ABOUT THE REGION
SOUTH AFRICA IS SITUATED AT THE SOUTHERNMOST POINT OF AFRICA. THOSE WHO ‘GO SOUTH’ SOON DISCOVER (ALONGSIDE A MYRIAD OF NATURAL ATTRACTIONS AND INVITING PURSUITS) A COLOURFUL MIX OF CULTURES AND A PROUD PEOPLE WHOSE WARMTH, RESILIENCE AND REFRESHING MIND-SET MAKE FOR THE MOST MEMORABLE OF MEETINGS.
The country has nine provinces. Kwazulu-Natal (KZN) can be found on the East Coast of South Africa and offers 8 key tourist destinations / regions. It is a spectacular and fascinating multi-cultural destination flanked by the warm Indian Ocean and the soaring peaks of the majestic Drakensberg Mountains. The province enjoys the lion’s share of the domestic tourism market and attracts well over a million international tourists annually.
Pietermaritzburg, the vibrant Capital city of the Kingdom of the Zulu brims with character and activity, and its central position within the province makes it the “City of Choice” for anyone wanting to visit the Zulu Kingdom. It is the ideal stepping-off point to other major provincial attractions – the mountains, game parks, beaches or battlefields.
Pietermaritzburg, the second largest city in KwaZulu Natal, is a colourful, picturesque, modern city located in a broad basin surrounded by a range of thickly forested hills, hence, the tag “Sleepy Hollow”. Of course, the city has since shaken off this tag and has woken to an era of unprecedented growth, particularly in the property and retail sectors. It is also recognised as the events capital of South Africa and apart from the numerous cycling events, it plays host to the largest open water swim in the world in the Midmar Mile), the largest canoe stage race in the world which is the Duzi Canoe Marathon and the largest Ultra Marathon (road running) in the world in the Comrades Marathon.
Every person seeking to enter South Africa must be in possession of a valid passport for travel to South Africa and, where necessary, a visa. Enquiries can be directed to South African diplomatic representatives abroad or the Department of Home Affairs in Pretoria. Visitors who intend traveling to South Africa’s neighbouring countries and back into South Africa are advised to apply for multiple entry visas.
Visas are not issued on arrival at South African ports of entry and the requirements for visas are as follows:
- Passport valid for no less than 30 days after the expiry of the intended visit;
- Passports must contain at least one unused page for entry or departure endorsements;
- Payment of the prescribed fee, if applicable;
- A vaccination certificate, if required by the Act;
- Statement and/or documentation confirming purpose and duration of visit;
- Two identity photographs (see website for details);
- Proof of financial means; and
- A return / onward ticket.
In terms of existing arrangements, passport holders of certain countries are exempt from visa requirements. Tourists must satisfy immigration officers that they have the means to support themselves during their stay, and that they are in possession of return or onward air tickets. They must also have valid international health certificates.
Further information can be found at: http://home-affairs.gov.za No international immunisation is needed when entering South Africa. The only inoculation requirement is a yellow fever vaccination certificate from travellers over one year of age entering South Africa within six days of leaving an infected country. Visitors who travel through or disembark in these areas are advised to be inoculated against the disease before visiting South Africa.
KwaZulu-Natal, on the eastern side of South Africa, has a warm, sub-tropical climate, with temperatures moderated by the expanse of the Indian Ocean. Summers are hot and humid averaging 28 degrees, and experience the majority of the annual rainfall, while winters, with average temperatures of 23 degrees, are warm, dry and clear. There is occasional frost in the interior and snow often falls in the higher reaches in winter. Winter sunshine averages almost 7 hours a day, some of the highest in the country. The climate of KwaZulu-Natal is described as year-round tourist-friendly. Sea temperatures are also relatively stable, averaging 21ºC all year, providing for a diversity of aquatic activities in any season.