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Tourist Attractions of KwaZulu Natal

Highlights

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

Clean and Green in Pennington

Valda 5:15pm 21 Feb

Words Andrea Abbott, Pics Andrea Abbott and Lennart Eriksson

Reduce, re-use, recycle – it’s the clarion call of our times. Team Recycling in Pennington on the KwaZulu-Natal South Coast are certainly heeding it…

Vast amounts of rubbish strewn about South Africa suggest that there are far too many people ignoring the urgency of the situation, but then there are others who set an example by rolling up their sleeves to clean up their environment and keep it that way.

One inspiring group is Team Recycling in Pennington on the KZN South Coast...

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Mandela Monument

Nightjar Travel 6:30am 4 Aug

Mandela Monument

“I could not imagine that the future I was walking toward could compare in any way to the past that I was leaving behind.” Nelson Mandela, Long Walk to Freedom. (Picture taken at the Nelson Mandela Capture Site in Howick, KwaZulu-Natal.)

- Megan Pilditch

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#instawalk

Nightjar Travel 8:30am 11 May

#instawalk

They're not just for hipsters and creatives - instawalks are pretty much one of the best ways to intimately experience a place. All you need is a phone with a great camera, a keen eye and some friends. One of the best instawalks I have been on was at the Moses Madiba Stadium. We were granted access to the empty stadium, a mighty sight if there ever was one. After walking around the field and vacant stadium we took a little trip up the side of the stadium on the sidecar. There were #jumpstgrams, scenery shots and even a few selfies.   

- Megan Pilditch

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Lock your love

Nightjar Travel 6:30am 28 Apr

Lock your love 

Everyone is a romantic at heart, even if you have trouble admitting it. So when I casually drove past a fence dotted with colourful padlocks I thought I had suddenly been transported to Europe. Granted, it wasn’t as romantic as the Pont de Arts Love Bridge in Paris but South Africa had finally started its own love fence. A week later I was back with my boyfriend in one hand and a padlock in the other. While walking away from our little triumph we noticed a big sign… The fence was a tribute to our nation’s greatest hero, Madiba. Whooops. You can...

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Ike's Books & Collectibles

Nightjar Travel 10:30am 19 Feb

Ike’s Books & Collectibles

As soon as you walk into Ike’s you know you have entered a literary paradise. Stacked full of antique books, classics, first editions and second hand gems, this bookshop almost feels more like a museum. Vintage typewriters, telephones and antique collectibles lie in between bookcases that sit in the various rooms. There’s even books stacked to the kitchen ceiling. Something of a literacy institution in Durban well-known authors, political leaders and celebrities have taken to Ike’s walls to express their musings. Inspirational messages...

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Durban Natural Science Museum

Nightjar Travel 6:30am 13 Feb

Durban Natural Science Museum

Take any kid to see a life-size dinosaur and you will without a doubt make their day. Throw in some “real” giraffes, insects, birds and other wildlife and you’ve just about made their life. The Natural Science Museum in Durban may be rather small but what it lacks in size it makes up for in quality. The animal displays are well lit, interestingly designed and educational. And parents, there’s a captivating art gallery upstairs if you feel like some culture. And the best part about the Museum is it’s free. Parking is sparse on Durban’s...

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Addington Children’s Hospital

Nightjar Travel 10:30am 10 Feb

Addington Children’s Hospital

Durban locals will notice that the usually grim architectural icon on Durban’s beachfront looking a little cheerier. Colourful graffiti and murals have engulfed the perimeter of the Addington Hospital. Opened in 1931 the hospital was an all races facility, a concept that caused tension during Apartheid and eventually contributed to its closing down in the 1980’s. It was the first medical facility in all of Africa that was dedicated exclusively to kids. Since then the beautiful Victorian building has been abandoned and left derelict, an...

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KwaMuhle Museum

Nightjar Travel 8:30am 8 Feb

KwaMuhle Museum

The KwaMuhle Museum was arguably one of Durban’s most hated buildings during Apartheid. The infamous property was previously used as the Native Administration Department and was the center of the harsh labour system. Nowadays it’s a small museum that exhibits the history of Durban’s residents during Apartheid. Inside the courtyard is an eerie statue of three men representing all the people who used to wait for hours, even days, looking for a job and a work permit at the Department. The museum is open from Monday to Saturday and is free to the public....

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Fish traps in Kosi Bay

Nightjar Travel 11:55am 14 Jan

View of fish traps in Kosi Bay, Elephant Coast, KZN.

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Harvesting Mussels

Nightjar Travel 11:55am 7 Jan

Harvesting mussels, Elephant Coast, KZN.

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Fish Traps Kosi Bay

Nightjar Travel 11:55am 24 Dec

Fish traps in Kosi Bay, Elephant Coast, KZN.

