KwaZulu-Natal is a fascinating mix of east and west. The combination of our colonial, Zulu and Indian histories has created a rich tapestry of cuisine, culture and lifestyle. The province is blessed with abundant natural beauty and temperate weather all year round, making it an essential stop on any visitor’s itinerary. Here are 10 “must do’s” to add to your list when you plan your next visit to Durban.
1. DRINK AN UMHLANGA SCHLING COCKTAIL, accompanied by a platter of fresh oysters from The Oyster Box’s own oyster beds, in the Lighthouse Bar
2. SURFING AND SURFING LESSONS ON DURBAN’S GOLDEN MILE
Famous on the ASP circuit for its waves, warm water, protected golden beaches…and pretty girls, the Durban coast is the perfect place for learning to surf. For novices a spot of body-boarding in the shore-break is a good starting point and for the more adventurous a paddle out to the back-line on a surf-board will get the adrenaline pumping.
3. MICROLIGHT FLIGHT UP THE EASTERN SEABOARD
See the KwaZulu-Natal coastline from Ballito is unspoilt with spectacular views of white beaches and azure ocean; its quite likely that you’ll see schools of dolphins as you make your way up the coast.
4. ALIWAL SHOAL
This has become internationally recognised as one of the top ten dive sites in the World. A huge array of fish species as well as rays,turtles, sharks and manta’s occupy the shoal, and schools of dolphins and pods of whales are frequent visitors. Today, scuba divers flock to the shoal in search of adventure.
5. VISIT TO SUMMERHILL STUD FARM WITH LUNCH AT HARTFORD HOUSE
The historic Summerhill Stud, which has been producing world-class race horses since the 1930s is renowned for its exceptional facilities, it is considered one of the finest stock raising environs in the world. Today, this farm is home to Africa’s most formidable band of young sire talent and includes among its stallion owners, the leading studs in Australia, Japan, the United States, Dubai and South Africa. Following the stud tour, dine in one of the country’s most popular award-winning restaurants, Hartford House, overseen by the executive chef, Jackie Cameron.
6. BUNNY CHOW
A snack rich in flavour and colonial history! “Invented” and made famous by the Indian immigrants working in the sugar-cane fields in colonial times, this is Durban’s street food at its finest. Half a loaf of fresh white bread hollowed out and filled with a selection of curried fillings from beans and chicken, to mutton and beef.
7. FULL DAY IN THE HLUHLUWE UMFOLOZI PARK
Take a game-drive through the oldest game reserve in Africa and one of KZN’s Big 5 protected areas OR stay at a Private Game Lodge for an exclusive accommodation and game-viewing experience.
8. VISIT THE OLD SPICE EMPORIUM
Take in the fragrant aromas of cumin and coriander together with the opulent colours of tumeric and chilli spices at one of the oldest and largest stockists of spices. Learn how to cook a delicious curry and buy wonderful spices to take home.
9. THE BATTLEFIELDS
Soak up KwaZulu-Natal’s historical past with a visit to the sites of the battles of Isandlwana and Rorke’s Drift, where British and Zulu forces clashed in bloody conflicts that shaped the course of South Africa and rocked the pedestal of the British Empire. This region boasts the largest concentration of battlefields in the southern hemisphere, where over a period of some 70 years, one historical drama after another unfolded against the backdrop of the African veld, sweeping grasslands and the majestic mountains of the Drakensberg range. The internationally renowned Battlefields route draws visitors from around the world. Every town, historical building, battle site and memorial has a fascinating tale to tell.
10. THE DRAKENSBERG
Visit one of South Africa’s World Heritage Sites, as you explore the mountains, caves, fauna and flora of this unique mountain area. En route, stop for a break at the highest bar in Africa (2874m above sea-level) at the top of the Sani Pass, on the border between South Africa and the mountain kingdom of Lesotho.