Just outside of Durban, there are a handful of special activities that come highly recommended to explore and experience KwaZulu Natal in all its glory
I have lived away from Durban for almost four years and coming home during December always makes me appreciate the warm, balmy weather, beach goer attitude and the general relaxed vibe of the city itself. Although Durban is a huge city, it has also held a certain kind of small town mentality.
Last week, I wrote a blog post about unique experiences to have in Durban (which you can read here). This week, I am continuing this theme with a blog post on special trips to take just outside of (and around) Durban:
Explore the Valley of a 1000 Hills: If you want to get away from the city and spend some time surrounds by the quiet of nature, this is the place to go. The Valley of a 1000 Hills is a great spot for both relaxing and outdoor activities. Not only can you visit game and nature reserves, you have the opportunity to interact with and learn about the culture of the Zulu people who have lived in this area for centuries. There are many cycling and hiking routes to explore, quaint cottages with pubs and restaurants nearby for evening strolls and both Shongweni Farmer's Market and Botha's Hill Food & Craft Market to taste some locally produced goodies. With much to explore, you'll want to visit for more from this small but interesting place! Find out more here.
Take the Umgeni Steam Train: In the same area of the Valley of 1000 Hills is a fun activity for both old and young alike. The Inchanga Choo Choo is a restored steam engine (or a diesel train) that takes you on a return journey from Kloof to explore the beautiful region. Tickets cost R240 for adults and R170 for children and pensioners. You could combine this with a longer trip to the Valley of a 1000 Hills or simply make a day trip out of it. Find out more here.
Lay on some of the most beautiful South Coast beaches: My childhood holidays were definitely sent on many a beach trip both in and out of Durban. And there are so many lovely beaches to relax on or enjoy beach activities such as volleyball, body boarding, surfing, swimming, soccer, Frisbee or classics like sand castle building...the list goes on and on. The South Coast outside of Durban is a prime area for merging the small town vibe with a memorable trip to the beach. I have two suggestions for you. Ramsgate Beach (only 1.5 hours away from Durban) is one such place. Located in the small but intriguing town of Margate, this beach is great for relaxing and soaking up beach town ambience. The other is called Umzumbe Beach (just and hour away from Durban) which is said to be "relatively undiscovered" by Traveller24 in an article about South African South Coast secret beaches. Unlike most beaches, this spot is not too popular (as yet) and so you may be able to enjoy some peace and quiet while chilling out on the beach.
See Hippos in the iSimangaliso Wetland Park (near St. Lucia): Two of my favourite and most memorable trips in South Africa to date have been to St. Lucia (the closest town to the iSimangaliso Wetland Park and estuary). One word: Hippos. From the hippo crossing signs throughout the town of St. Lucia to the river cruise you can take, the anticipation builds...will you actually see them? Yes, these lovely creatures can be seen on a river boat tour in the Umfolozi river. This is very special. Besides these majestic creatures, you can also see a number of other native wildlife throughout the Wetland Park and visit a handful of wonderful beaches (watch out for mischievous Vervet Monkeys who enjoy stealing your tasty treats!). St. Lucia is a wonderful place to stay and is 2.5 hours away from Durban. I highly recommend it! Find out more information for what to do in this beautiful area here.
As a native of Durban, I would certainly advise these four experiences as worth your while to try just outside of Durban. If you are looking for things to do, give my list a try and tag me @tours_africa on Instagram or @ToursAfricaTrav on Twitter!
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