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Kwazulu Natal, South Africa

Kwazulu Natal, South Africa

Durban is the largest city in the South African province of KwaZulu-Natal and the third largest city in the country. It forms part of the eThekwini metropolitan municipality. Durban is famous for being the busiest port in South Africa. It is also seen as one of the major centres of tourism because of the city's warm subtropical climate and extensive beaches. The municipality, which includes neighboring towns, has a population of almost 3.5 million, making the combined municipality the biggest city on the east coast of the African continent.

Natal Sharks Board and uShaka Marine World

Natal Sharks Board
The only organisation of its kind in the world, the Natal Sharks Board protects beach users in KwaZulu Natal against shark attack with an extensive and effective network of shark nets that extend along 320 kilometres of coastline.  The KZNSB welcomes and encourages visits by members of the public to its complex in Umhlanga Rocks where they can view a 25 minute audio-visual presentation on the day to day work done by the KZNSB as well as on the important role sharks and other animals play in the marine ecosystem. This is followed by a 20 minute dissection.  Visit the display hall and view the large variety of lifelike replicas of sharks, fish and rays, including that of a 892 kg great white shark.
 

uShaka Marine World
At the end of Durban's Golden Mile is the beginning of uShaka Marine World - spanning over 15 hectares of prime beach front, uShaka Marine World is Africa's largest Marine Theme park.  uShaka incorporates fresh and sea water, lush vegetation, natural materials and the re-creation of a wreck of a 1940's cargo ship. With the 5th largest aquarium in the world by volume of water, the park is tatesfully themed with a focus on family entertainment.  Located in the centre of uShaka Marine World you can experience the salt water aquarium with indoor and outdoor displays and exhibits, a 1200 seater dolphin stadium where you'll be entertained by the world-famous Dolphins, the seal stadium and penguin rookery.  A fresh water entertainment wonderland, Wet 'n Wild World offers exhilarating fun and safe entertainment for the whole family. It features separate swimming pools for kids and adults, relaxing river rides and high speed chutes for the adrenaline junkies. This is the place where the wild at heart are set free to experience adrenaline pumping action.

Moses Mabhiba Stadium, Kings Park Stadium and Kingsmead Stadium

Moses Mabhiba Stadium
To make way for this prestigious contribution Kings Park Stadium was demolished in late 2006 to develop a new stadium complex set to comprise of an adjoining indoor arena, sporting museum, sport institute and a new transmodal transportation station in preparations ahead of the world showpiece.  The catering capacity is set to comprise of 70 000 spectator seats. There are plans and allocations to increase the capacity of the stadium to 84 000 seats in the future to further accommodate major events such as Olympics.

Kings Park Stadium (aka Absa Rubgy Stadium OR The Shark Cage)
The Absa Rugby Stadium is often reffered to as The Shark Cage due to the blood-bath that is caused as the KZN Sharks take on their prey during national and international rugby games.

Kingsmead Stadium
Kingsmead is a cricket ground in Durban, KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa. It operates under the sponsorship-based name of Sahara Stadium Kingsmead.  It is the home ground of the KwaZulu-Natal Dolphins.

KwaMule Museum, Durban Natural Science Museum, Bergtheil Local History Museum and Geology Education Museum

KwaMuhle Museum
The notorious building that was once the "Department of Native Affairs" where every black South African in Natal was required to register in the days of Apartheid, now houses a museum dedicated to tracing the history of racial laws in Durban, including memorable video and photographic exhibits. Despite this the building is known to all as KwaMuhle, meaning ‘place of the good one’, the name honouring a white man who ran the department but did his best to fight the system within its constraints.
  
