than just a soccer pitch. Start your day off with a burst of energy and leap off the stadium arch from the only stadium swing in the world. Alternatively, for the fainthearted, enjoy a good breakfast at one of the restaurants that surround the stadium and then either take a walk up the stadium arch or get a ride in the Sky Car. You can also spend your money at the monthly iHeart Market or save it for the annual Top Gear festival...
Umhlanga Lighthouse5:55am 8 Oct
Who runs the lighthouse?
The Umhlanga Lighthouse, an iconic feature on the Umhlanga coastline, has been running since 1954. It was built to replace the Bluff lighthouse, which was deteriorating at a rapid rate at the time. Interestingly, the lighthouse has never had an in-house keeper. Instead the Oyster Box Hotel was and still is the official warden of the lighthouse. The hotel was launched in 1869 and was the first beach cottage to be built in the area. The Oyster Box still continues to manage the lighthouse with the controls being kept in the hotel office where...
Looking down2:55pm 21 Sep
Somewhere in the coolness of the 90s, zip-lining lost its appeal. I think it was somewhere between it becoming a popular team-building exercise for corporates or a school tour “adventure”, when the excitement of whizzing through a forest canopy dwindled. However, with panoramic views framed by a lush treetop canopy, Karkloof Canopy Tours supplies enough incentive to forget about such trivialities. For one, The Canopy is a birder’s paradise, and if you’re fed up looking for Cape Parrots in the Cape and Knysna Loeries in Knysna, I can tell you that they’ve all relocated here. The idea of zip...
Afraid of heights?11:55am 27 Jul
Durban sure does have a beautiful view. One way of seeing the cosmopolitan skyline is by ascending the side of the Moses Madiba Stadium, the city’s Soccer World Cup icon. The skycar, which is basically a glass box, moves slowly up the arch, stops at the top for a few minutes, and then descends again. This affords you a great 360 degree view of the city through the see-through walls. The skycar operates daily from 9am until 6pm and are reasonably priced. Catch the last shuttle at 5:30 to capture twilight hour. Not a bad way to spend an afternoon!
– Megan Pilditch
Durban at Daybreak7:00am 1 Mar
Waking up at 4am seems rather absurd to most people, but if you have not yet experienced a sunrise over the Durban ocean then you need to start re-setting your alarms and rubbing the sleep from your eyes. Head down to Moyo Pier – located on the south side of the Golden Mile promenade – and appreciate the beauty of a Durban morning. In front of you is the shimmer of the sun on the horizon and behind you is a panoramic view of the Durban skyline. And there’s nothing as invigorating as a quick dip in a sun-kissed ocean so make sure you take your swimming...