KwaZulu-Natal promises a world of exciting finds to visitors and locals that are exploring this part of South Africa. It is about endless stretches of golden sands, the warm water of the Indian Ocean, the glitzy malls of the metropolis, countless historical monuments, galleries, boutiques, battlefields from the Anglo-Zulu and Anglo-Boer wars, all set within the exquisite countryside of the Rainbow Nation.
South Africa is known as an excellent value-for-money destination, and visitors to KZN can experience so many of the fantastic features of this province without busting their budget. We’ve compiled a list of free things to do and see during your time in KZN:
Dlinza Forest Aerial Boardwalk
Walk above the verdant Dlinza Forest (Eshowe) on this boardwalk, 10 metres above the ground, and see its fauna and flora (including a stunning variety of birds) from new heights. The viewing platform is a breath-taking 20 metres high and promises incredible views of the forest as well as the surrounding hills.
The Battlefields Route
With no fewer than 82 sites (including battlefields, forts, museums, and places of remembrances), this route is an incredibly multi-faceted one that resonates with visitors. To avoid being overwhelmed by the sheer variety, plan well ahead of time which sites to visit. King Shaka’s Grave is recommended.
Lake St Lucia
Spend time on the banks of this magnificent lake while you watch thousands of hippos, crocodiles, and flamingos in their natural habitat. There are a few walking trails that can be enjoyed at no cost too. It is part of the UNESCO World Heritage Site of the iSimangaliso Wetland Park.
Victoria Street Market
Durban has a very large Indian population. In fact, it has the highest density of Indian people outside of India. This street market showcases the East to perfection, including the vibrant culture and friendly folk. Buy exotic spices, sample fresh fish, or see the ornate clothing and baskets at almost 200 stalls.
Durban North Japanese Gardens
For something completely different, visit the beautifully manicured Japanese Gardens. Oriental gardens, ponds with colourful koi fish, cobbled pathways, and romantic bridges all make for a total retreat from the real world outside.
Skyline Nature Reserve
Situated between Margate and Uvongo, this reserve is home to a fantastic variety of indigenous trees (including 76 coastal species), exotic trees, little antelope, and birds. A number of self-guided trails are available, and there is a great picnic spot. Note: there are no ablutions here.
Durban Natural Science Museum
Situated in the Durban City Hall, this museum invites visitors in (for free) to see an Egyptian mummy that is more than 2 300 years old, the complete Dodo skeletons in existence, and a life-size reconstruction of a Tyrannosaurus Rex.
Other free attractions in KwaZulu-Natal include:
- The Umhlanga Lighthouse (Umhlanga)
- The Nelson Mandela Capture Site (Howick)
- The many restaurants, arts, crafts and nature reserves of the Midlands Meander
- The Durban Botanic Gardens (Durban)
- Pelican Island (Richard’s Bay)
- The Amanzimtoti Bird Sanctuary (Amanzimtoti)
- The Beachwood Mangroves Nature Reserve
Don’t let a tight budget mean that you miss out on the beauty and fun of KwaZulu-Natal. These free attractions invite you to get the very best out of your South African experience.
Amelia is a freelance writer that lives on the stunning Garden Route of South Africa. In her not-so-free time, she blogs at Suddenly a Mom.
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