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Visitors to Zululand are ideally based for a rich variety of day excursions. Some of the world's best game parks, a World Heritage site, the Royal Zulu capitals of Mgungundlovu and Ondini, the country's deepest and largest port Richards Bay, as well as the fun of Durban's cosmopolitan pursuits are all within easy reach to make a memorable day's outing.
Welcome to Hluhluwe-iMfolozi Game Park
Established, in 1895, this Park is Africa's oldest game sanctuary and before that it was protected as the exclusive hunting preserve of the Zulu kings. The Park's pride and joy is the success of Operation Rhino in the 1960's which saw the rescue of the White Rhino from the brink of extinction. The Park offers the Big Five as well as an amazing diversity of smaller species such as kudu, nyala, impala, zebra, giraffe, warthog, baboons and wild dogs.
It also has a rich bird and plant life and some spectacular scenery.
Game viewing hides near watering holes and picnic sites are situated throughout the Park, providing the visitor with ample opportunity to leave their vehicles (at their own risk) and experience nature at close range. One of the more popular picnic sites is at Maphumulo which overlooks a backwater created by the construction of Hluhluwe Dam, and has trestle tables in a shady, grassed area from which visitors often see crocodiles basking on the nearby banks.
Hilltop Camp in the northern section of the Park has a fine restaurant, bar and shop where visitors can escape the heat of day when most animals become elusive. The information centre at Hilltop keeps an updated map of the day's latest game sightings ideal for use as a guide to plan one's next route.Hluhluwe-iMfolozi Park is home to the world's largest population of Rhino (over 2 000 black and white rhino) as well as the rest of The Big Five lion,
elephant, buffalo and leopard.
Sontuli Loop in the south western corner of the Park between the White and the Black Mfolozi rivers is generally rated highly for game viewing because of its open terrain which is favoured by the grassgrazing White Rhino. The Black Rhino is a browser living off shrubs and bush and is usually found in wooded thickets. A large area abounding the White Mfolozi River in the south has been declared a wilderness area and is only open for three-day wilderness trails.
Welcome to iSimangaliso Wetland Park
iSimangaliso Wetland Park has an astonishing variety of habitats that include grasslands, forests, wetlands, mangroves, dune forest, massive stretches of beach and offshore coral reefs. There are about 1200 crocodiles in the lake was well as some 800 hippos. The best way to see them in their natural environment is on of the flatbottom tour boats which operate from St Lucia estuary. The largest tour boat is the Santa Lucia which leaves from the Siyabonga Craft Market two or three times a day for a guided tour up the narrows.
At the St Lucia Crocodile Centre visitors are able to see a variety of crocodiles. Feedings every Saturday at 15h00.
Lake St Lucia the largest estuary in Africa is a 38 000 hectare expanse of tidal and semitidal water. Also found here is the largest single population of hippo (about 800) little wonder that it was declared South Africa's first World Heritage Site in 1999. Birdlife is prolific and includes flamingoes, pelicans, herons, terns, ducks, geese and storks. Swimming in the lake is prohibited due to the high number of crocodiles present, however the beach at Cape Vidal is popular with divers exploring its coral reefs as well as with families who enjoy swimming and snorkeling in the protected bay and roaming miles of golden beaches.
Migrant humpback whales and dolphins are often sighted cavorting along the coast (June to November) and, during summer, endangered leatherback and loggerhead turtles regularly nest on the beaches at night.
Mission Rocks, 16kms north of the estuary, provides picnic sites and ablution facilities for day visitors. The rock pools provide hours of fascinating exploration during low tide and dunetop lookout point presents spectacular views of the lake, the Eastern Shores and the sea.
Gate Opening & Closing Times
Summer (OctMarch): 05h0019h00
Winter (AprilSept): 06h0018h00
Friday and start of long w/e: 06h0021h00
Distance from gate to:
Cape Vidal 35kms
St Lucia Tourism: 035 590 1247
Santa Lucia cruise: 035 590 1340
Crocodile Centre: 035 590 1386
The R66, begins at Dokodweni Toll Plaza close to the pristine Siaya Coastal Park, and ends less than 250kms further north at the busy town of Phongolo but in that short distance, vistors have travelled through a world from another time. Route 66 passes through territory that has given rise to events which have captured the world's imagination. The rise of Shaka and the battles of the AngloZulu War have inspired novels, television epics and movies and today the scale and uniqueness of the annual Royal Reeed Dance draws considerable international attention.
