Aptly called South Africa's garden province, this verdant region forms the east coast of South Africa, stretching from Port Edward in the south northwards to the Mozambique boundary. It is a province with a subtropical coastline, sweeping savanna in the east and the magnificent Drakensberg mountain range in the west. The warm Indian Ocean washing its beaches makes it one of the country's most popular holiday destinations.
Visitors to KwaZulu-Natal can either disembark at Durban International Airport or the Durban harbour, or make use of the extensive national road network.
Durban is one of the fastest-growing urban areas in the world. Its port is the busiest in South Africa and also one of the 10 largest in the world. KwaZulu-Natal is the only province with a monarchy specifically provided for in its Constitution.
Pietermaritzburg and Ulundi are joint capitals of the province because of the coalition government in the provincial legislature. Other important towns include Richards Bay, an important coal export harbour, and many coastal holiday resorts, such as Port Shepstone, Umhlanga Rocks and Margate. In the interior, Newcastle is well known for steel production and coal mining, Estcourt for meat processing, and Ladysmith and Richmond for mixed agriculture. The KwaZulu-Natal coastal belt yields sugar cane, wood, oranges, bananas, mangoes and other tropical fruit.
Some of South Africa's best-protected indigenous coastal forests are found along the subtropical coastline of KwaZulu-Natal, for example at Dukuduku and Kosi Bay. It is also along this coast that the magnificent St Lucia Estuary and Kosi Bay lakes are located. In 1999, the Greater St Lucia Wetlands Park was declared a World Heritage Site.
Separating KwaZulu-Natal from the mountain Kingdom of Lesotho, the Drakensberg runs 200 km along the western boundary of the province.
The northern part of the province, south of the Swaziland border, is typical African savanna, providing a natural backdrop for its rich wildlife, protected in several game parks.