Located on South Africa’s east coast, KwaZulu-Natal offers miles of coastline for swimming and surfing, the country’s highest mountains, and plenty of activities outside of safari including golf and many cultural and historical experiences. The seaside city of Durban is the main entry point and from here, it’s about a two hour drive south to the region’s prime wildlife destinations.
KwaZulu-Natal’s best safari experiences are found within the Phinda and Thanda Private Game Reserves. Phinda is known for its excellent big game-viewing and 7 distinct eco-systems within the reserve including a rare sand forest. Combining stays in the North and South can give you a complete safari experience without leaving the park gates. With only six beautiful properties sharing the reserve, the experience is personal and exclusive. We are big supporters of &Beyond’s conservation efforts within Phinda, piloting a pangolin conservation experience as well as involving guests in rhino notching and de-horning (by advanced arrangement and additional cost). Making the most of its location near the coast, day trips out to the coast are on offer as are the opportunity to visit the nearby communities outside the park’s gates.
Although the area is a year-round destination, the two main seasons here each offer a different experience. Due to KwaZulu-Natal’s location along the coast, the summer (October-April) can be hot and humid, but it is beautiful, lush and young animals are abundant. The winter months (May-September) are cool and dry, and the thinner vegetation makes wildlife spotting easier.
KwaZulu-Natal’s temperatures are warm year-round (think Southern California or Florida) and the snorkeling and diving off the coast here is some of the best in the world. The area is also a nesting area for sea-turtles between October and Early March.