10 things to do in KZN that won’t cost a cent

The best things in life are for free! As Freedom Day approaches we are in the spirit of being free and what better way to celebrate than doing or experiencing something awesome for absolutely zip, zero, zilch, gratis, mahhala! That’s why we’ve found 10 things to do in KZN that won’t cost you a cent!

1. The Nelson Mandela Capture Site, Howick:

We have all been impacted by Tata Madiba. This to-do is surrounded by gorgeous scenery and has a sense of legacy about it. It also has a very significant sculpture made up of 50 steel columns between 6 and 9.5 metres high and forms an image of Nelson Mandela from a certain vantage point. This special sculpture is a collaboration between artist Marco Cianfanelli and Jeremy Rose and holds a lot of meaning.
Note Cianfanelli’s comments on the deliberate structural paradox: “this represents the momentum gained in the struggle through the symbolic of Mandela’s capture. The 50 columns represent the 50 years since his capture, but they also suggest the idea of many making the whole; of solidarity. It points to an irony as the political act of Mandela’s incarceration cemented his status as an icon of struggle, which helped ferment the groundswell of resistance, solidarity and uprising, bringing about political change and democracy”.
A truly magnificent and unsurpassed statue and site that you need to visit.

2. Explore the Midlands Meander:

This one could easily count for three or four to-dos. There is a variety of places to visit and see including Karkloof Falls, Beacon Hill, and a selection of nature reserves. You can also visit different studios or workshops of great craftspeople such as Shuttleworth Weaving and Hillfold Pottery. While this one might eat into your petrol budget, it will be well worth the trip.

3. Visit the Durban Botanic Gardens, Berea:

The Durban Botanic Gardens are the oldest surviving Botanic Gardens. Some of the trees are over 100 years old and it’s the perfect place to take a stroll or enjoy a lovely afternoon picnic. There is also an old slave bell and sunken gardens. So, stop a while and smell the roses.

4. Lake St Lucia:

Lake St Lucia is one of the 10 jewels of the iSimangaliso Wetland Park and UNESCO World Heritage Site. It is also Africa’s largest estuarine system (a partially enclosed coastal body) and is 80km long and 23km wide. The lake is home to over 800 happy hippos, 1 200 crocodiles, pelicans, and flamingos. While there are paid activities such as boat cruises and scuba diving, you can go explore the nature trails or simply relax on the beach for mahhala.

5. The One O’clock Gun and City Hall, Pietermaritzburg:

If you are near City Hall in Pietermaritzburg around midday, do yourself a favour and find out when the boom of the One O’clock Gun will sound off. The gun is actually a 5.5kg naval cannon that arrived in Pietermaritzburg in 1901 and used to signal the arrival of post from Durban every day at 13:00. The cannon stands outside the City Hall, which is a beautiful Victorian building said to be the biggest brick building in the southern hemisphere. The building also has a huge pipe organ and beautiful stained glass. Definitely worth a visit.

6. Dlinza Forest Aerial Boardwalk, Eshowe:

Now you can also have your head in the clouds at the Dlinza Forest Aerial Boardwalk in Eshowe and see nature from a bird’s eye view. The walkway is 10 metres high and leads through the forest canopy where 65 bird species reside. There is also a 20-metre high viewing platform so you can see the rolling hills and soaring Crowned Eagles. And if you are afraid of heights, you can also stick to the two hiking trails on the ground.

7. Explore the KwaZulu-Natal Battlefields Route:

KwaZulu-Natal has 82 battlefields, museums, and places of remembrance spread throughout the province. The best approach accordingto the Battlefields Route is to choose an era, war or campaign, then select the sites you’d like to visit, and always read up beforehand. You could even do multiple trips and visit King Shaka’s grave and the Blood River Battlefield. Soldier on!

8. Pelican Island, Richards Bay:

For all the beach bums, Pelican Island in Richards Bay is described as the ‘perfect spot for relaxation’ and ‘a hidden Island in the busy city’. However, the beach gets pretty busy during peak times, so go early to avoid the traffic. This is the perfect spot to recover from your Battlefields road trip.

9. Giant’s Castle Game Reserve, Drakensberg:

Enjoy blissful peace and quiet. You can go for a game drive, go fishing or go on a self-guided walk, and spend some much-needed time in nature. For a small fee, you can also visit one of the biggest and best sandstone caves in southern Africa that contains San rock art. Good for day visitors or sleepovers.

10. Port Shepstone Lighthouse:

This lighthouse stands 8 metres high and is a well-known landmark in Port Shepstone. The lighthouse is made of cast iron and was shipped from Britain to Natal in the 1890s. It was originally erected at Scottburgh and then it was later moved to Port Shepstone, where it has stood for over 10 years. The lighthouse has become a national monument and its light flashes once every 6 seconds. Guided tours are available but you could just go sit next to the beautiful ocean and soak up the light.

KwaZulu-Natal has so much to offer and this list is by no means complete, so we’d love to hear from you and find out what your favourite free things to do in KZN are?

“Do not follow where the path may lead. Go instead where there is no path and leave a trail.”
Ralph Waldo Emerson

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