Durban Natural Science Museum
The Durban Natural Science Museum is dedicated to the earth, it's history, it future, its life and the life forms that live and have lived on it.  The educational backbone of young scientists is fossilised amongst displayed skeletons of extinct species. A visit presents an opportunity for a future bright spark to come face to face with a past Dodo and for a current full-scale adult specimen to feel insignificant alongside the life-size reconstruction of the Tyrannosaurus-Rex dinosaur.  See stuffed insects, birds, fish and reptiles that echo evidence of their earthly existence. Explore the Hall of Earth Sciences Gallery, meet Peter Amen the authentic Egyptian Mummy and journey back in time with innovative exhibitions informing on the origins of Africa.
  
Bergtheil Local History Museum
The Bergtheil Museum was named after Jonas Bergtheil.  The museum focuses on the 1848 German settlers that Jonas Bergtheil brought to Natal as Director of the Natal Cotton Company and their contribution to the settlement of Westville, Cleremont and New Germany.  The Bergtheil Museum also has a wonderful collection of photographs, documents and artefacts. The building has undergone alterations over the years but the original cottage still features massive stonewalls and hand-hewn yellowwood floors. The building was declared a National Monument in 1983.
  
Geology Education Museum
The museum provides a series of displays pertaining to the high school geography syllabus, ranging from a basic introduction to minerals and rocks, to the fields of Economic and Structural Geology and Palaeontology. A more detailed display in the Geology of KwaZulu Natal is intended to promote an awareness of our immediate geological environment.

 
Mini Town, Durban Harbour Cruise, Splash Water World, Fantasy Forest, Rock Climbing

Mini Town
One of Durban's best-loved attractions, Mini Town gives a good impression of some of Durban's landmarks and a walkabout will give you an opportunity to view excellent models of some of Durbans most interesting buildings. One of the most popular features of Mini Town is the rail network with trains continually on the go and the airport complete with aeroplanes. The harbour scene features a tug and ship travelling around the harbour. A visit to Mini Town is an interesting way for both young and old to acquaint themselves with Durban. The buildings reach just above knee height and provide you with a perspective that could never be appreciated when walking through the city.
 
Durban Harbour Cruise
A harbour cruise in the Port of Durban will offer you the opportunity to follow the route that a container ship takes from the harbour mouth to it's berth. You will see how containers are loaded and offloaded and how they are transported around the harbour. There are usually plenty of seals in the harbour and you can watch them frollicking in the boats' wakes.
 
Splash Water World
Splash Water World water park provides families with a full days entertainment.  Its mix of speed and body rides caters for both adrenaline junkies and the less adventurous. Kids are guaranteed to be exhausted by the end of the day.  Speed slides include the coaster tube ride, kamikaze and stuka free fall. Other body rides are the famous “washing machine” and midi body ride. There are also a variety of rides for the little kiddies, a water mushroom and river ride.
 
Fantasy Forest
Great fun and entertainment for the whole family (Kids of all ages!) at Fantasy Forest.  Here you can enjoy Ten Pin Bowling, there is a Pool & Action Bar, Go Carts, Bumper Cars, Mini Golf, Foofie Slide and an Amusement Arcade.
 
Climb “The Rock”
Dare to climb The Rock - the Worlds Highest Indoor Climb. 'The Rock' offers amazing adrenaline-pumping activities including once-off casual climbing.

 
Sugar Terminal and Hare Krishna Temple

Sugar Terminal
Here you’ll see three enormous silos that can hold as much as 500,000 tons of refined sugar, a truly colossal sight for any first-time visitor.  It is worth noting that the South African sugar trade is one of the world's leading price competitive producers of high-quality sugar. It is a very varied industry that combines the agricultural activities of sugarcane agriculture with the industrial factory production of raw and refined sugar, specialized sugars and a range of other by-products.  The Sugar Terminal at the Durban Bay is one of the largest in the world.  At the Sugar Terminal, sugar from the silos is loaded onto cargo ships and then transported from Durban's harbor to destinations all over the world.
 
