From Durban Beaches to St Lucia Backpackers

Road Trip in KwaZulu Natal

 From Durban Beaches to St Lucia Backpackers

Would you like to dicover South Africa off the beaten track? Come and explore the KwaZulu Natal Province with me.

If you enjoy to travel local and off the beatn path then this post is for you. You have probably heard of Cape Town, Johannesburg and the Garden Route. The province of KwaZulu Natal is located on the East Coast of South Africa and is most famous for its:

  • stunning beaches
  • spectacular mountains 
  • open savannah.


This is what makes KZN a perfect destination for anyone that would like to experience most of what South Africa is well known for. Located on the Indian Ocean and the East Coast of the country this province offers nice temperature throughout the year. Like the name KwaZulu Natal already says, it is a Zulu area. The Zulu are the largest ethnic group in South Africa. Most of them live in the province of KwaZulu Natal.




Unfortunately, many tourists visiting South Africa only come to Cape Town and travel parts of the Garden Route. I want to show you the beautiful side of the amazing Natal province. As I only had 6 days to spend in Kwa Zulu Natal, I couldn’t experience the mountainside but I am still sure you will get an authentic idea of this beautiful piece of earth. Getting around in KwaZulu Natal by public transport is a bit difficult and can be quite expensive, that´s why I got a rental car.  

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Here you can find my itinerary for 6 days in KwaZulu Natal



Day 1

I started my trip in Durban, which is the third largest city in South Africa after Cape Town and Johannesburg and one of the most populated cities in South Africa. What is important to know as well is that Durban is Indian influenced, as it has the second largest Indian population after India. 

Places to visit in the KZN - kwazulu natal attractions

What to do in Durban:

  • Visit the lively Durban Beachfront
  • A variety of Watersport are on offer all along the coastal line
  • Visit Shakaland (Zulu Cultural Village)
  • Eat some great seafood at the Durban Harbour
  • Visit uShaka Marine World (largest aquarium in the southern hemisphere)
  • Shop at the Eastern Spice Market
  • Party in Florida Street
  • Go on a Inner City Walking Tour


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Where to stay in Durban:

During my tour of Durban I stayed at this really awesome Durban backpackers

Curiosity Backpackers Durban

Curiosity Backpackers got a room for every type of traveller: dorms, private rooms and even premium rooms. Yoga on the beach, rooftop braai, pub crawl… at Curiosity there is always something going on. You want to take it more easy – no problem. Just get a good book and chill in the lounge or the courtyard.


Tugela Mouth

Day 2 & 3

My next stop was Tugela Mouth, this cute little town is located on the Dolphin Coast about 60 km away from Durban. It is a perfect get away destination with unspoilt beaches and a paradise for bird watchers and keen fishermen.


Tugela Mouth

What to do in Tugela Mouth:

  • Watch some birds
  • Take a walk at the Harold Johnson Nature Reserve
  • Go for a run on the beach
  • Visit Ultimatum Tree
  • Watch whales and sharks (season: July to November)
  • Enjoy a fishing trip
  • Do a canoe tour on the river mouth
  • Go deep sea fishing
  • Watersports on Zinkwazi Beach 
  • or just relax and enjoy a good book


Where to stay in Tugela Mouth:

My recommendation:

Sensayuma Backpackers

This super chilled backpackers is located right on the beach and the perfect stop over for some relaxing days. The owners Ashely and Geoff are amazing hosts and make you feel home from the first minute you walk in.


Do you enjoy traveling in a small group of like-minded people? Then check these South-Africa Tours:


Hluhluwe National Park

Day 4

Hluhluwe Imfolozi National Park is the oldest National Park in Africa and home to the BIG 5. It is a self drive park but safaris can be booked as well. 

Hluhluwe Imfolozi , Imfolozi Nature Reserve , Hluhluwe Imfolozi Park

Where to stay at Hluhluwe National Park:

My recommendation:

Hilltop Resort 

This resort is the only resort in Hluhluwe National Park, that has a restaurant but offers self-catering and non self-catering chalets at the same time. You need a break from the bustling city life? This camp is the perfect place to be. What I enjoyed most was waking up in the morning by the sounds of nature and watching the sunrise.




Read next: 10 Things to do in Johannesburg



St Lucia

Day 5 & 6

St Lucia is located about 250 km north of Durban and has some of the highest concentration of hippos and crocodiles in Southern Africa. Taking a walk in St. Lucia during the evening, 9 out of 10 times you are bound to bump into a hippo that had the same idea. St Lucia is part of iSimangaliso Wetlands Park, which is the 3rd largest National Park in South Africa and one of the countries World Heritage Site. St Lucia beaches attract visitors all year round. 

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What to do in St Lucia:

  • Deep sea fishing
  • Whale watching (June to end of November)
  • Watch turtle’s laying eggs on the beaches (November to the end of March)
  • Safari in Hluhluwe Imfolozi National Park
  • Trail hiking
  • Horseback riding
  • Bird watching
  • Go on a boat safari



Read next: Best things to do and see in St Lucia



Where to stay in St Lucia:

My recommendation:

Monzi Safaris Tented Lodge and Backpackers

This camp offers luxury tents not to mention luxury tents for a backpacker budget. A pool area with open plan kitchen as well as comfortable lounging sofas and a BBQ space will help you to finish off your day super chilled.


Unfortunately I only had a few days to spend in KwaZulu Natal. The provinz has way more to offer. Here you can find more recommendation on things to do and see in KZN.


More things to see in KwaZulu Natal

  • The Drakensberg
  • Kosi Bay
  • Sodwana Bay
  • Royal National Park
  • Ndumo Game Reserve



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Have you been to KwaZulu Natal before? What was your trip all about? Let me know in the comments!


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