Route 66 between Gingindlovu and Phongolo follows one of the oldest trade routes through Zululand. Settlers resident at Port Natal (Durban) in the early 19th Century would set off in oxwagons on wellworn tracks and cross into Zululand at a drift very close to the present N2 bridge over the Thukela River. The tracks followed hte coast for a while before turning inland towards the heart of the Zulu Kingdom as settlers required the permission of the Zulu King before they could hunt and trade in his territory.
Meet the legends . . .make new discoveries . . . and understand the history....
A journey along Route 66 is filled with unexpected discoveries. Stop at a tavern for refreshment and get knocked out by boxing legend Tap Tap Makhatini, walk in the forest and find fascinating creatures great and small and take time to hear the extraordinary history of the region: the Zulu kings who lived here, the Norwegian missionaries who brought Christianity to Zululand and how the British tried to change the old order of Zululand.
Welcome to Durban
Durban is South Africa's second largest city, a multicultural hub situated around Africa's busiest port. Its people are drawn from diverse cultural backgrounds. Strong Eastern, Western and African influences are visible everywhere in architecture, cuisine, music, fashion and in the local patois. The beachfront, often referred to as The Golden Mile, offers safe all year round bathing and ocean sports, with top hotels, restaurants, shops and bars in close proximity.
The flagship of Durban's revitalised waterfront is the uShaka Marine World, a marine theme park which opened in 2004, and which has a wreck of a 1920's steamer as its centrepiece. Deep within the bowels of the steamer are breathtaking underwater aquarium galleries providing magnificent views of predators, such as Ragged Tooth Sharks, Remoras, Karanteen and sand Steenbras. In addition, a dolphinarium, seal stadium, penguin rookery and a turtle lagoon bring the beauty of life in the western Indian Ocean within reach of everyone.
And if that isn't enough, visitors are spoilt for choice with tube rides, speed slides, lagoon snorkeling, shark diving, oceanwalking, restaurants and a shopping village!
The Umgeni River Bird Park was designed and built by Dr Alan Abrey. It is situated in an old quarry site which used to contain water and was visited by Alan as a young boy growing up in Durban. When looking for a bird park site, he remembered it as a perfect option. After a year of extensive land filling, landscaping and aviary construction, the Umgeni River Bird Park was opened in April 1984 by the then mayor of Durban, Councillor Sybil Hotz.
The park is situated in 3.5 hectares of lush tropical landscaping and houses an ever-increasing collection of more than 800 birds from 200 species. Some species are the only representatives of their kind in Africa whilst others are commonly kept as pets.
For a shopping experience with a distinctly Durban flavour, visit the Grey and Victoria St district for a meltingpot of African and Indian wares anything from a traditional medical cure for any ailment to a rainbow selection of the finest silks.
A number of exceptional malls are available and for the traveller from Zululand, the Gateway in Umhlanga and the Pavilion in Westville are conveniently situated close to the N2.
Also well worth a visit is the Durban Botanic Gardens, situated at the foot of the Berea. This venerable colonial institution has a fine mixed arboretum of African, Asian and American trees, as well as a section dedicated to the plants of KwaZulu Natal, a breathtaking orchid house and its famous cycad collection which includes the Ongoye cycad, Encephelartos woodii, "the rarest plant in the world".
Museums and Art Galleries From the history of indentured Indians to the relics of the apartheid era, Zulu artifacts and surfboards of the past, Durban has a museum catering for a wide range of interests.
•The Natural Science Museum City Hall, Smith St
•The KwaMuhle Museum of Apartheid History, 132 Ordinance Rd
•Maritime Museum Small Craft Harbour, Esplanade
•The Campbelll Collection of Zulu History, 32 Marriot Rd
•Durban Art Gallery City Hall, Smith St
•Bat Centre of Contemporary Art Small Craft Harbour, Esplanade
•KZNSA Art Gallery, 166 Bulwer Rd, Glenwood.
• African Art Centre Florida Rd, Morningside