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Search the best hotels in KwaZulu Natal
About KwaZulu Natal
From mountains to malls, wildlife and wetlands, KwaZulu-Natal is a province of contrasts. South Africa’s second-largest, its capital city, Durban epitomises this. Enjoying a tropical climate, lying along the Indian Ocean's coastline, it borders Mozambique, Eswatini and Lesotho. Meaning ‘Place of the Zulu’ this is traditional Zululand, whose people are fiercely proud of their culture. Refusing to surrender to outside rule, KwaZulu-Natal was home to some bloody battlefields between the Zulus, the British, and the Boers. Our pick of the best places to stay in KwaZulu-Natal includes the best of both urban, mountainous, and coastal stays.
Durban, a smaller, friendlier version of its bigger brother, Cape Town, is home to the largest Indian diaspora outside of South Asia - a veritable melting pot of Indian, African, and Malay cultures. From music, restaurants, bustling markets to mosques, churches, and temples, there are plenty of ways to experience the vibrancy of this coastal city. Known as eThekweni in Zulu, Durban has a lot more to offer than many might first expect. Ideal for a lazy beach holiday spent bathing in sunshine or surfing in the warm azure sea, Durban is an infinitely cool city with a lot of heart and soul.
Less than three hours west, lies the quaint town of Himeville, providing the perfect base from which to explore the mighty Drakensburg mountains, running alongside Tugela River, it boasts a long list of outdoor pursuits and is a favourite spot with horse riders and cyclists. Further afield, the St. Lucia wetland park, comprised of coral reefs and wetlands, along the Indian Ocean’s coastline, is home to whales, dolphins, turtles, and crocodiles, and further inland, elephants, leopards, rhinos, and lions.
WHAT NOT TO MISS
- It might be the capital of KwaZulu-Natal, but Durban is home to some impressive wildlife and nature reserves. From Bayhead Natural Heritage Site’s acres of mangrove (great for bird spotting) to Bluff Nature Reserve and Burman Bush.
- KwaZulu-Natal ‘s Drakensberg mountains are home to some impressive outdoor activities, from zip-lining to horse riding; mountain biking to trail trekking, there’s a long list of ways to experience one of South Africa’s most pristine landscapes.
- Durban's Botanical Gardens are picturesque and hosting a prime display of some of South Africa's flora and fauna, a peaceful respite from the city.
- From fly fishing at Penwarn to trout fishing at Glengarry, the Drakensberg area has plenty of angling opportunities.
- Every July, Durban plays host to the Durban International Film Festival, showcasing work from artists around the country and the world.
- Pay a visit to Himeville, a small picturesque town boasting some charming hotels, on route to the Sani Pass. Stretching from Underberg to Mokhotlong, Lesotho, it is one of South Africa’s longest and most epic road journeys.
- Embark on a walking tour of some of KwaZulu-Natal’s capital city, Durban’s hidden historical sites including Brook Street Ceremony and the markets of Warwick.
- The St. Lucia wetland park, a protected area of incredible biodiversity, including coral reefs, and wetlands, is home to elephants, leopards, rhinos, whales, dolphins, turtles, hippos, crocodiles, and much more.
Our pick of the best places to stay in KwaZulu-Natal showcases the finest collection of hotels, from budget to five-star, in one of South Africa's most vibrant, and less-visited, provinces.
WHERE TO STAY IN KWAZULU-NATAL
FOR A BUDGET FRIENDLY STAY
- Just a ten-minute drive from Durban beach, The Benjamin, is a quaint character stay offering great value accommodation. Rooms are decorated in colourful quilts, with charming period furnishing, plus there’s a superb breakfast served and complimentary afternoon tea each day.
- An excellent value family stay, Umkhumbi Lodge, located amidst the Kuleni Game Park with fabulous views, guests can look forward to spotting zebras, giraffes and wildebeest.
- Bringing the outdoors in, each of Sani Valley Nature Lodges 11 cottages features floor-to-ceiling glass doors, the best with private hot tubs. Nestled amidst the picturesque Sani Pass, these Scandi-chic lodgings boast excellent value for money.