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Victoria Street Market

Nightjar Travel 2:55pm 30 Nov

Who knew that a spice like this even existed! Almost hidden in the buzzing footpaths of Victoria Street Market in the centre of Durban is a spice shop that sells something completely unique. As one of the oldest markets in the city, Victoria Street Market is an historic landmark. It was formally established in 1910, before then it was an open-air affair. After a bizarre fire in 1973, the market was rebuilt on the corner of Queen Street and Victoria Street. Just like at this particular spice shop, most of the merchants are 3rd or 4th generation traders. They say there’s no escaping family...

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Surrey Mansions

Nightjar Travel 5:55am 13 Nov

The exquisite and well-kept art deco building in Durban, Surrey Mansions, dates back to 1937 and was designed by Langton & Barbourne. The intricate, pastel coloured and New York’esque block of flats on Currie Road truly made me stop and stare. You can’t quite get enough of this picture perfect high rise. The quirky building was made even more endearing to me when a young girl, about six, came bounding up to me to ask if I’d like to come inside and photograph inside too. Isn’t it great to know that one of Durban’s beautiful buildings is being housed by beautiful people too?

...

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Tsonga Fish Traps

Nightjar Travel 5:55am 24 Sep

Used for generations the Tsonga community have utilised this traditional fishing method as a sustainable way of sourcing food. Each fish trap that is situated in the tidal mouth of the Kosi Bay Estuary is owned by an individual family. They are solely in charge of looking after and maintaining it. This requires continually ‘upgrading’ the twigs and branches that are used in making the traps. Fish are ‘guided’ through the maze of fish kraals during the changing of the tides, funneled by fences into a circular catchment area at the end, and wait until the trap’s owner comes and fetches them...

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Moyo Cocktails

Nightjar Travel 2:55pm 31 Aug

Winter is the best time of the year on the east-coast. The days are filled with blue-skies and the nights are tranquil. It’s also the best time of the year to have sundowners on the pier and enjoy the Moyo experience as the sun sets and the city lights take your breath away. The Moyo Pier Bar is known as one of the best beachfront venues in South Africa: the cocktails are delicious and reasonably priced, the atmosphere is bursting with culture and the free face painting never disappoints. 

Only in Durban can you spend an evening in winter sitting on a pier overlooking the ocean...

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Air Fever!

Nightjar Travel 3:55pm 10 Jul

Air shows are incredibly voyeuristic – everyone is wonder of the advances in technology, the sleek new wings. And I love the thrilling formation flying displays. I’ve been to air shows all over the world – last year I was even fortunate enough to watch the ominous black wing of the Stealth Bomber blast through in the skies over San Francisco.

Granted the Margate edition of the KZN Winter Air Show couldn’t match that star-studded line-up – though they did achieve a world first formation when an Impala and a L29 jet flew together – but, despite the ominous weather, it was a crowd...

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Indaba 2013

Erik Brits 9:04am 13 May

We've spent the weekend running around Indaba 2013 researching and networking for our destination guide, so we haven't spent much time focussing on anything else, but here and there some things did catch our eye. The first was the suggestion during the opening ceremony that there was going to be a move towards more cooperative tourism between African countries in the coming years. Being keen flyfishermen and game photographers ourselves, this can only mean good things but in general, there are a wealth of opportunities just beyond our borders which are just waiting to be discovered. Also,...

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Reitz Roadside on the N3

Erik Brits 3:31pm 11 May

In one of those blink-and-you-missed it moments, yesterday while driving along the N3 we decided to pull off at a boring sign that simply said "Reitz Roadside", and what a fascinating little paradise did we discover! In the yard, giant potbelly pigs roamed, with a piglet or two in tow. We later learnt that they are easily persuaded to roll over for a scratch on the tummy. Turkeys and donkeys rounded off the farmyard experience, along with an extensive collection of artistic metalwork. The stop offers a restaurant, padstal and curio shop, but the whole experience is so unique that it is...

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Botha House

Nightjar Travel 7:00am 21 Mar

The historic Botha House, immutably perched on a hill overlooking Pennington Beach and the Umdoni Golf Course, was once a holiday cottage for heads of state. It is now run as a guesthouse and anyone can appreciate the timeless views from its historic rooms, expansive veranda or beautifully maintained garden. Situated in Umdoni Park, which protects about 200 hectares of the KwaZulu-Natal South Coast, it was built in response to General Louis Botha’s request for “two or three acres … to put up a cottage for Annie (Botha’s wife)”. The foundations of the Cape Dutch structure were laid in 1919...

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The Royal Kraal at Ondini

Nightjar Travel 11:40am 5 Dec

When the sun sets over the Makhosini Valley, it catches the smoke rising from cooking fires of its sprawling villages, turning the air golden. From the vantage point of the royal kraal at Ondini, 20 km east of Ulundi, it’s easy to imagine the old Zulu king, Cetshwayo, strategising with his councillors more than 100 years ago. 

This royal residence, which was both the judicial and legislative capital of the Zulu Kingdom from 1873 to 1879, was burnt down by British forces after the battle of Ulundi on 4 July 1879; the last battle of the Anglo Zulu War. The royal enclosure, an...

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