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BLOGGING THE VIEW: 10 hidden gems in KZN

Celebrate Tourism Month and visit some of the province's fantastic sites. Here are 10 goodies to try!

SEPTEMBER has finally arrived, bringing with it the start of Tourism Month and an excuse to get out and start exploring the many unique and exciting tourism sites in and around KZN.

If you’ve had to put your travel arrangements on hold for the past few months, then now is the time to reawaken that adventurous spirit and get exploring. Here are 10 great options to try in the province.

1. Dlinza Forest Game Reserve
Start with a trip close to home by visiting this incredible 250-hectare indigenous forest which is home to numerous walking trails, the Zululand Birding Route and a fantastic 10m high boardwalk. There are some great birding and butterfly sightings in the forest, as well as the chance to sight the Dlinza Forest Pinwheel, a snail found only here and the forest’s most endangered species.

2. Isandlwana Battlefield
Another great excursion, and certainly one for the history buffs, is a trip to Isandlwana Battlefields, the sight of the 1879 Anglo-Zulu war and one of the worst defeats in British military history. Fought near Isandlwana hill, some 1 300 soldiers under the command of General Lord Chelmsford were overwhelmed by a 20 000-strong Zulu army. There are now stone cairns dotted around the battlefield in memory of the fallen soldiers and an on-site museum with relics and artefacts.

3. Beachwood Mangroves
Head to the coastline of Durban and near the uMngeni River Mouth, you’ll find the Beachwood Mangroves right near the Durban Green Corridor GreenHub. This 76-hectare reserve consists of a rare mangrove swamp forest which is a vital estuarine habitat for local wildlife. Visitors can view the area on a great boardwalk and enjoy a sanctuary away from the hustle and bustle of busy city life.

4. KwaXolo Caves Adventures
This is a unique experience found along the hinterland of the KZN South Coast, just inland of Margate. Guides take visitors on the KwaXolo Caves Adventures, which is a steel-and-cable via Ferrata system along the mountainside, before entering the caves that are covered in centuries-old San artwork.

5. Lake Eland Zip Line Tours
Also found along the KZN South Coast, this is a must-try for the adventurous of spirit! In the Lake Eland game reserve is the longest zipline tour in Africa – 4.5kms in total consisting of 14 zip lines starting at the top of Oribi Gorge. There is much adrenaline pumping and a great view of this spectacular area.

6. Mzinyathi Falls
Just 20 minutes inland of uMhlanga is the Mzinyathi River and its magnificent waterfall that drops 100 metres over a sandstone amphitheatre into Mzinyathi Gorge. For those who enjoy rock climbing, this is a great day out, and there are also guided hiking trails arranged through Durban Green Corridor. Within the gorge, you can find the Rastafarian Caves which are home to a community of Rastafarians who use this as their home base.

7. Umgeni River Bird Park
For a family-friendly outing, Umgeni River Bird Park in Durban North is a wonderful experience. It was established by an avid bird lover in 1984, as well as other nature enthusiasts wanting to educate others about wildlife, and create a conservation sanctuary. It’s now home to more than 800 birds across 200 global species, with a twice-daily Free Flight Bird Show to watch.

8. iSimangaliso Wetland Park
A great Zululand tourist site is iSimagaliso, the country’s first UNESCO World Heritage Site! Within the park’s 332 000 hectares are lakes, estuaries, beaches, swamps, coastal dunes and coral reefs extending for 200kms along the coast. These interlinking ecosystems result in some fantastic biodiversity that supports 6 500 plant and animal species and 521 bird species. Visitors can take a boat tour, go diving, snorkelling, kayaking or horseback riding in this great park.

9. Durban Botanic Gardens
Africa’s oldest surviving botanical gardens are found in Durban, dating back to 1851. They were created to raise global awareness about the value of plants and have emerged as a real sanctuary for city dwellers. The gardens are renowned for the collection of cycads, ferns, and orchids and play host to a range of events throughout the year.

10. Oribi Vulture Viewing Hide
This is an unmissable one for the bird lovers out there! On the KZN South Coast is the Oribi Gorge Nature Reserve which is home to the Barry Porter Memorial Vulture Viewing Hide. Visitors can enjoy the chance to observe these endangered Cape Vultures in their natural habitat up close.

Celebrate Mzansi this September, support local tourism offerings and enjoy a unique experience this Tourism Month!

 

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