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Overview

The most overtly traditional part of South Africa, northeast KwaZulu-Natal lay at the core of the 19th century Zulu Empire and is still widely referred to as Zululand. The region is studded with alluring provincial game reserves, including uMkhuze, Ndumo and Tembe. Particularly worthwhile is Hluhluwe-Imfolozi, where the world's highest concentration of both black and white rhino resides alongside lion, leopard, elephant and the localized nyala antelope. Similar wildlife inhabits Phinda, an exclusive private reserve whose plush bush camps offer superbly guided game drives and boat trips, with cheetah and rhino being local specialties. ...

The most overtly traditional part of South Africa, northeast KwaZulu-Natal lay at the core of the 19th century Zulu Empire and is still widely referred to as Zululand. The region is studded with alluring provincial game reserves, including uMkhuze, Ndumo and Tembe. Particularly worthwhile is Hluhluwe-Imfolozi, where the world's highest concentration of both black and white rhino resides alongside lion, leopard, elephant and the localized nyala antelope. Similar wildlife inhabits Phinda, an exclusive private reserve whose plush bush camps offer superbly guided game drives and boat trips, with cheetah and rhino being local specialties. Inscribed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site, the iSimangaliso Wetland Park (formerly Greater St Lucia Wetland Park) protects a sequence of coastal wetlands known for their varied birdlife, pristine beaches and offshore reefs teeming with colorful fish. A highlight of St Lucia's southern sector is a boat trip on the forest and mangrove-lined St Lucia Estuary, which harbors South Africa's highest croc and hippo densities. In the northern sector, the wild and remote Maputaland coast is an important turtle breeding site, and a scattering of exclusive lodges offer excellent snorkeling, diving, fishing and whale-watching. For a taste of traditional Africa, an overnight visit to a Zulu cultural villages such as Shakaland or Simunye is recommended.

Philip Briggs
About the Expert

Philip Briggs has written or contributed to 50-plus editions of Bradt, Insight, AA and Berlitz guidebooks to African destinations.

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Philip Briggs for Triporati

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Facts at a Glance

Climate

  • Best Time to Visit:

    The climate is outstandingly pleasant and game viewing is best during winter (May-Sep). Nov-Feb can be uncomfortably hot and humid.