- With the pristine surroundings of St Lucia beach under 1 km away, St. Lucia Wetlands Guest House is a well-priced stay in a superb location. Capacious four-posters and an inviting pool make it feel rather opulent.
- Paired back yet characterful, aha Avondale Boutique Hotel is excellent value providing a central stay in Durban, serving restaurant quality food. There’s a spa, plus the hotel bar is quite a meeting place on a weekend.
- An authentic farm stay, KarMichael Farm is surrounded by the Drakensburg range and rolling vines. Each of its eight rooms is decorated with floral quilts and antique furnishings, with guests free to choose between B&B and self-catering accommodation.
FOR SOMETHING TRULY SPECIAL
- Located in the heart of the Nambiti Game Reserve, Esiweni Luxury Lodge is a luxurious all-inclusive stay. Beautifully decorated suites make for a very relaxing base from which to head out in search of Africa’s ‘Big 5’.
FOR CITY STYLE
- In the smart Durban suburb of Umhlanga, The Oyster Box is the most stylish address in Durban. Right along the coast, each of its smartly decorated suites boasts ocean views with superb dining options to boot. With live music on the weekend and an in-house cinema, it’s an entertaining place to stay.
- Each of Teremok Marine’s eight colourfully and quirkily decorated rooms. Perfectly located for exploring Durban.
- Modern, chic, and centrally located Endless Horizons boasts Indian Ocean views and smartly decorated rooms with juxtaposing colour schemes and fabrics. The centre of Durban is easily accessible, plus the Full English breakfast comes highly recommended.
A STAY AMIDST NATURE
- Located right on the shores of St Lucia lake, Nibela Lake Lodge is surrounded by nature. Cosy rooms, filled with comfy sofas and colourful rugs provide a homely feel – relax by the open fire on a starry eve. Bliss.
- Surrounded by the Drakensburg mountains, Montusi Mountain Lodge’s traditional thatched cottage accommodation is an inviting stay, great for families, surrounded by some of KwaZulu-Natal’s most dramatic landscapes.
- Elegant dining, with a very civilised afternoon tea, the intimate, six-bedroom Inkungu Lodge boasts unspoilt views of the Drakensburg range.
- Rustic, yet charmingly decorated (colourful Portuguese tiles, in particular, add a touch of character) Tugela River Lodge lets nature do the talking. Each of its five, self-catering cottages are perfect for the couple or family wanting to escape amidst nature. Great value.
- An authentic stay on a centuries-old, family-run farm, Dalmore Guest Farm is an authentic rural stay. With plenty of country pursuits in the vicinity, from horse-riding to cycling, and much more, all ages will love.
GREAT FOR FAMILIES
- Rustic thatched accommodation on an almost deserted beach along Southern Africa’s Indian coastline, Thonga Beach Lodge is a seaside escape for families that want to escape the rat race. Excellent snorkelling and diving opportunities.
- Located along the sparkling water of St. Lucia Lake, with Indian Ocean moments away, Makakatana Bay Lodge is a collection of luxurious cottages, ideal for the family wanting to experience some quality time together, in the great outdoors.
- Cycling, trekking, hiking, and plenty of games to keep you entertained Three Tree Hill enjoys a wild location with welcome domesticities, like freshly baked cakes, comfy bedrooms, and private balconies.
- Great value, Berghouse and Cottages boasts riding facilities and an epic setting. Excellent value, this family-run hotel is a family-friendly stay in the Drakensburg range.
- Located on a mirror-like lake, each of Cleopatra Mountain Farmhouse’s 12 rooms includes far-reaching views. Candle-lit dining, with meals rustled up by heralded local chef Richard Poynton, are a winner with guests.
- Stately Victorian stay, Quarters Hotel, located in Durban’s ‘dining district’, with many of its best restaurants but a short stroll away. What’s more, it boasts chic suites and is excellent value.
FOR A COUPLES RETREAT
- With your choice of dining, the ‘adults only’ Malachite Manor is a grown-up stay in a truly wild locale, Himeville, with plenty of outdoor pursuits in the vicinity including cycling, trekking, riding, and much more.
