Festive Season: Adventure out on these KZN summer road trips

2017-12-16 18:00 - Kavitha Pillay
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Photo: iStock

Cape Town – Durban is one of the most favourably positioned cities in South Africa.

Just a short drive inland of the warm coastal city and you will be surrounded in the lush greenery that is the Midlands Meander.

Go more inland and to the west, and you will find the majestic Drakensburg mountains, or head further north of Durban along the coast to experience the splendour of KZN’s estuaries.

Perhaps you enjoy the beach vibes but want a change of scenery? Then all you have to do is drive further down south from Durbs for beach bliss.

ALSO SEE: Summer holidays: 5 Unique KZN experiences you have to try

With KwaZulu-Natal offering the beach, burg and bush experience, and Durban being the eclectic urban centre of it all, your travels in SA’s east will be nothing short of memorable.

Hit the road with these 4 KZN road trips this summer:

Meander the Midlands

A mere 100km drive from Durban will take you to the Midlands Meander – a hub of arts, crafts culture and cuisine set in the lush natural beauty of KZN’s inland.

A drive to the Midlands Meander makes the perfect road trip for families as there is always something to capture the hearts of people of all ages and backgrounds.

ALSO SEE: A Meander through the KwaZulu-Natal Midlands

A trip to Piggly Wiggly should be on your road trip bucket-list. Here you will find a range of attractions – shop for artisanal food, local wines or even fine art, while kids enjoy anything from candle-dipping and chocolate-making, to games of archery and ride mini ziplines – all in safe and controlled environments.

Be sure to stop at the Mandela Capture Site and pay your respect to Tata, followed by selfies at the piece of artwork created in his honour.

The Midlands boasts many quaint towns with rolling green hills, fresh air, a cool calm atmosphere and abundant flora and fauna unique to the area. One can also stop at Howick Falls to marvel at the waterfall in the midst of the quiet towns.

Be moved by the majestic Drakensburg

KZN’s Drakensburg mountain range is one of the provinces most breathtaking assets, and less than 200km drive from Durban. Massive green mountains, caves with rock art, a natural amphitheatre and capped with snow in winter, Drakensburg mountains are a valuable natural and cultural heritage site, and a World Heritage Site.

More than just a perfect place for capture photos of Mother Nature’s offerings, Drakensburg has a number of hiking trails. You can also book accommodation along the way at lodges, tented camps and backpackers – and can also sleep in caves if you're feeling adventurous! Expect unforgettable views the top.

A great concentration of San Bushman rock art can be seen at parts of the Drakensburg mountain range. Visit the open-air Bushman Cave Museum in the Giant's Castle Reserve - this requires a short walk to the cave, which features 500 rock paintings, some of which are estimated to be around 800 years old. 

Other attractions in the area include The Drakensberg Boys' Choir performances at the Choir School in Champagne Valley as well as horse-riding at Spionkop Nature Reserve.

SEE: Bushman Art Explorations: Get in touch with your rock art heritage

Explore the estuary and wetlands at iSimangaliso

About 230km from Durban, explore the iSimangaliso Wetland Park – home to the big five and a plethora of wildlife and plant life, as well as SA’s first World Heritage Site.

The Wetland Park now boasts five ecologically distinct visitor game drives, each with distinctive attractions en route including hides, look-out points, picnic sites, places of interest – like Lake Bhangazi – and vistas.

Considered a biodiversity hotspot, one of the world’s oldest rituals takes place at the Park’s shoreline. Annually, female leatherback turtles emerge from the ocean at night to lay their eggs on beaches. In summer they return to these beaches after travelling across the world’s oceans. This incredible journey has been occurring for the past 100 million years!

MUST-SEE: #EcoTravel: Tap into nature's healing at iSimangaliso

Take in the sunshine at Sapphire Coast

Sapphire Coast in KZN’s south coast, only about a 30-minute drive from Durban, is home to 40 kilometres of unspoilt beauty, boasting a variety of wildlife just inland of its golden beaches and the renowned Aliwal Shoal Reef where one can go scuba diving.

“The coastal villages, which are steeped in culture and history, offer a range of accommodation and eateries suited to every budget,” says Sapphire Coast Tourism which boasts a packed programmes especially for the summer holidays.

Apart from beaches, world-class dive sites, cultural spots, nature reserves and a number of food and drink venues, there will be a park run, river clean-up, nature walks, tree lighting ceremony, Christmas market, watermelon festival and more. Click here for more information.

SEE: Beach please! Summer beach vibes across SA

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