It’s a 400 km drive along the KwaZulu-Natal coast from Port Edward to St. Lucia. As you head north, the vegetation becomes increasingly tropical along the shoreline, while inland, a sea of green sugar plantations blanket the rolling hills. South of Durban, laid-back holiday towns and resorts follow one after the other. Durban itself is as laid-back as a big city can be, and the vibe continues up to St. Lucia as the towns thin out, but seem if anything, more relaxed.
There are paved national roads all along the coast, although you’ll need a 4×4 if you want to extend your journey through iSimangaliso Wetland Park to the Mozambique border. The N2 highway is the quickest option, but it does have tolls. There are also alternative secondary roads which are toll-free, but these can get congested, especially during the peak summer holiday season in December and January. This is a great route for the quieter South African winter, when the sea and air temperatures here are still warm, and there’s very little chance of rain.
Around two weeks is ideal for this route, with two or three days in Durban, and three or four in iSimangaliso at the end. If you’re happy sunbathing and surfing or just generally hanging out, then anything less will feel like a rush.
Most travellers opt for hiring a 4×4 with 4×4 rental South Africa to accommodate all their travel plans.