Aptly called South Africa’s garden province, 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, and northwards to the Mozambique boundary. In addition to the magnificent coastline, the province also boasts sweeping savanna in the east, and the majestic Drakensberg mountain range in the west. Visitors to KwaZulu-Natal can either disembark at Durban International Airport, which handles more than 2,5 million passengers a year, or at Durban harbour. Alternatively, they can 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 is one of the 10-largest in the world. Since one of the 2010 Soccer World Cup semifinals will be contested in Durban, provincial government, in partnership with the eThekwini Municipality, national government and the South African Football Association, plans to spend R1,6 billion on building an iconic stadium. The 70 000-seater King Senzangakhona Stadium is expected to be completed by December 2008. KwaZulu-Natal is the only province with a monarchy specifically provided for in the Constitution. Pietermaritzburg is KwaZulu-Natal’s capital and Richards Bay is an important coal-export harbour. The province has several popular coastal holiday resorts, such as Port Shepstone, Umhlanga Rocks and Margate. In the interior, Newcastle is wellknown 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. The province is also well-known for its active conservation activities. The Royal Natal National Park has more than 1 000 plant species, 12 species of antelope and three of the world’s seven species of crane. There are several other reserves such as Giant’s Castle and the Kamberg Nature Reserve. 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 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, which is protected in several game parks.
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