- Traditional, refined, and oh-so picture perfect with its white-washed walls and thatched roof, Elgin Guest House is a perfect couples retreat (adults only) amidst the picture-perfect Drakensburg mountains.
- Sumptuous suites, superb dining, Petite Provence Guest House is a un petit piece of Provence along the Eastern Cape. Each of its rooms is decorated in shabby-chic furnishings, in romantic pastel palettes. Made for romance, it’s the perfect couples’ retreat.
- Subtropical in climate, KwaZulu-Natal’s weather varies, and can at times be unpredictable. From January to March, Durban witnesses temperatures of between 21-30°C, dropping down to 11-23 °C in the winter months of June to August. Inland, the Drakensberg range experiences snow in the winter months, beautiful to behold, whilst reaching as high as 30°C in the summer. Further north, the coastal areas of St Lucia can get hot and humid in the summer months. The best time to visit, KwaZulu-Natal overall is during the hot, dry months of between November and February.
- With little in the way of public transport, most travellers to KwaZulu-Natal opt for a self-drive holiday, and with some epic road trips, it’s quite the experience. The province's main airport, King Shaka International Airport, located just outside Durban receives daily flights from Cape Town and Johannesburg. Most places of interest, are within three hours drive from here.
- If you'd prefer to self-drive through KwaZulu-Natal, we recommend our travel partners, Rentalcars.
Still not sure?
Best Hotels in KwaZulu Natal
KarMichael Farm Himeville,, KwaZulu Natal 8 rooms from £56
Delightful traditional farm stay, guests can choose between self-catering and B&B cottages. Tucked away amidst the Drakensberg Mountains, surrounded by vineyards, it's a truly bucolic stay. Rooms are decorated with floral motifs and colourful chintz. It's very homely. A great family stay.Back to Nature - Stay on a traditional farm - a great family stayGreat walks - Around the property and surrounding vineyardsSights nearby - Himeville Museum is under 2 km awayFishing - Fly Fishing - equipment available
aha Avondale Boutique Hotel Durban 17 rooms from £58
Delightful hotel, one of our top picks in Durban. Each of its 17 rooms is decorated in a traditional, country casuals style. Dining is superb with your choice of eggs to order, fresh fruits and juices, and great coffee. There's a spa, plus you're walking distance from many attractions.Local exploring - A charming hotel within easy reach of Durban's attractionsGreat walks - Through Durban Botanic Gardens is just over 1 km awayLocal markets - Victoria Street MarketSpa
Dalmore Guest Farm Drakensburg, KwaZulu Natal 4 rooms from £65
A traditional family-run farm provides a bucolic stay in rural South Africa. Each of its four cottages is very family friendly, and guests have the option of catered of non-catered accommodation. Very cosy, these stone-walled centuries old abodes are surrounded by pristine nature and activities.Country Escape - Stay on a working farm in the depths of the Eastern CapeSights nearby - This site of the famour Spioenkop Battlefield is just 8 km awayGreat walks - There are excellent walking routes right from your front doorSwimming Pool - Outdoor pool
Tugela River Lodge KwaZulu Natal 5 rooms from £66
Quirky, cosy, cottages surrounded by rolling hills and nature. Each of the cottages provides a comfortable stay and a chance to truly get back to basics. There is little in the way of entertainment, there's even no internet. This self-catering stay is about reconnecting with yourself and others.Back to Nature - No internet, total tranquility, pet friendly - a perfect place to get away from it allGreat walks - Superb walking trails right from your front doorSights nearby - Located 5 kms from Spioenkop BattlefieldKayaking - Along Spioenkop Dam
St. Lucia Wetlands Guest House St Lucia,, KwaZulu Natal 6 rooms from £70
A homely six-bedroom guesthouse providing comfortable accommodation, moments from St Lucia Estuary. Excellent value accommodation within a unique location, offering great wildlife and watersports opportunities. Crocodile and hippo spotting is just moments away!Value chic - Superb value homely accommodationSights nearby - St Lucia Crocodile Centre is just 2km awayGreat walks - Maphelane Nature ReserveKayaking - Saint Lucia Estuary
