Don't Miss: KZN’s Parks & Reserves
For those planning to spend time in the province’s excellent parks and reserves, Ezemvelo KZN Wildlife is an essential first stop. Accommodation within the parks ranges from shabby to chic, from humble campsites to comfortable safari tents and luxurious lodges; the free Fees & Charges booklet lists accommodation options and prices, as well as entrance charges, for all Ezemvelo KZN Wildlife reserves. Maps of the parks are also available here.
All accommodation must be booked in advance by phone, online, or in person through the Pietermaritzburg office. Last-minute bookings (those within 48 hours) must be made directly with the camps.
Officially, the gate entry times of all parks are 5am to 7pm (1 October to 31 March) and 6am to 6pm (1 April to 30 September).
While many of the parks are a must-see for animal-lovers and outdoorsy types, their camps – many of which have high-quality bungalows or safari tents – are also excellent for families and those touring South Africa on a budget.
Tip: If you only have time to visit one or two reserves, highlights include Royal Natal National Park for some uKhahlamba-Drakensberg vistas; Hluhluwe-iMfolozi Park for the wildlife and wilderness accommodation options; Ithala Game Reserve and uMkhuze Game Reserve for its wonderful bird hides and waterholes; and iSimangaliso Wetland Park for its diverse scenery and ecological environments.
Protecting The San Paintings
There are thousands of San paintings in caves and rockscapes around KwaZulu-Natal. They are some of the oldest examples of human art in the world. Sadly, many of these have suffered through the actions of ignorant visitors, and many have been defaced with graffiti, or completely destroyed. Travellers should be aware of taking appropriate measures to ensure the ongoing preservation of these cultural treasures. For example, never splash paintings with water.
KwaZulu-Natal currently has an agreement with Amafa (the provincial cultural and heritage conservation body) to have preservation practices in its management plans. This includes ensuring that guides accompany visitors to sites, and educating visitors not to touch or harm the sites.