Hare Krishna Temple (aka Sri Sri Radhanath Temple of Understanding)
The incredible architecture of the temple - marble tiles, gold-tinted windows, brass ornaments, crystal chandeliers and golden statuettes are more than a little impressive, they are decadently lavish.  The Hare Krishna Temple was designed in the shape of a Lotus plant and built in 1969. It is regarded as the largest Hare Krishna temple in Africa, and it makes a fascinating visit, not least because of the beautiful gardens, which were added six years after the temple was built.  Enormous, colourful panels on the ceiling of the temple represent the pastimes of Lord Krishna, and imported Chinese lanterns and gold-plated rooftops add a further element of opulence.

Inchanga Choo Choo

Inchanga Choo Choo
 
The Valley of 1 000 Hills is breath-taking thanks to dramatic landscapes and verdant greenery. But, enjoying this incredible part of South Africa and KwaZulu-Natal is even more memorable from the comfort of the Inchanga Choo Choo, a steam train with the charm of yesteryear and the exhilaration of classic rail travel. The Inchanga Choo Choo departs from Kloof, which is just 25 kilometres from the urban epicentre of Durban. This scenic suburb is the perfect point from which to launch your steam train adventure. From here, you will head off to Inchanga, a little station perched between Durban and Pietermaritzburg. The rolling green hills showcase classic Victorian architecture to create a destination that is unforgettable. Inchanga also has a fabulous art and craft market, where awesome goods are available for visitors, and even better food is on offer. There are inviting spots under the tall trees, where you can relax with friends and family and enjoy the food and festivities. Pack your own picnic basket, if you prefer. The morning train ride includes an hour at the market, while the afternoon excursion means 30 minutes longer to explore the stalls and enjoy the sunshine. The Inchanga Choo Choo is the project of Umgeni Steam Railway, which is a non-profit organisation that is committed to preserving and celebrating the railway heritage of this country.

Sodwana Bay National Park and iSimangaliso Wetlands Park

The Sodwana Bay National Park
The small Sodwana Bay National Park consists of a narrow coastal strip of forest covered sand dunes. Sodwana Bay National Park was proclaimed in 1950 and is an angler’s paradise. Sodwana is a fairly remote area but people travel a long way to drive along the endless beaches in their four-wheel drive vehicles and to dive the coral reefs teaming with colourful fish and some giants of the sea such as whale sharks and manta rays. Situated within the magnificent iSimangaliso Wetland Park (previously known as St Lucia Wetland Park), Sodwana Bay National Park is renowned for its scuba diving, snorkelling and deep-sea fishing. The reef at Sodwana National Park has 14 rocky reefs, covered with coral, and a wide variety of tropical fish. These reefs, estimated to be over 4000 years old have plenty of caves, overhangs and pinnacles. They are covered with soft and hard corals, and can be dived all year round. Most species of shark have been spotted at Sodwana, and recently three coelacanths approximately 1.5m in length were photographed at a depth of 115m. The south flowing Agulhas current hits the continental shelf a few kilometres offshore, and this deep water is home to marlin and sailfish. There are excellent snorkelling spots at Sodwana Bay, Kingfisher Bay, Adlams, Algae Reef and Mabibi, all accessible by four-wheel drive vehicle along the beach. These reefs are abundant in goldies, lionfish, zebras, wrass, crayfish, feather stars, rays and moray eels.


iSimangaliso Wetlands Park
The Greater St Lucia Wetlands Park - now known as the iSimangaliso Wetland Park - was declared South Africa's first Natural World Heritage Site on 1 December 1999. It is considered South Africa's third largest park and extends from Mapelane (Cape St. Lucia) in the South, to Kozi Bay Nature Reserve in the North. The iSimangaliso / Greater St Lucia Wetlands Park incorporates Lake St Lucia, the St Lucia and Maputaland Marine Reserves, the Coastal Forest Reserve and Kosi Bay Nature Reserve. The park has 280km of near pristine coastline and comprises of 328 000 hectares of magnificent scenery. Greater St Lucia Wetlands Park encompasses an immense mosaic of habitats ranging from marine systems (coral reefs and beaches) and coastal forests (from salt and fresh water marshes to the open estuarine waters of Lake St Lucia itself) from lush coastal plains to the drier woodland areas.

