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KwaZulu-Natal is a province on South Africa’s east coast. It is the region between Lesotho and Swaziland with Durban as its largest city. KwaZulu Natal offers miles of coastline for swimming and surfing, South Africa's highest mountains, and activities from safari, to golf and a wealth of cultural and historical experiences, such as the battlefields from the Zulu and Boer wars.

In terms of game-viewing our favorite areas in KwaZulu-Natal are the Thanda Private Game Reserve and Phinda Private Game Reserve. Phinda is known for its excellent game-viewing and guiding and the 7 distinct eco-systems within the reserve including a rare sand forest. With only six beautiful properties sharing the reserve, the experience is personal and exclusive.

KwaZulu-Natal is a year-round destination, although both seasons offer some different experiences. The summer (October-April) can get hot, but it is beautiful and lush and young animals are abundant. The winter months (May-September) are cooler, but the thinner vegetation make wildlife spotting easier.

We love adding KwaZulu-Natal to a South African itinerary as a contrast to Kruger and they can be easily combined. Our favorite properties are Phinda Vlei, Phinda Zuka, and Phinda Homestead for exclusive-use purposes. The Thanda reserve offers excellent value for money and a unique Zulu cultural experience.

KwaZulu-Natal's Elephant Coast is also one of the best places to in South Africa to have a beach experience. KwaZulu Natal's tempertures are warm year-round (think Southern California or Florida) and the snorkeling and diving off the coast here is some of the best in the world. The area is also a nesting area for sea-turtles between October and Early March. Thonga Beach Lodge is our favorite beach property in KwaZulu-Natal.

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Lara Ray