The Benjamin Durban 41 rooms from £71
A delightful hotel just ten minutes drive from Durban beach. Each of the 41 rooms is decorated in a homely style, boasting pretty garden views, tea and coffee making facilities, and luxurious en suite bathrooms. There's an inviting pool, where you can enjoy tea and cakes out on the terrace.City Style - A homely stay, excellently located within easy reach of townGreat walks - Through Durban Botanical gardensSights nearby - uShaka Marine World is 4 km awaySwimming Pool - Outdoor pool
Endless Horizons Durban 10 rooms from £81
Modern boutique hotel boasts stylish interiors within a charming Durban neighbourhood. Each of the ten rooms is decorated with quirky prints and contemporary style. There is an inviting pool on the sunny terrace with far reaching views. A hearty buffet breakfast with Full English to order is served.City Style - Stylish boutique hotel within easy reach of Durban's bustling centreSailing - Boat trips through Beachwood Mangroves Nature ReserveRestrictions on children - Children above the age of 12 are welcomeGreat walks - To Umhlanga lighthouse
Sani Valley Nature Lodges Himeville,, KwaZulu Natal 11 rooms from £82
A collection of lodges boasting an idyllic setting in the Sani Pass. Their minimalist interiors have an almost Scandinavian feel, and the setting is no less dramatic. Wholesome, hearty, South African dishes are served for breakfast and dinner. By day, guests can explore the surrounding beauty.Country Escape - Absolute bliss - a true escape in the Sani ValleyGreat walks - Excellent trails through Sani PassRemote - Off the beaten track.Spa
Umkhumbi Lodge KwaZulu Natal 12 rooms from £67
A family-friendly lodge set within Kuleni Game Park, surrounded by a variety of wildlife including zebras, giraffes and wildebeest. Accommodation is simple and bright allowing the focus to draw towards the fabulous views. A charming base to discover this fascinating region from.Back to Nature - Boasting a spectacular location within Kuleni Game Park, it would be hard to get closer to the action!Sights nearby - St Lucia Wetlands is one of South Africa’s World Heritage sites and activities include kayaking, boat cruises and guided walksKayaking - Explore abundant birdlife while kayaking and canoeing at Muzi Pan with the chance to see hippos and crocodilesBirdwatching - Over 900 species of birds in the area, in the various eco systems, with many hotspots close to the lodge
Petite Provence Guest House Dolphin Coast,, KwaZulu Natal 7 rooms from £88
A little bit of Provence on South Africa's Eastern Cape. Each of this charming hotel's enormous seven bedrooms is decorated with a certain French 'je ne sais quoi'. Choose between romantic suites, family rooms, and a self-catering apartment. Manicured gardens and an inviting pool add to the charm.Romantic Break - A little slice of Provence on the Eastern Cape - a very romantic staySailing - Dolphin spotting on the aptly named, Dolphin CoastSights nearby - Head for a swim in Ballito Tidal PoolGreat walks - The scenic Ballito Boardwalk
Elgin Guest House Underberg, KwaZulu Natal 8 rooms from £97
Located in the Southern Drakensberg this quaint guesthouse and working farm provides adults with a relaxing and immersive stay amidst Southern Africa's rugged wilderness. With plenty of outdoor activities on your front doorstep, guests are invited to unwind in well-appointed rooms with epic views.Back to Nature - An adult's only stay amidst nature, with plenty of outdoor activities and picturesque sceneryKayaking - Mkomazana River is under 1 km awaySwimming Pool - Outdoor poolRestrictions on children - Adults only
Malachite Manor Drakensburg, KwaZulu Natal 6 rooms from £103
Intimate six-bedroom country house, boasting spacious rooms with exposed beams and rural views. Dine at your choice of The Manor restaurant and Speakeasy Boma, serving European classics and local favourites. There are excellent walking and cycling trails. "Adults only" ensure a tranquil stay.Back to Nature - A homely stay amidst pristine countrysideKayaking - Umzimkulu River is only 1 km awayRestrictions on children - Adults onlyViews - Great views from hotel
