by Tia

KwaZulu-Natal (KZN) will be the province of love this February – after all, we don’t only have our annual Valentine’s celebration on February 14, but this year is a leap year. That means ladies can pop down on one knee and take full advantage of that once-in-every-four-years opportunity to propose to their better halves!

Tourism KwaZulu-Natal (TKZN) suggests a few ways to celebrate romance al fresco this February:  

1. Pack a picnic: The good thing about picnics in KZN is that it is definitely not one size fits all. Interesting spots extend from enjoying sarmies on your favourite beach to dining on the top of a mountain in the Drakensberg.  If you are in the port city, head off to Westville’s Palmiet Nature Reserve, Paradise Valley, the Karkloof Falls, Tala Private Game Reserve near Camperdown or Gwahumbe in mid-Illovo.  The South Coast has a wide variety of picnic spots for nature lovers – including the TC Robertson, Lake Eland, Mpenjati and Umtwavuna nature reserves – as does the North Coast. If you’re looking for a gourmet version, head to the Midlands and Hartford House near Mooi River, Hawklee Country House or Horizons Gourmet Picnics.

2. Park off in a park: KZN has beautiful parks and gardens. Pack some refreshments, add a few board games, then settle under a cool tree for some old-fashioned fun. You can choose to go anywhere from the oldest and most beautiful garden in Durban – the Durban Botanical Gardens – to the KZN Botanical Gardens in Pietermaritzburg. Other options include the Bee and Butterfly Garden at Ballito’s Litchi Orchard and the Fables Gardens in Howick which is filled with secret corners, tunnels and even a maze. 

3. Romance on high: People love proposing with a beautiful view as a backdrop. Some “highly” romantic spots include Oribi Gorge where you can take the zip line, abseil down a 110-metre cliff face,  walk hand-in-hand across the suspension bridge or even try bungee jumping. With a 4 x 4 and passport in hand, you can head up Sani Pass to visit the highest pub in Southern Africa. If the sound of water is for you, seek out a beautiful waterfall – the Howick Falls in the Midlands, Zululand’s Tugela Falls or the Magwa Waterfall along the South Coast.

4. Take to the sky: A unique mix of excitement and tranquillity makes hot air ballooning one of the most memorable and romantic adventures in KZN. Drakensberg Ballooning offers scenic hot air balloon flights over KwaZulu-Natal with panoramic views stretching from the Amphitheatre in the Northern Drakensberg to Giants Castle in the Southern Drakensberg. 

5. Bike or hike:  If you need to work off some energy, grab a bike. Either bring your own or, for a small fee hire one. You could even opt for tandem (romance on wheels) and cycle Durban’s legendary promenade from the harbour mouth to Blue Lagoon, the Moses Mabhida stadium and beyond. Those looking for something more challenging can head for Giba Gorge, take time out in the Drakensberg or the KZN North Coast where you’ll find great mountain and trail biking adventures for both seasoned and beginner bikers.

6. Take a Cruise: Cruising city canals is not restricted to the romantic city of Venice. You can board one of the Zulumoon Gondolas at the dock at uShaka Marine World and spend a few magical hours admiring the sights of the Durban Point Waterfront with its lovely bridges. Alternatively, enjoy sundowners on the estuary within the iSimangaliso Wetland Park. Head to Lake Jozini where you can spread the love aboard the Shayamanzi houseboat or enjoy a sunset cruise on the Fish Eagle Safari Boat from Pongola Game Reserve.

7. Ride a Rickshaw: Durban’s rickshaws are one of the most memorable experiences along the Golden Mile. With their distinctively bright beaded and horned costumes and head dresses, these mighty men will provide an exciting trip along the promenade with the added bonus of a picture to make memories.

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