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KwaZulu-Natal: Paradise in South Africa

KwaZulu-Natal, also referred to as KZN or Natal, is found to the southeast of South Africa. The province has a long shoreline on the Indian Ocean and borders three other provinces namely the Free State, Mpumalanga and the Eastern Cape, and the countries of Mozambique, Swaziland, and Lesotho. It is called the garden province and is the home of the Zulu nation.


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It is a subtropical region of lush and well-watered valleys, washed by the warm Indian Ocean. KZN is one of the country's most popular tourist destinations. The population is an estimated 10 million people. At around 92,100km2 in area, the province is roughly the size of Portugal, stretching from Port Edward in the south to the borders of Swaziland and Mozambique to the north.
 
The province's capital is Pietermaritzburg and Durban its largest city. Durban is one of the fastest growing urban areas in the world. Its harbour is the busiest in South Africa and one of the 10 largest in the world. Every year the port of Durban handles over 30 million tons of cargo with a value of more than R100-billion. To the north of Durban, the port of Richards Bay, an important coal-export harbour, handles over 12 000 containers a year. Combined, the two ports account for some 78% of South Africa's cargo tonnage. In the interior, Newcastle is well-known 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.
 
KwaZulu-Natal has a varied yet lush climate thanks to diverse, complex topography. Generally, the coast is subtropical with inland regions becoming increasingly colder. The coastline is dotted with small towns, many of which serve as seasonal recreational hubs.


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Access to the South Coast, which runs all the way from Scottburgh in the north to Port Edward in the south, is easy and safe. The N2 freeway which runs north to south the entire 120 km's of coastline means that you can get out of the rat-race and onto the coast in an easy, one-hour's drive from Durban.
 
“The South Coast is definitely a leisure market, with the majority of homes being owned by people who use them as holiday destinations.“ says Craig Hutchison, CEO of Engel & Völkers Southern Africa. Probably the most popular holiday town is Margate, famous for its blue flag beaches and all year round warm weather. It is very popular amongst holiday makers, particularly those from Gauteng. This holiday destination even rivals Durban in the popularity stakes, and it has excellent facilities, a great climate, the warm waters of the Indian Ocean and numerous attractions, both natural and man-made.
 
The title of a "Blue Flag" beach is the prestigious award that is given to beaches across the world that meets standards of excellence in safety, amenities, cleanliness and environmental standards. It has been awarded to eight South African beaches, four of which are down the Hibiscus Coast, namely Hibberdene beach, Ramsgate beach, Marina Beach/San Lameer, and Lucien.  South Africa is furthermore the first country outside Europe to win Blue Flag accreditation, which is an assurance to visitors of a clean, safe and environmentally friendly experience and the South Coast is proud to be the national leader in this regard!


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The Margate beachfront is the main drawcard for visitors. Nearby towns that also boast attractive beaches include Ramsgate, Scottburgh, Trafalgar, Port Shepstone, Shelly Beach and St Michael's-on-Sea. Shelly Beach is situated next to Margate and boasts two large shopping complexes, namely the Shelly Centre and the South Coast Mall. The Shelly Centre has 114 shops of varied nature, cinema's, restaurants, etc. The South Coast Mall has many large franchise stores and some great restaurants.
 
“The South Coast offers a lifestyle for not only the young at heart, but also for the family that want their children to grow up in a relaxed environment without the pressures of urban living. Seeing that the interest rates is at its lowest rate since 1975, coupled with rising business confidence, we have seen more investors either buying to let or buying a second home for themselves.. There are many areas on the South Coast where properties continue to achieve sound growth in value, and will continue to do so, making the case for investment in property as valid as ever” says Natalie Herbert, Licence Partner of Engel & Völkers Margate.
 
Property values on the North Coast are indeed significantly higher, with it not being uncommon for the Engel & Völkers shop in Ballito to be marketing properties for around R8 million. Developments such as the Zimbali Eco Estate have raised the bar in the area – with nearby Umhlanga gaining a reputation as the province's playground for the wealthy.
 
The province's North Coast is becoming increasingly popular, with the King Shaka International Airport bringing tourists – and the businesses needed to keep them entertained – to the area. “There is so much for visitors to do, including the King Shaka Heritage Route, and the renowned Umfolozi and Mkuze game reserves,” says Gert Vorster, Engel & Völkers licence partner of Engel & Völkers Ballito. “This, combined with the global reputation of the Zimbali Eco Estate, and other estates around it, has boosted the popularity of the area significantly.”
 
Nestled in the heart of KZN's Sugar Coast, lies the exclusive beach resort of Umhlanga. This area boasts a large variety of accommodation options, stylish shopping malls and all modern amenities. It remains a highly popular seaside resort - its wide, sandy beaches lined with exclusive hotels and apartment blocks, the beaches filled with umbrellas and sun worshippers, whilst locals enthusiastically walk the promenade at sundown. Many businesses have relocated here from central Durban, in a similar fashion to Sandton in Johannesburg.
 
“The residential aspect of Umhlanga too has grown incredibly. Gated communities and luxury estates have sprawled their way across the suburb, and in particular, Umhlanga Ridge, which used to be largely sugarcane, is now a much sought-after retail, office and residential area due in no small part to the incredible views over the Indian Ocean” says Conrad Vorster, Licence Partner of Engel & Völkers Umhlanga.
 
KZN offers something for everyone, from business to leisure. Come and visit KwaZulu-Natal, the real paradise.


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