There is much to draw travelers to South Africa - including the stunning coast, incredible wildlife, and diverse cultures. But perhaps its enduring appeal is also down to how easy it is to travel in a country whose attractions are so wild - with superb roads, fantastic cuisine and comfortable lodging at all budget levels.
Best time to go to KwaZulu-Natal
April and May are perhaps the best months to travel to KwaZulu-Natal; bringing bright sunshine, pleasantly warm temperatures all round and decent wildlife viewing.
With hot and humid summers (Oct-Apr) and mild, dry winters (May – Sep), whenever you travel sub-tropical KwaZulu-Natal will provide warmth. Temperatures stay highest along the coast, cooling the further inland and west you go. The Drakensberg Mountains, at an elevation of 3,000m can experience heavy snowfall during the winter, while Durban stays toasty around
20°C with warm seas for swimming and snorkelling. December to February is peak season on the coast – with accommodation in iSimangaliso Wetland Park at a premium. For wildlife, travel during dry July to September for the best chances to see game in Hluhluwe-iMfolozi.
Durban Weather Chart
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Simon Mills, from one of our leading South Africa specialists shares his favourite time to visit KwaZulu-Natal: “I love driving in the Southern Hemisphere Autumn - so April and May, as the leaves turn and the days are bright and sunny. Places like the Drakensburg Mountain really come into their own then. The routes in this area and Battlefields and the Midlands are also really lovely; fantastic driving and wonderful views.”
Festivals and events
The Reed Dance – Umkhosi Womhlanga
Thousands of Zulu maidens take part in the Reed Dance each year, where they dance in traditional costume and present symbolic reeds to the Zulu King. This spectacular celebration of Zulu culture takes place annually in the second week of September at the Enyokeni Royal Palace and attracts participants from across KwaZulu-Natal and the Kingdom of Swaziland.
The Comrades Marathon
The world’s biggest and oldest ultra-marathon has taken place in early June each year since 1921 between Pietermaritzburg and Durban to commemorate South African soldiers killed in World War I, and to ‘celebrate mankind’s spirit over adversity’. Expect thousands of runners and a festival atmosphere at the finish.
The Sardine Run
In June to July each year millions upon millions of sardines travel up the KwaZulu-Natal coastline in shoals up to 15km in length. The ‘Greatest Shoal on Earth’ is followed by one the world’s greatest marine feeding frenzies – with thousands of sharks, dolphins and seabirds trailing in the sardines’ wake. Boat trips and scuba diving excursions get you up close to the action.
More about KwaZulu-Natal
Perfect for South Africa second-timers or for travelers who prefer something a little wilder and more remote, KwaZulu-Natal seduces with swathes of white-sand Indian Ocean beaches, extraordinary wildlife and a unique Zulu heritage.
Our favourite things to see and do in KwaZulu-Natal include hiking in the Drakensberg Mountains, spotting the Big 5 on safari in Hluhluwe-iMfolozi, picking up exquisite pottery along the Midlands Meander, visiting the Zulu battlefields and snorkelling, hippo-spotting and some seriously chilled beach time in the iSimangaliso Wetland Park.
Forget Kruger, head east into KwaZulu-Natal for a wildlife extravaganza that goes beyond the Big Five.
The beaches of KwaZulu-Natal stretch along 600km of coastline with beaches to match the very best on the planet.
Few places in Africa combine Big Five safaris with beach time quite as well – or as conveniently – as KwaZulu-Natal.
From vast Hluhluwe-iMfolozi, credited with saving the white rhino from extinction to conservation-focussed private reserves, safaris in KwaZulu-Natal are second-to-none.
KwaZulu-Natal self drive vacations open up big game parks and battlefields, Zulu culture and an idyllic protected coral coastline.
From endangered wildlife monitoring to community construction projects, KwaZulu Natal volunteering vacations offer a unique way to experience this vibrant South African region.
The Battlefields Region of KwaZulu-Natal is a landscape of rolling hills and grasslands over which were fought a total of 63 battles that shaped the history of South Africa.
Drakensberg in KwaZulu-Natal is the highest mountain range in Southern Africa and was declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 2000.
Durban in KwaZulu-Natal is a modern city of 4.
Hluhluwe-Imfolozi Park in KwaZulu-Natal is the oldest nature reserve in Africa.
iSimangaliso Wetland Park in KwaZulu Natal is the largest protected wetland in Southern Africa and was South Africa’s first UNESCO World Heritage Site.
The food and drink of KwaZulu-Natal is a reflection of the diversity of cultures that have inhabited the city over the years.
Read insider tips and KwaZulu-Natal travel advice from our South Africa vacation experts and our travelers – from how to get the most out of your safari to discovering authentic Zulu culture.
Responsible tourism in KwaZulu-Natal is being managed by Tourism KwaZulu-Natal who have developed guidelines for environmental protection, as well as socio-cultural and economic policies for tourism businesses.