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KwaZulu-Natal Information



Because of the diverse and complex topography of KwaZulu Natal, the province has a varied climate. In general the coastal areas are tropical with a progressively colder climate towards the inland regions. KwaZulu Natal has three different geographic areas; the lowland region along the Indian Ocean coast, the central region is the Natal Midlands and two mountainous areas, the Drakensberg Mountains in the west and the Lebombo Mountains in the north. The Tugela River flows west to east across the center of KwaZulu Natal and is the region's largest river.

The coastline of KwaZulu Natal is dotted with small holiday towns. Superb beaches of world-class quality are to be found along virtually every part of the KwaZulu Natal coastline. KwaZulu Natal's provincial government sits in the legislative buildings in Pietermaritzburg.

Generally KwaZulu Natal is divided into six regions namely; the Drakensberg region, Midlands and Battlefields regions, Zululand / Maputuland region, North Coast region, Durban Metro and South Coast region.

The KwaZulu Natal town of Durban is a rapidly growing urban area and is one of the busiest ports in Africa. Durban also has a good rail network linking into Southern Africa. The main industry in KwaZulu Natal is Sugar refining.

History of KwaZulu-Natal

The In the early 19th cent. the area was inhabited primarily by Bantu-speaking Zulu people. In the 1820s and 30s the British acquired much of Natal from the Zulu chiefs Shaka and Dingane. Afrikaner farmers ( Boers ) arrived in 1837 and, after battles with the Zulu (notably the Boer victory over Dingane at Blood River in 1838), established (1838-39) a republic. In 1843, Britain annexed Natal to Cape Colony, and a Boer exodus followed.

In 1856, Natal became a separate colony. Sugarcane cultivation began c.1860, and many Indians (mostly indentured laborers) came to work in the sugar industry. Many Indians remained in Natal after their indenture expired; by 1900 they outnumbered whites. In 1893, Natal was given internal self-government; in 1910 it became a founding province of the Union (now Republic) of South Africa.

In the 1980s and early 1990s, KwaZulu-Natal was wracked by conflict between the African National Congress and the Zulu-nationalist Inkatha Freedom Party, under the leadership of Chief Mangosuthu Buthelezi.

When the homeland of KwaZulu, which means "Place of the Zulu" was re-incorporated into the Natal province after the end of Apartheid in 1994, the province of Natal which had existed between 1910 and 1994 was renamed KwaZulu-Natal. The province is home to the Zulu monarchy, and the majority population and language of the province is Zulu. It is also the only province in South Africa which includes the name of its dominant ethnic group in its name.

KwaZulu-Natal Geography


KwaZulu Natal has three different geographic areas. The lowland region along the Indian Ocean coast is extremely narrow in the south, widening in the northern part of the province. The central region is the Natal Midlands and is an undulating hilly plateau rising towards the west. Two mountainous areas, the Drakensberg Mountains in the west and the Lebombo Mountains in the north. The Drakensberg is a solid wall of basalt rising over 3,000 m (9,800 ft) skyward near the Lesotho border, whilst the Lebombo Mountains are ancient granite mountains forming low parallel ranges running southward from Swaziland. The Tugela River flows west to east across the center of the province and is the region's largest river.

The coastal regions typically have subtropical thickets and deeper ravines and steep slopes hosts some true Afromontane Forest. The midlands have moist grasslands and isolated pockets of Afromontane Forest. The north has a primarily moist savanna habitat, whilst the Drakensberg region hosts mostly alpine grassland.

The former Eastern Cape enclave of the town of Umzimkulu and its hinterland have been incorporated into KwaZulu-Natal following the 12th amendment of the Constitution of South Africa. The amendment also made other changes to the southern border of the province.

KwaZulu-Natal Climate


KwaZulu Natal has a varied yet verdant climate thanks to diverse, complex topography. Generally, the coast is subtropical with inland regions becoming progressively colder. Durban on the south coast has an annual rainfall of 1009 mm, with daytime maxima peaking from January to March at 28 °C (82 °F) with a minimum of 21 °C (70 °F), dropping to daytime highs from June to August of 23 °C (73 °F) with a minimum of 11 °C (52 °F). Temperature drops towards the hinterland of KwaZulu Natal, with Pietermaritzburg being similar in the summer, but much cooler in the winter. Ladysmith in the Tugela River Valley reaches 30 °C (86 °F) in the summer, but may drop below freezing point on winter evenings. The Drakensberg can experience heavy winter snow, with light snow occasionally experienced on the highest peaks in summer. The Zululand north coast has the warmest climate and highest humidity with many sugar cane farms around Pongola

KwaZulu-Natal Economy


Durban is a rapidly growing urban area and is by most measures the busiest port in Africa with a good rail network linking into Southern Africa. Sugar refining is the main industry. Sheep, cattle, dairy, citrus fruits, corn, sorghum, cotton, bananas, and pineapples are also raised. There is an embryonic KwaZulu-Natal wine industry. In addition to sugar refining, industries (located mainly in and around Durban) include textile, clothing, chemicals, rubber, fertilizer, paper, vehicle assembly and food-processing plants, tanneries, and oil refineries. There are large aluminum-smelting plants at Richards Bay, on the north coast.

To the north of the province, Newcastle is the industrial powerhouse with Mittal Steel South Africa (previously ISPAT/ISCOR), and the Karbochem synthetic rubber plant, dominating the Newcastle industrial portfolio. In 2002, Newcastle became the largest producer of chrome chemicals in Africa with the completion of a chrome chemical plant, a joint venture project between Karbochem and German manufacturing giant Bayer. Other large operations include a diamond cutting works, various heavy engineering concerns,the Natal Portland Cement (NPC) slagment cement factory, and the Ingagane Power Station which was recomissioned as Africa's first Gas-fired Power Station by Independent Power Southern Africa (IPSA), which feeds the Karbochem Plant with electricity. The textile industry is a major employer in the Newcastle area with over a hundred textile factories belonging to Taiwanese and Chinese Industrialists. Maize, livestock and dairy farmers operate on the outskirts of the city. A considerable amount of coal mining is done in the Newcastle area.

The province produces considerable amounts of coal (especially coke) and timber. About 82% of the population is black. During apartheid, a large percentage were forced to live in Bantu homelands (Bantustans), which had a subsistence economy based on cattle raising and corn growing. Wildlife and tourism is increasingly important to the economy of KwaZulu-Natal. Tourists pay up to $10,000 for safaris on which they might see lions, elephants and giraffes


Midlands & Battlefields

South Coast

Durban Metro

North Coast

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