The park is situated in the southern end of the Mozambique coastal plain near the towns of St Lucia, Mtubatuba, Hluhluwe, Mkuze, Mbaswana and Manguzi. This is a transitional zone in terms of fauna and flora between the temperate forms of the south and the tropical forms in the north and many species are endemic to this coastal plain. The protected area is home to the largest population of hippopotamus and approximately 1,000 crocodiles as well as a wealth of plant and animal life. In 2001 Elephant was introduced into the wetlands system and this has brought this area closer to "big five" status and has re-introduced a key ecological vector. Other mammals include Buffalo, Rhino, Zebra, Eland and Kudu. Of great interest is the staggering array of birdlife to be found in the St Lucia Wetlands. Over 500 different species of birds are resident or pass through the wetland system annually and comprise of marine, wetland and forest birds. The park has one of the most diverse variety of frogs and their choruses can often be heard at night and on dull rainy days. The highly endangered gaboon adder and a large variety of other snake species reside in this subtropical coastal dune forest. Other reptiles, such as the marine turtles, the Leatherback Turtle and Loggerhead Turtles utilise the protective beaches of the St Lucia Wetlands Park to breed in November of each year. The St Lucia Wetlands Park is a popular destination and offers a wide range of activities. Fishing, boating and bird-watching, scuba-diving, hiking and camping are all on offer and the region offers marvellous photographic opportunities to the amateur and professional photographer alike.

Hluhluwe-iMfolozi Park, Hluhluwe Horse Safaris and Shakaland Zulu Cultural Village

The Hluhluwe-iMfolozi Park
The Hluhluwe Umfolozi Park is the only park under formal conservation in KwaZulu Natal where the Big Five occur. Established in 1895, this is the oldest game park in South Africa along with nearby St Lucia Reserve. Set in the heart of Zululand this is the oldest game reserve in Africa, where Zulu kings such as Dingiswayo and Shaka hunted and put in place the first conservation laws. Game viewing is the principal attraction in the Hluhluwe-iMfolozi Park. Viewing hides overlook pans and waterholes enabling one to observe the wildlife at close range. As the home of Operation Rhino in the 1950s and 60s, the Hluhluwe Umfolozi Park became world renowned for its white rhino conservation.  The Park covers some 96 000 hectares and contains an immense diversity of fauna and flora. Hluhluwe Umfolozi Reserve is characterised by hilly topography and the northern section of the game reserve is noted for its wide variety of both birdlife and wildlife.
 

Shakaland Zulu Cultural Village
South Africa has a plethora of African cultures, but the Zulu one is, undoubtedly, one of its most significant in terms of history, heritage and modern identity. Shakaland is an attraction in the scenic province of KwaZulu-Natal, along the east coast of South Africa. It pays homage to the Zulu nation’s history, explores its contribution to modern society, and allows visitors from all four corners of the planet to experience a taste of this culture. Shakaland has been hailed as one of the best Zulu experiences on the continent, thanks to its authenticity and the sheer element of fun that infuses every part of it. This is, technically, a replica of a traditional Zulu homestead. Born in the late 18th century, King Shaka played an integral role in the identity of his people, and in their wars and techniques. In fact, it was through these fighting techniques that Shaka Zulu managed to unite the Northern Nguni folk in their battles against Europeans and Boers.
 
Visitors to Shakaland are invited to attend (and even participate in) a traditional ceremony, learn about the customs of these fascinating folk, consult with a natural herbalist (inyanga) or a witch doctor (sangoma), and sample some of the homemade beer that is characterised by its density and one-of-a-kind flavour. The arts and crafts on display are nothing short of impressive in their diversity and colourful loveliness. Significantly, the Zulus, like so many other African groups, use the art of beadwork as an important medium to represent one’s status or to convey messages to others.


