"Thanda" KwaZulu Natal (KZN)

by Katie Edwards Destinations

1. Durban

Cycle from Durban Harbour to the Umgeni River, along the marvelous promenade that stretches along Durban’s wonderful coastline. Bikes can be hired easily at Ushaka Marine or Bike and Bean, with loads of places to explore along the 10k route, including the chance to take in a cage dive with 3 metre sharks at the Marine Park. Head into the City, catch some of the City’s wonderful, original art-deco buildings, the beautiful City Hall, shoot some urban pool, and grab the sights, sounds and aromas of Victoria Street market.

2. Umhlanga

Heading 10k north out of Durban, the rugged coastline of Umhlanga is a must. A great beach walk takes you along this stunning piece of coastline, past the 60 year old lighthouse, the iconic Oyster Box, and the stylish Beverly Hills Hotel. Umhlanga has some lovely tiny little bistros, quality dining and amazing shopping. India’s culinary influence plays out beautifully here, with some amazing curries, plus the area has the largest shopping mall in the Southern Hemisphere, with its own waterslides and hotel.

3. Mkomazi River

Hiring a car from the coast, we think KZN has some of the most scenic drives in all of sub-Saharan Africa either side of the N3 route to Jo’Burg. An hour or so from Durban and the climate and landscape changes. Entering the valley home to the Mkomazi River the area is tranquil, predator-free and its views are simply flawless.

4. Sani Pass

The thrill of taking a 4x4 up Sani Pass into Lesotho has to be seen to be believed. The perilous ascent takes you into the UNESCO World Heritage Site, and some of the Drakensburg Mountain range most dramatic landscapes. Crossing the border into Lesotho, and reaching the summit at 2,873 is like stepping into another world. Ensure you set off early to get the best views.

5. Nambiti

Heading from the N3 through the historic town of Ladysmith brings you through to Nambiti. An area rich in game and luxury lodges, the Game Reserve is also home to the Kwa Cheetah project, the most successful breeding project in Kwa Zulu Natal. Their main goal is to release cats back into the African wilderness - cheetahs are taught to hunt from a very young age right up to the point where they are ready for release. Having bred numerous healthy cubs since opening in 2011, the first cats are due for release in early 2015.

6. North Drakensberg Range

Journeying through the Northern Drakensberg brings you into mountain biking and hiking country, where guided walks take you through lush scenery, and high into the heart of the ancient Bushman land. A further short hop and you’re into the historic battlefields at Spioenkop. With an accredited emphasis on Responsible Tourism, the wonderfully calming Three Tree Hill overlooks the secluded Mfazimnyama Valley of the Spioenkop Game Reserve, home to some of the county’s best game walks and Rhino Tracking.

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