Moorcroft Manor Himeville, Drakensburg, KwaZulu Natal 12 rooms from £105
Delightful family friendly stay surrounded by picturesque countryside. Wallow in the natural outdoor pool or explore the countryside on foot. Cosy cottages are great for couples and families - a very comfortable stay complete with tea and coffee making facilities and a hearty breakfast each morning.Back to Nature - Breath-taking surrounding, this is a true stay amidst natureSights nearby - Make a visit to Himeville Museum, just 2 km awayGreat walks - Beautiful walking trails nearbyKayaking - Pholela River is only 1 km
Quarters Hotel Durban 25 rooms from £105
This inviting Victorian hotel provides a very stylish stay. Located amidst what is known as Durban's "dining district" it is walking distance from some of the city's finest restaurants. Each of the rooms boasts its own private terrace and features enormous sleigh beds and stylish en suites.Local exploring - Stylish Victorian hotel located amidst Durban 'dining district'Great walks - Explore Durban's Botanical Gardens, just a few minutes walk awaySights nearby - Durban's beach - take a stroll along Marine ParadeTraditional
Berghouse and Cottages Drakensburg, KwaZulu Natal 5 rooms from £108
One of the most stunning locations in all of KwaZulu-Natal, amidst the Drakensberg mountains, this family-run stay is an intimate stay amidst nature - ideal for families and couples. With a bounty of outdoor activities: horse-riding, fishing, hiking and much more, plus a sumptuous suite to retire.Back to Nature - Set amidst some of South Africa's wildest landscapes - a truly jaw-dropping stayFishing - Equipment is availableSwimming Pool - Outdoor poolKayaking - Tugela River
Inkungu Lodge Cathkin,, KwaZulu Natal 6 rooms from £115
A smart six bedroom lodge nestled amidst the dramatic Drakensberg Mountains with hiking and cycling trails abound. There's elegant dining and a very civilised afternoon tea. The perfect cosy abode to come back to after a day exploring. Boasts lush four-posters and a picturesque infinity pool.Country Escape - Beautiful accommodation in an equally stunning locationGreat walks - Superb walking trails right from the propertySights nearby - Visit the nearby Bushmen PaintingsFishing - On the Sterkspruit River
Montusi Mountain Lodge KwaZulu Natal 16 rooms from £147
A mountainside haven offering stunning views of the Drakensberg range. Thatched suites have a traditional yet utterly luxurious feel. A fire-lit restaurant serves hearty gourmet cuisine. There's a range of outdoor pursuits available for guests but you are equally welcome to simply relax.Country Escape - Set in the spectacular Drakensberg mountains, unwind in luxurious surrounds and feast on hearty cuisine, rural perfectionBirdwatching - The gardens have become a haven for hundreds of different species of bird such as sunbirds, sugarbirds, widows and wydahsViews - The only upmarket destination in the area with an uninterrupted view of the Drakensberg's famous Amphitheatre escarpmentFishing - Fly fishing at two dams on the property stocked with trout (and boasting beautiful views)
Nibela Lake Lodge Hluhluwe 11 rooms from £196
Excellent value accommodation, ideal for both nature lovers and all the family. Beautiful suites, complete with four posters beds and indoor-outdoor bathrooms are the height of luxury. Buffet meals offer a lot of variety. Superb wildlife spotting in the area.Back to Nature - Right on St Lucia lake, you're surrounded by nature and wildlifeFamilies - There is a long list of family friendly activities on siteGreat walks - Explore the surrounding nature on footSailing - Take a boat out on St Lucia lake
Teremok Marine Durban 8 rooms from £210
This colourful and quirky owner-managed boutique hotel provides a true home away from home with bags of style for its guests. Each of the rooms is individually decorated with mix and match wallpaper and fabrics. Sea views, an inviting pool, plus you're walking distance from the action.Local exploring - Skipping distance from Umhlanga Rocks, one of Durban's most upmarket neighbourhoods, guests can explore on foot.Kayaking - Kayaking and boat trips through Umhlanga Lagoon Nature ReserveSights nearby - Umhlanga Rocks Beach is under 1 km awayGreat walks - Umhlanga's Promenade is within 500 m
