In a glorious stretch of coastline fringed with golden beaches and caressed by the warm waters of the Indian Ocean, KwaZulu-Natal’s North Coast extends some 110 kilometres from Umhlanga Rocks, just north of the port city of Durban, right up to the Amatikulu River. Patches of coastal forest give way to rolling green hills of sugar cane, which, in turn, spill into the rich hinterland of the province.

Known as the “iLembe” region to honour the judicious and bold King Shaka who established his Zulu Kingdom in the North Coast, with its unique mix of luxury resorts and wide variety of affordable accommodation, has long been recognised as a prime domestic and international holiday destination.

Its ever-present sea views and magnificent beaches are what this holiday destination is all about and its warm-all-year-round weather means you can swim,sunbathe, surf and fish from early spring right through to winter’s end.

Glittering natural assets abound and they have not gone unnoticed by local and global investors and the area has attracted some R2 billion in tourism projects in the past two years. Developers have recognised the value of its unspoilt natural environment and have adopted an approach that puts residents and guests directly in touch with the region’s natural beauty.

The North Coast boasts a rich cultural heritage with strong Eastern, African, European and French Mauritian influences.

The traditional home of the Zulu people, it was settled by colonials, and later by Indian people who originally arrived as indentured labourers to work in the sugar cane fields. After their contracts expired, many of them chose to stay on and were joined by traders and immigrants from India. As a result there is a unique cultural mix, which provides fascinating insights into the history of this part of the world.

Another major advantage offered to visitors of the North Coast, is its proximity to the awesome attractions within the province of KwaZulu-Natal, also known as the ‘Zulu Kingdom’.

An easy, two-hour drive north, allows you to visit the Big Five game reserves of Zululand that include the Hluhluwe-iMfolozi Park, Phinda and the iSimangaliso Wetland Park, a World Heritage Site.

A short drive south takes you to the exciting city of Durban, boasting a vibrant population of three million – a melting pot of cultures drawn from its Zulu, European and Indian people.

From there, a visitor can travel inland to the Midlands which is famous for its arts and crafts routes and welcoming country hospitality, or on to the Ukhahlamba Drakensberg Park, with its ancient crags and towering peaks – another World Heritage Site.