Hluhluwe Horse Safaris
With years of experience in providing a world class experience, Hluhluwe Horse Safaris would like to take you on an adventure ride through the beautiful False Bay Nature Reserve, part of the Isimangaliso Wetland Park and a World Heritage Site. With horses to suit all ages and levels of experience the Horse Trails experience is one to be enjoyed by the whole family. Experience Nature up close and personal, enjoy the thrill of seeing Zebra, Impala, Kudu and Hippo without any disturbances. Under the guidance of qualified guides you will be taken out into the False Bay Nature Reserve to experience the scenic beauty and tranquility of this world heritage site. As part of the Isimangaliso Wetland Park, False Bay Nature Reserve is an area of grand Landscapes and beautiful Natural Bush and Sand Forest.

Shongweni Nature Reserve, DumaZulu Traditional Village, Arts and Cultural History Museum and The Battlefields

The Shongweni Nature Reserve
The Shongweni dam and nature reserve is classically beautiful. Shongweni reserve is roughly 1700 hectares, including the dam, surrounding cliffs and several other habitats that include valley bushveld and grassland. As a result it is considered one of the better birding spots in and around Durban. On any given morning you can hope to see at least 50 to 100 of the recorded species, and it isn't unusual to sight Verreaux's eagle, the African crowned eagle, black stork, southern tchagra, the grey sunbird or even the African finfoot or martial eagle. As well as the birds, there are rhino, buffalo, giraffe, wildebeest, zebra, warthog and kudu. The reserve is divided into a wilderness and recreational area. The latter has walking trails, horse trails, picnic and camping sites, and access to a list of activities that include rock climbing, fishing and canoeing. Birds you can see from various spots in the reserve – around the dam, from the picnic site, below the dam wall, and on the contour path above the dam. There are three picnic sites in total, and the dam offers bass and carp, barbel and tilapia.

 
DumaZulu Traditional Village
DumaZulu Traditional Village presents something special to its guests. Experience the traditions and language of the Zulu people, learn and interact with a living culture, one of our planet’s most indigenous cultures. Discover the Zulu way of life and watch the pulsating traditional dancing with the taste of Zulu beer on your lips and the drumbeat of the Zulus echoing in your ears. Not only is DumaZulu a cultural enriching experiencing for guests where they are afforded the opportunity to learn more about the rich variety of African cultures, but it also allows the local community to continue practicing their traditional ways of living and earn profits from selling curios. All products and produce sold on the property are made from natural products and are sourced from the land - 100 % green.

 
Empangeni Arts and Cultural History Museum
The Empangeni Arts and Cultural History Museum has a representative collection of contemporary Kwa-Zulu Natal artists works and an ethnographic collection of the regional culture. Consisting of the Harrison Collection of the pioneer sugar farmers and the Mthethwa collection of Zulu Culture. The museum also provides continually changing exhibitions in the main hall.

 
The Battlefields
Not only the place of some of the most picturesque landscapes in the country, the sweeping hills and knotty rock formations that pepper the rolling plains and valleys of northern and central KwaZulu Natal are also the site of a concentration of historical battles that took place over numerous years and shaped the history of both South African and British history. Today what appears to be little more than wind-swept plains littered with the remains of stone forts, graveyards and little else to indicate strife, bore witness to innumerable fierce battles. First between the Voortrekkers on their way to the hinterland in a bid to escape the British rule of the Cape Colony, and the fierce Zulu kings, who believed that this beautiful land that lay between the Drakensberg Mountains and the Indian Ocean was their own ‘heaven on earth’. This same area of land then witnessed further clashes between the British Empire, battling to gain control over land across the Tugela River, and the Zulu nation in the Anglo-Zulu War of 1879, encompassing the famous battles at Isandlawana and Rorkes Drift. Just two years later, the British were at war again in South Africa in what became known as the First Anglo-Boer War, pitting the Boers and British against one another, with numerous battles ensuing across this same area of land.

 
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