Cleopatra Mountain Farmhouse Kamberg,, KwaZulu Natal 12 rooms from £275
Boasting its own organic farm with a menu designed by the award-winning chef Chef Richard Poynton, this proves to be a stay that will indulge. Sumptuous breakfast, candle-lit dinners, plus 360-degree scenic views. Rooms are cosy and filled with antiques - all this plus an inviting spa. Divine.Country Escape - Superb dining, stunning scenery - a perfect country escapeRomantic Break - Adults only, spa facilities, and superb diningGreat walks - Excellent trails right from the propertyKayaking - Klein-mooi Rivier is just 1 km
Three Tree Hill Bergville,, KwaZulu Natal 8 rooms from £296
Surrounded by nature this historic lodge provides an authentic experience of South African culture. Interiors are decorated with local flourishes and antique artwork and posters. Freshly baked cakes and bread are served alongside a superb menu. A great family stay with a long list of activities.Families - Packed with fun and outdoor activities, all ages are welcomeSwimming Pool - Outdoor poolViews - Great views from hotelTraditional
Fugitive's Drift Rorke's Drift,, KwaZulu Natal 3 rooms from £350
Located on the famous battlefield of the 1979 Zulu War, Fugitive's Drift provides luxurious accommodation in a truly rugged setting. Your choice of wildlife or historical tours. Stone built cottages are decorated with family portraits and old maps of artwork. Delicious food, great activities.Back to Nature - Escape back to nature and back in time - Fugitive's Drift is a stay for outdoor lovers and history buffsGreat walks - Walking tours of the surrounding areaFishing - Fishing on the Buffalo RiverSwimming Pool - Outdoor pool
Oyster Box Hotel Umhlanga 86 rooms from £306
The last word in beachfront luxury, this grand, elegant hotel offers a state-of-the-art spa and a choice of top quality bars and restaurants. A range of accommodation spans from charming rooms to family-friendly villas and all have an indulgent yet homely feel. Perfect for utterly relaxing breaks.Total relaxation - A beach side property complete with indulgent spa and fabulous food, ideal for relaxing weekend breaksGreat walks - Hike in the dramatic Drakensberg mountains that run along the west of the provinceSwimming Pool - Outdoor poolLively - Hip and happening.
Thonga Beach Lodge Mabibi Camp,, KwaZulu Natal 24 rooms from £445
If you're after a truly relaxing family stay, this is the place. Located on a deserted beach, with excellent snorkelling and diving opportunities. Stay in luxurious cottage accommodation; some family suites include private pools. Flavoursome Western and African dishes are served. Superb.Families - Family accommodation with a bounty of activitiesDiving - The Indian Ocean is ideal for diving and snorkellingGreat walks - Along the neighbouring beachSwimming Pool - Outdoor pool
Makakatana Bay Lodge KwaZulu Natal 5 rooms from £500
Superb cottage accommodation, popular with families for its bounty of activities. Located on the edge of a sparkling lake, within moments of the Indian Ocean, it is an area that attracts an incredible array of wildlife. Luxurious suites, superb staff, and delicious dining. A great stay.Families - Lots of outdoor activities and family accommodationDiving - Diving trips are a great way to explore the Indian OceanGreat walks - Guided walks in search of Africa's wildlifeSailing - Cruise along the narrows of Lake St. Lucia
Esiweni Luxury Lodge Ladysmith, KwaZulu Natal 5 rooms from £786
Utterly luxurious safari lodge in the heart of the Nambiti Game Reserve. This five-star stay provides guests with a romantic and indulgent base from which to head off in search of the Big 5. All inclusive, two safari drives are included in your stay. Modern and opulent suites are very romantic.Total relaxation - Total relaxation amidst the African bush with lavish suites and indulgent spa treatmentsRestrictions on children - Children above the age of six are welcomeMinimum Stay - Three night minimum stayKayaking - Along the Sunday's River