KwaZulu-Natal is one of the country’s most popular holiday destinations. This verdant region includes South Africa’s lush subtropical east coast. Washed by the warm Indian Ocean, it stretches from Port Edward in the south to the Mozambique boundary in the north. In addition to the magnificent coastline, the province has sweeping savanna in the east and the majestic Drakensberg mountain range in the west.
Visitors can enter KwaZulu-Natal through the King Shaka International Airport, at La Mercy, north of Durban. Alternatively, they can use the extensive national road network. The ports of Durban and Richards Bay are among the busiest in South Africa. Richards Bay is an important coal-export harbour. The province is also well known for its active conservation activities. There are several reserves in the province such as the Royal Natal National Park, Giant’s Castle and the Kamberg Nature Reserve.
The province boasts several universities of technology, universities and other educational institutions, including the University of KwaZulu- Natal and the Durban Institute of Technology. KwaZulu-Natal is the only province with a monarchy specifically provided for in the Constitution.
KwaZulu-Natal has more than 10 million people living on 92 100 km2 of land (Mid-Year Population Estimates, 2011). The principal language is isiZulu.
Industry and agriculture
Richards Bay is the center of operations for South Africa’s aluminium industry. In 2010, R56,9 million was set aside to help the Richards Bay IDZ fulfil its strategic mandate of positioning the town as a preferred investment location with unparallelled opportunities enhanced by its strategic business location. With the Richards Bay IDZ having been granted an operator’s permit, it is expected that investors will seize the opportunities it offers. The Richards Bay Coal Terminal is instrumental in securing the country’s position as the world’s second-largest exporter of steam coal. Richards Bay Minerals is the largest sandmining and mineral-processing operation in the world. The province has undergone rapid industrialisation owing to its abundant water supply and labor resources. Industries are also found in Newcastle, Ladysmith, Dundee, Durban, Hammarsdale, Richmond, Pietermaritzburg and Mandeni.
The sugar-cane plantations along the Indian Ocean coastal belt form the mainstay of the region’s economy and agriculture. The coastal belt is also a large producer of subtropical fruit and sugar, while the farmers in the hinterland concentrate on vegetables, and dairy and stock farming.
Another major source of income is forestry in the areas around Vryheid, Eshowe, Richmond, Harding and Ngome, which is also known for its tea plantations. The summer-rainfall coastal regions of this province are hot and humid, with a subtropical climate.
The KwaZulu-Natal Midlands between the coastal strip and the southern Drakensberg escarpment is drier, with extremely cold conditions in winter and snow on the high-lying ground. In the north, the subtropical strip extends around Swaziland to the edge of the escarpment.
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