One of South Africa's nine provinces, often abbreviated to KZN. "KwaZulu" means "place of the Zulu, after the province's dominant group; Natal, its former name, was given to it by Portuguese explorer Vasco da Gama in 1497 because it was on Christmas Day that he first sighted the coast.

It is the smallest province in area but also the most populous: according to 1996 census figures it had a population of 8,4m people, 21% of the national total; 57% of KZN's population is rural.

It is located on the Indian Ocean coast, bordered to the north by Swaziland and Mozambique, to the west by Lesotho and the provinces of Mpumalanga and the Free State and to the south by the Eastern Cape province. Its offical capital is at Ulundi, although pretty much everything of any consequence happens in the economic centre of Durban, South Africa's major port city.

KwaZulu-Natal is one of the nine provinces of South Africa.

Area: 92,100 Km2 (%7.6 of South Africa)
Population at 2001 census: 9,426,019 (21.0% of South Africa) KwaZulu-Natal is the most populous province.
Population density: 102.35 people per Km2. KwaZulu-Natal is the second-most densely populated province
Proportion of national GDP (2001): 15.8% KwaZulu-Natal contributes the second most to South Africa's GDP
Per capita GDP (2001): R11 924
Capital: Pietermaritzburg, Ulundi
Languages: In order of popularity: isiZulu (80%), English (16%), Afrikaans (2%)
Borders with provinces: Eastern Cape, Free State, Mpumalanga
Borders with countries: Mozambique, Lesotho and Swaziland.
KwaZulu-Natal is one of the four coastal provinces.
Before 1994, KwaZulu-Natal was the Natal Province and the conjoined KwaZulu bantustan.

KwaZulu-Natal is situated on the warm Indian ocean, on the coast from Port Edward to the Mozambique border. The coast has a warm, wet, sub-tropical climate, the eastern interior is savannah, and the west is dominated by the Drakensberg mountains, snow-capped in winter.

the "Garden Province" of KwaZulu-Natal benefits from a warmer, wetter climate than most of South Africa. Crops suited to the warm climate are grown: sugar cane on a large scale centered at Eshowe, but also sub-tropical fruit such as bananas and pineapples. Agro-forestry is also carried out. Cattle are traditionally raised on the savannah inland.

Durban is the main city, and is the busiest port in South Africa. Durban is home to the largest Indian community anywhere outside of India. Manufacturing is a major industry, and though KwaZulu-Natal does not have great mineral resources, coal is mined in the North, and coal and mineral are exported from Richards Bay.

The Zulu tribe calls this province home, though many Zulus are found working in the metropolis of Gauteng. Ulundi is the seat of the Zulu monarchy. King Goodwill Zwelithini lives in Nongoma with his six wives. The KwaZulu-Natal province is the only province with a monarchy provided for in the Constitution. This is combined with influences from the Indian community and from being a former British colony.

KwaZulu-Natal was subjected to low-level ethnic and political violence for many years, but this has been reduced since the end of Apartheid in 1994. Zulu tribalist movements have generally not been aligned with the ruling non-tribal ANC, thus negotiation and compromise was necessary to reach a settlement (see the constitutionally protected monarchy).

Over the Christmas/summer holidays, the Durban beachfront is packed with tourists, particularly those from Gauteng. Tourists will also be drawn to the provinces other beaches. Costal holiday resorts include Port Shepstone, Umhlanga Rocks and Margate. The Nature reserves such as those at Dukuduku and Kosi Bay, and the St. Lucia Estuary in the Greater St. Lucia Wetland Park, a World Heritage Site. Inland, the Drakensberg mountains are the most impressive in South Africa. If you like hiking and mountain climbing, then the Drakensberg mountains will draw your attention.

Many people in the rural areas of the province are poor and uneducated. Per-capita GDP in the rural areas are much lower than in the towns. The procince has been hardest-hit by HIV. However the Durban urban area is growing rapidly, and rapid industrialization is occurring in the province, helped by abundant water and labour.

The nine provinces of South Africa are Western Cape, Eastern Cape, Northern Cape, KwaZulu-Natal, Free State, Gauteng, North-West Province, Mpumalanga, Limpopo

Sources:
http://www.saweb.co.za/provs.html
http://www.statoids.com/uza.html
http://www.southafrica-newyork.net/consulate/provinces.htm
http://www.sairr.org.za/members/pub/ff/200309/provinces

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