Take your car and cruise along the South African highways. Panoramas as far as the eye could see, mind-blowing sunsets, emerald-blue waters, the sound of the bush when one wakes up. An escape without a name. The sight of the horizon is truly moving.
The Drakensberg and Durban, two places that are linked to each other by a voyage of a thousand facets. The landscape around you is so sumptuous that you don’t even notice the kilometers. Welcome to the Drakensberg, amphitheatre and its four valleys which guarantee an invigorating breath of fresh air.
The Bonamanzi Game Park, a haven of peace, and the Hluhluwe-Imfolozi, Big Five’s sanctuary can be roamed endlessly, in search of the perfect view to capture. Santa Lucia, the former colonial town and its estuary, is without a doubt worth a visit.
Ultimately, Durban, a coastal city of character, is the favorite spot of thrill-seekers. The final stop in a city at the crossroads of multiple cultures and influences.
A journey that leaves an indelible imprint in your memory. We want some more…
Road Map from Drakensberg to Durban
The South African mountain range is ranked in the World Heritage by UNESCO, named “Drakensberg” by the Afrikaners, which means “dragon mountain”. The northern and central part of the Drakensberg offers magnificent views through its four valleys. One of the most famous views in the Drakensberg National Park is located up north in the Royal Natal Park, the Amphitheatre. The highest peak in the chain culminates at 3461m, the Makheka.
Bonamanzi Game Park / Zululand
Near Lake St Lucia, Bonamanzi Game Park is a private nature reserve of 4000 hectares know by all the the Big 4 enthusiasts. This reserve also includes various types of housing, ranging from the “camp” with small cottages, private pool at the “lodge” or the “tree house”. Very beautiful views of the Hluhluwe River. There are possiblilities to ride in 4X4 at dawn or sunset. Do not miss the cruise on the river for the region’s birds watching (Bird Safari). After the walk back, spa and massages await.
Hluhluwe Imfolozi Game Reserve / Zululand
Hluhluwe Imfolozi Game Reserve is a twenty minute drive from Bonamanzi Park. One can watch the Big 5. The reserve offers safaris of 1, 3 or 4 days. There is also a possibility to stay within the reserve. You can go through it with your own vehicle as long as you follow the safety rules. More intimate than the Krueger Park, this park offers the guarantee of seeing the animals from a relatively short distance.
Santa Lucia / Estuary
Santa Lucia is a small town lying on a hill, crisscrossed by well designed streets. In the apartheid days, this city was exclusively “white”. The houses and villas of Santa Lucia are surrounded by tropical gardens with lush vegetation. There are several activities to do in this region which is part of the ecoregion of Maputaland-Pondoland-Albany. One can visit the estuary where you can rub shoulders with hippos and crocodiles, which offers an unusual way to discover the region.
Durban is located on the coast by the Indian Ocean and is the center of a region that stretches over 500 km of coastline.
- Waterfront (Golden Mile), promenade that streches along the ocean over a kilometer, lined with hotels, restaurants and water parks,
- The aquarium and dolphinarium (uShaka Marine World)
- City Hall (1910) modeled on that of Belfast, in which you can find the “Durban Museum” dedicated to the natural history of the Natal (including a complete skeleton of the dodo) and the Zulu nation,
- Local History Museum, located in the former court (1866), dedicated to the history of the Natal
- Colonial statues of Francis Farewell Square (including that of Queen Victoria)
- Post office (1885)
- Da Gama clock on Victoria Embankment, offered by the Portuguese government in 1877 to commemorate Vasco da Gama
- Juma mosque, one of the largest mosques in the southern hemisphere,
- Emmanuel Cathedral (1904)
- Salisbury House (1925)
- Britannia Hotel (1877)
- Old station (1892)
- Old House Museum (1849)
- The Elephant House (1850)
- Dick King statue on his horse Somerset,
- Botanical Gardens, opened in 1849, are among the finest in the world.
- Old Fort (1842) which museum is devoted to the history of the State, Natalia, and to the Natal colonial wars.
- South Beach with its fishing docks and beach cabins, lined with shops and cinemas.
Shaka’s rock / Dolphin Coast / KwaZulu Natal’s North Coast
For those who prefer less major urban centers, small and quiet towns, Shaka’s Rock located a little more than thirty minutes drive at the north of Durban could be an option. Shaka’s Rock is a small residential area with beautiful golden beaches. A natural swimming pool made up with stones from the surrounding cliffs overcomes the forces of nature. Shaka’s Rock is also a paradise for deep top fishermen, but also for surfers….
Golf lovers will also find their happiness.
Where to stay
Drakensberg : Alpine Health Resort
If you are a family, this very spacious and perfectly integrated complex in the splendid panorama that surrounds it, offering you comfort with a kitchen equipped small lovely cottage.
Zululand : Bonamanzi Park
Stay inside the reserve. Big change of scenery. Superb “camps”.
Dolphin Coast : Comfort House
Why not stay with the locals at the Comfort House on the heights of the village? The manager will welcome you warmly. The rooms are spacious and comfortable with a semi-private patio. Even during the winter, a Jacuzzi awaits. The small garden in low-cons is a small haven of peace. For travelers resuming their flight from Durban, this guest house is 20 minutes away by taxi from Durban airport.
Text and photos Catherine Trautes